Four days to save

At the Asheville City Council annual retreat (in January) the subject of global climate change came up but was quickly set aside as an issue that the city would not be able to tackle this year.

Wrong.

Climate change is happening, faster than most models predicted just a year or so ago. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is calling it “global weirding” as weather turns increasingly strange. There is almost universal consensus among climate scientists that we have only a few years left to radically cut greenhouse gas emissions before we face an inexorable and catastrophic sea level rise coupled with weather unlike anything experienced in the history of civilization.

One simple step that we can take at the city level is to shift all city offices and schools to a four day week. Other municipalities around the U.S. are doing it and there is no good reason for Asheville not to do the same. (North Carolina is an extremely paternalistic state and dictates the number of school days to all school systems, so we’d have to ask our legislative delegation to seek permission to re-define this as it relates to fewer, longer days.)

The four (ten-hour) day work week has been shown to be more productive in most jobs than the current model and school days can be lengthened as well. This creates an immediate reduction in commuting and school bus emissions of about 20 percent (do the math). It also permits reduction of heating and air conditioning in affected buildings.

We should encourage local businesses to adopt this strategy as well.

I’ll be proposing more green solutions throughout the campaign. Click here for my positions on these and other issues.

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