Opinion: We must seize the moment to address our climate conundrum

I work from dawn to dusk as a cultural maintenance man and essayist — as well as a collector of plastic street trash for proper disposal. Being so embedded in my community, I have seen firsthand the impact that COVID has had on the health and wellbeing of my neighbors. It appears clear that not even a global pandemic can stop big corporations and the ultra-wealthy from getting richer while everyday Americans struggle to simply make ends meet.

My friends and neighbors have had to make impossible decisions — often choosing between paying for their medications and putting food on the table, or between childcare and paying rent. Right now, we face so many critical challenges, but we also have an acute opportunity to address one of the overarching issues that exacerbates such disparities: the climate calamity.

At this moment, we have a historic opportunity to address our growing environment predicament by passing the $500 billion in climate investments that is currently under consideration in Congress. If passed, they would bring concrete benefits to all American families — not just the ultra- wealthy — by shoring up our resilience to climate-fueled natural disasters, reducing our reliance on the global oil market, creating good-paying clean energy jobs, and reducing health-harming pollution. Without these investments, those hardest hit by the worsening extreme weather events, as well as the environmental pollution causing that crisis, those least responsible will continue to be the most harmed among us. This public spending would not only improve the lives of our friends, families, and neighbors, it would also help reduce social and economic disparities in our communities.

Honoring this Earth Day (April 22), we must seize the moment to address our degenerating, human-induced climate conundrum, mollify the extreme weather events we’ve been experiencing and conserve this bountiful, beautiful planet for our children, grandchildren, all our ancestors. There is no time to waste, our lawmakers must pass these climate and clean energy investments: Now!

• John Sonin resides in Douglas. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *