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 the winter of 2017-2018, snowstorms, blizzards, wind chills of 29 to 40 degrees below zero, more snow and then ice storms left many of us home for days at a time. 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Connected to our outdated and destructive reliance on fossil fuels are the poisons we keep pumping into our air, land, water, food and medicines.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 since we live in or near a 6 million acre park and forest reserve with federal protections. We are mostly safe yet not entirely off the hook:
- Many of our 3,000 lakes and ponds in the Adirondack Mountains were exposed in the 1980s to acid rain that killed off many fish species. Our waters have mostly recovered though 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 Hoosick Falls and Newburgh.
- New concerns about chemicals in fire-fighting equipment -- especially on military bases --
- Fighting invasive species in our lakes and streams remains a continuing effort.
I stopped arguing about climate change six months ago. I am running for Congress on the assumption we must take immediate and strong action to stem and repair the consequences of climate change and the accumulating poisons 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
- Achieve 100% clean, sustainable and renewable electric energy by 2030
- Grow jobs through partnerships with utilities that support renewable energy programs
- Expand efforts to reduce, reuse, recycle and return what we normally throw away
- Establish tax incentives to support, expand and develop local, sustainable 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 (no 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 Distric
In my May 2018 article Green Energy: The Future is Now, I made three points:
1) Green Energy is Growing Worldwide - even in America, with the domination of the fossil fuel industry, in January and February of 2018, 98% of new capacity was powered by solar or wind. Other nations, notably China, are far ahead of the US in their support for sustainable, renewable green energy. China invests in the technology to integrate green energy sources into the traditional national grid. In the US and upstate New York, solar efforts are well established for homes and some larger institutions such as schools. The world economy is moving toward sustainable green energy. We have to anticipate the future, not dwell on the past.
2) Subsidies and Supports: Tax breaks for fossil fuel producers and distributors far outweighs federal support for alternative, green energy sources. Nearly invisible tax loopholes and financial structures favor fossil fuels.
3) Climate Change is an environmental, economic, healthcare, foreign policy and national security threat. I support universal health care as the moral responsibility of government in a just republic and also as insurance for potential bio-weapons and diseases released by thawing permafrost.
The truth we must face about our destruction of our shared water and air, land and food, is that America and even upstate new York are very late to making significant changes. We have run out of time. Send a Green to Congress - not just any Green - Dr. Lynn S. Kahn, the Government Mechanic.