Since 1995, Green Delaware has acted as a grassroots organization concerned with environmental and public health issues in Delaware and surrounding areas.
Executive Director Alan Muller said energy issues, land-use and development, and population growth are three main issues they work on and much of where their interests lie within the confines of energy, as it and health and the environment are interconnected. According to Muller, they are very much interested in traditional air and water pollution issues as well.
After a career as a consultant with the DuPont company, Fuller was conservation chair for the Delaware Chapter of the Sierra Club before starting Green Delaware. “There weren’t any organizations that wanted to do the type of advocacy that needed to happen in this state,” said Muller. So, a steering committee was formed and the Web-based organization was started with a core group of about a dozen people.
Today they maintain a mailing list of a “couple of thousand.”
Specific issues that Green Delaware has been working on recently include the recent support of the Bluewater Wind Proposal and more locally, working with several aspects of the Indian River Power Plant’s situation.
“For years you couldn’t do anything because of the political power, but Citizens for Clean Power created an opportunity for that — more than anything we did. And the question is now, ‘how do we get rid of this plant?’ Even if they solved ten problems, there are going to have ten more,” said Fuller. “There is a similar plant at the other end of the state — Edgemoor, that we are trying to get a handle on as well.”
He said the goal should be to phase out coal burning because of pollution and because of it being “a key contributor to global warming.”
Fuller said that from his experience as an engineering consultant, he gradually developed a passion for environmental issues and said his dealings on the “other side” have been invaluable in his mission today. “I have been on the other side,” said Fuller. “I can put myself in other people’s shoes. They are not evil, they are not trying to destroy the environment. They are just doing the best they can within the system they are operating in.”
Despite often fighting an uphill battle against politics and power, Fuller said Green Delaware is optimistic about the future. He said in particular because of the three Sussex County Council departures and a new governor and president on the horizon, the future is open. “New faces in legislature is good — things might be able to be broken loose. Strong leadership could make a big difference,” he said.
As for the future of Green Delaware itself, they plan on looking at the same longstanding political issues and see good things happening. “It’s been a long period of time when the environment has not been on the political agenda,” said Fuller. “Things are starting to sway the other way a little bit. People are ‘going green;’ environmental organizations need to step up and provide leadership.
“The challenge for us is a lot more people are interested now — we have to figure out how to step up to the plate and do a better job of helping focus our interests and energy,” continued Fuller.
“Citizen activists think they have to be nice and reasonable, but my message is that the environmental side has to play more political hardball. What makes us at Green Delaware different is our horizons aren’t limited to what is politically possible. We are networked all over the world. We need to take a fundamentally different look at where we want our state to be.”
For more information on Green Delaware, or to sign up to be on their mailing list, visit www.greendel.org online.