This is Zero Hour for Mother Earth. We have run out of time. We face together enormous fires and floods, hurricanes and blizzards, drought covering 30% of the United States, a longer growing season and unknown demands as health care providers respond to new weather-driven, mosquito-borne illnesses.
Our lives and the quality of life we leave our children depend on a whole-of-government response to climate change and changing weather patterns.
Connected to our outdated and destructive reliance on fossil fuels are the poisons we keep pumping into our air, land, water, food, medicines, and everything from stain-resistant carpeting to firefighting foam. More intense hurricanes continually release cancer-causing pollutants from oil refineries, chemical plants and untreated sewage into flooded streets and homes. Healthcare professionals remain alert to related respiratory and skins infections and increases in mosquito-borne diseases. Climate change is connected to all aspects of our lives.
The core of our response to climate change is building economic, transportation, housing, education and healthcare systems based on clean, sustainable, renewable energy. A roadmap to transition away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy includes:
Implement Whole of Government Response to Climate Change
- Insert climate change responsibilities in mission and measures of all agencies
- Charter cross-government Climate Accountability Board with citizen participation
Transition to Economy Based on Clean, Renewable Energy
- Support state-specific plans for a transition to clean, renewable energy
- Divest public funds from fossil fuels; stop subsidies and tax breaks for fossil fuels; hold people, corporations and government responsible for damage and contamination they inflict on our environment
- Invest in public jobs that repair and harden our infrastructure, build or retrofit energy efficient housing, and support local preparations for weather disasters
- Build partnerships in New York to invest in research, development and manufacturing for clean, sustainable future including a corridor of Green Energy Manufacturing along the St. Lawrence River
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 including hydrogen fuel
- 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 District
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 our government and as the national security response for potential bio-weapons and new diseases released by thawing permafrost and a changing climate.