As Trump Age dawns, a dispatch from the city Sanders built
At Politico Magazine, the subjects for the What Works series are picked months in advance, so it's by coincidence that, days after Donald Trump's upset victory in the U.S. presidential election, the series visit Bernie Sanders' hometown. I did field research for this story a couple weeks before election day; now it reads like a dispatch from an alternate universe, where a town with few meaningful fissures is creating a sustainable economy under the guidance of their municipal government, itself run for much of the past four decades by social democrats.
In any case, the new story is on Burlington, Vermont's 37-year drive to build a sustainable city, protected from international fossil fuel markets and the whims of distant corporate boards. The result: the first city able to power itself entirely from renewable energy -- it owns its own grid and generating capacity and could theoretically cut itself off from the outside world without interrupting power -- and one that is now working to become net zero in transportation and thermal energy use as well. It also grows a lot of its own food.
I am an award-winning journalist and author of American Nations, American Character, Ocean's End, The Lobster Coast, and The Republic of Pirates. I'm a staffer at the Portland Press Herald, where I won a 2012 George Polk Award for my investigative reporting and was named a 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist.