Caring about the environment is patriotic.
September 24th, 2009
Given the urgency of the crises we’re facing — ice sheets in Antarctica in “runaway melt mode,” a complete collapse of global fish populations by 2048, a floating dump of plastic trash in the Pacific Ocean twice the size of Texas — I often struggle with where best to focus my environmental efforts. Is changing light bulbs and composting really going to cut it?
Individual action is important, yes. If everyone stopped buying water in plastic bottles, that would go a long way toward shrinking the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, for example. And when people make small changes like planting tomatoes in their backyard, or eating vegetarian a few days a week, it often inspires them — and the people around them — to think about bigger issues.
But the other half of the work is enacting legislation. Without the mandate in the House’s Clean Energy and Security Act for electricity suppliers to meet 25 percent of its generated electricity from renewable resources by 2025 (not the 100 percent I wanted to see, but it’s a start), no amount of picketing and pleading would stop utility companies from buying coal if it was profitable.
The Senate needs to hustle up and pass its climate (ahem, global warming) bill. President Obama said in his speech at the UN Climate Change Summit on Tuesday that “we must not allow the perfect to become the enemy of progress.”
Do this now: Take five minutes and write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper about the need for legislative action to combat global warming and spur the creation of green jobs.