Civic Works, an Americorps program and Baltimore’s leading urban service corps, celebrated 20 years of service on April 24 with a lecture presented by environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. titled, “Civic Works & The Green Economy,” held in Goucher College’s Kraushaar Auditorium.
“We need to rationalize our economy so we reward people for doing good things for our environment,” said Kennedy, President of the Waterkeeper Alliance and the Chief Prosecuting Attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper. “An investment in our environment is not a diminishment in our countries wealth.”
The US, according to Kennedy, is a country rich in wind- we just can’t quite figure out how to store it.
Investing in a “national, unified grid system,” to collect and transport the energy created by wind and solar power is not the problem, says Kennedy. He proposes the de-carbonizing of America will only cost an estimated 3 trillion dollars.
“We’ve done this before,” he noted, citing the rewiring of America in the last 20 years to accommodate the internet. “We built the marketplace [for the internet], and the price has now plummeted.”
The biggest obstacle standing in the way of a new-energy economy, according to Kennedy, is corporate and shareholder influence. “We have to build a wall between our economy and politics,” he said, emphasizing the need to eliminate government subsidies in coal and oil, as well as the “legalized bribing,” systems currently in place.
Recognized in the lecture were also Civic Works’ many programs committed to an equitable and sustainable economy. Programs such as the Baltimore Center for Green Careers (BCBG), Retrofit Baltimore, EnergyReady, and Project Lightbulb all train Baltimore City residents for careers in green technologies, while offering energy assessments and green appliance installations to residents at no cost.
With over 30,000 abandoned properties in Baltimore City, as reported by the Baltimore Office of Sustainability, and a 10.4% unemployment rate according to the Md. Dept. of Labor, the city has become dependent on urban renewal and social service programs.
In attendance were Dana M. Stein, Executive and Founder of Civic Works, as well as Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Civic Works Co-Founder, and Aisha Dorsey of Lifeline Environment.
A VIP reception held in Goucher’s Athenaeum, a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold-Certified library preceded the event.