Personally, I believe my eyes and the science that concludes the earth is getting warmer. In America, we have farmland turning to desert, droughts that lower water levels in the lakes and rivers we depend on for drinking water, rising sea levels that continually flood our coastal cities, while stronger and more destructive storms touch almost all of us.
In my mountain town, in this winter, we weathered wind chills of 29 to 40 degrees below zero and snowstorms that left many of us homebound for days. I believe the warming atmosphere and warming oceans that are melting Artic glaciers and Antarctic ice sheets are playing havoc with the jet stream that drops down from the Arctic, contributing to the freaky weather that we all experience.
Connected to our outdated and destructive reliance on fossil fuels are the poisons we keep pumping into our air, land, water, food and medicines. Childhood cancer is rare and while the survival rate is increasing, the incidence of childhood cancer is also rising. The 2017 hurricanes released cancer-causing pollutants from oil refineries and chemical plants in Texas and dispatched millions of gallons of untreated sewage into Florida ‘s flooded streets and homes. Doctors in these states are still alert to related respiratory and skins infections and increases in mosquito-borne diseases.
How does this affect us in upstate New York? In many ways, we are safe from the worse consequences of changing weather patterns and many forms of pollution. We are mostly safe yet not entirely off the hook:
- Many of our 3,000 lakes and ponds in the Adirondack Mountains, despite protections afforded to our 6 million acre park and forest reserve, were damaged in the 1980s by acid rain that killed off many fish species. Our waters have recovered – though not totally – and we are still vulnerable to the chemicals released by burning fossil fuels to generate electricity – even when those electric plants are not in New York.
- A cluster of cancers in South Glens Falls in one of the five worst clusters in our state.
- To our south, contamination of drinking water is a health and financial crisis in the small town of Hoosick Falls and the small city of Newburgh.
- Fighting invasive species in our lakes and streams remains a continuing effort.
The message in all this is clearly that we must be alert to the cancer-causing pollution and contamination that may be dumped or discharged into our clean and safe water systems.
Representing New York District 21, I support all efforts to:
- Transition to a clean, sustainable green economy
- Transition to 100% clean, sustainable and renewable energy by 2050
- Grow jobs through partnerships with utilities that support renewable energy programs
- Implement ways to grow jobs that support the 2030 goals of the New York State Energy Plan
- Expand efforts to reduce, reuse, recycle and return what we normally throw away
- Establish tax incentives to expand and develop local, organic farming and agriculture
- Improve and expand public transportation in the Adirondack region
- Make sure all lakes and streams that provide or flow into drinking water systems are labelled Class A streams and not used for waste
- Monitor cancer-causing pollution and invasive species in our rivers, lakes and ponds
- Release the New York Department of Health’s studies on cancer clusters in our District.