For those of us doing climate change activism in the USA we can get downright discouraged by the wall of denial that blocks action, particularly by lawmakers in Washington, DC. Besides the actual denial, we have to deal with the anger and despondency from people who feel hopeless as they see the logjam and inaction stagnating in congress.
Ah, but there is movement! I have been cheered by the news of US Congress members in the Republican Party taking positive steps to address climate change. Perhaps the most dramatic and meaningful moment came when a Republican-led resolution was put forward by Republican lawmaker Chris Gibson (NY-19). Other moderate Republicans signed on AND even one lawmaker who refused to acknowledge the climate crisis and now is an advocate for climate action. See: Jolly good! Florida rep joins sponsors of Gibson climate resolution.
My friend and climate colleague, Penn Garvin, first learned about the Gibson Resolution during the Save the Coffee Bean house party I held in October. I talked about the work we were doing with Citizens Climate Lobby to build relationships with lawmakers. She was thrilled to discover that something is actually happening in DC. So much so that the other day she published an opinion piece in the local paper, the Sunbury Daily Item. It is a brilliant piece that I must share with you.
A QUIZ for our readers:
WHO WROTE THIS?
“We need to protect, conserve, and be good stewards of our environment, and base our policy decisions in science and quantifiable facts on the ground.
There has been a marked increase in extreme weather events across the United States, including more frequent heat waves, extreme precipitation, wildfires, and water scarcity. These negative impacts are expected to worsen in every region of the United States.
If left unaddressed, the consequences of a changing climate have the potential to adversely impact all Americans, hitting vulnerable populations hardest, and harming productivity in key economic sectors and imposing additional costs on State and Federal budgets.
Therefore, we must work to create and support private and public solutions to address the causes of changes to our global and regional climates.”
Who wrote the above statement?
A. a national environmental organization
B. members of the Republican Party
C. President Obama’s administration
It would be easy to believe that it was written by A or C. In fact, the answer is B! This passage is taken directly from a resolution submitted in September 2015 in the United States House of Representatives called the Gibson Resolution. (For the complete text of the resolution, go to http://gibson.house.gov/)
This resolution was written by Republican U.S. Representative Chris Gibson, from New York. Nine other Republicans signed onto the Environmental Stewardship Resolution including three from Pennsylvania: Representatives Patrick Meehan, Michael Fitzpatrick, and Ryan Costello. (note: now there are 13 in total)
Smart planning does not have to be divided by political party. We should each learn about these issues, how they are expected to worsen, and how they might negatively affect our area. Thinking ahead can prevent problems and disasters in our future.
Let’s start talking with our neighbors, in our churches and organizations and with our elected officials about what we in our area can do to protect ourselves against these negative impacts. We owe it to ourselves, our children and our grandchildren!
Penn Garvin, Mifflinburg, PA