SACE COVID-19 Response/Perspective

We recognize that many of our members, supporters, and neighbors are facing dire circumstances today and looking toward very uncertain tomorrows; as we work together to flatten the curve, we are inspired by and grateful to the frontline workers who are putting others before themselves every day to advance our common goal...

Stephen Smith | March 31, 2020 | Climate Change, Energy Justice, Energy Policy

Like many of you, SACE is adapting daily as events unfold regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, and as an organization, we are taking every step we can to implement procedures that will ensure the safety of our staff and to help protect the communities where we live and work. We continue working (virtually and from a safe distance, for now) across the region, and although we have cancelled in-person upcoming events in our communities, we remain steadfastly committed to promoting solutions that will help our region and our nation tackle our world’s energy challenges.

Our work continues under prudence (rather than panic); we believe that science and data should guide our healthcare decisions in how we address this pandemic disruption, just as we have always believed that science should guide our energy decisions in how we address climate disruption. Our expert staff is working to navigate the changing landscape and to astutely promote movements in the right direction that will improve quality of life in the future – especially for those most vulnerable of our neighbors. We have not lost sight of the environmental and economic opportunities presented by clean, renewable energy and clean transportation. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, SACE is working to encourage utilities throughout our region to provide relief to their customers and to be good stewards of their communities. And as utilities are stepping up we are touting their good deeds, while maintaining a watchful eye to ensure customers are protected during this trying time.

We recognize that many of our members, supporters, and neighbors are facing dire circumstances today and looking toward very uncertain tomorrows; we are all making sacrifices, some more intensely felt than others, for the greater good of flattening the curve. We are inspired by and grateful to the frontline workers who are putting others before themselves every day to advance our common goal, particularly the healthcare workers providing urgent medical care in literal hospital “war zones,” and our first responders who take on this added risk to their already risky service. A big shout out to service industry workers ensuring food and supplies are available in our stores and the utility workers keeping the lights on.

Throughout it all, I hold fast to my belief that the future WILL be cleaner, safer, and healthier. My background in biology and veterinary medicine leaves me, as always, grounded in good science, and I believe that with smart collective and individual actions we can minimize the damage of this pandemic. Suffering and loss have already occurred and will no doubt continue, and there will be a long and complex recovery on the other side of this that will demand that each of us do our part. SACE will be there, our issues will remain, and we will adapt and continue pushing for smart clean energy choices that lead to a better future. Our region is full of hardworking, practical, optimistic people; SACE has a long history working to protect the Southeast’s environment and our communities, and our objectives have not and will not change.

Maybe, just maybe, if there is a silver lining in this devastating healthcare emergency, it’s that we come together as a people, trust that smart, science-driven collective action can and will solve big problems, and we can relearn how to use planning and foresight to anticipate and avoid future devastating disruptions be they biological or climatic.

The solidarity of our staff, members, supporters, and readers is a testament to your commitment to a cleaner, safer, healthier future for all. We wish you the best; hope you can find time for peace and calm in the midst of the chaos; and remind you to stay safe and protect yourselves and your communities.

Stephen Smith
Dr. Stephen A. Smith has 30 years of experience effecting change for the environment. Since 1993, Dr. Smith has led the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) as its executive…
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