It was the Sunday after the global climate strike inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. I was in church; the sermon title was “Wake Up Call.” “That’s timely,” I thought, alerting us to care for this planet right after the largest climate action ever. I had assumed erroneously, however, because the sermon was not about our planet or climate. Mentioning my unfulfilled expectation to our pastor created an opportunity for some friendly discussion. Two Sundays later, on a day many churches celebrate creation, our pastor gave an impassioned sermon specifically mentioning actions to address global warming.
I can’t help but think that Greta, the Sunrise Movement and other youth leaders had an effect on the sermon. The same Sunday another local pastor also gave a moving sermon directly referencing Greta and local youth addressing climate change. The pastor added this was both the first time they had preached on and the first time the congregation had asked for this topic.
It’s hard to believe that just 15 months ago, Greta first sat on the steps of the Swedish parliament with her sign as parliamentarians trudged by without giving her a glance or word. This amazing and critically needed speed is in contrast to the methodical, incremental work of other climate organizations. The two types of actions, though, are not at odds, but rather providing a reinforcing vitality. Vitality to move long-worked-on legislation forward.
For 10 years, Citizens Climate Lobby has tirelessly worked to research and build bipartisan support for introduction of a carbon fee and dividend bill in Congress. This has been their singular focus. They chose this particular focus because their research showed a well-constructed carbon fee is the most impactful and least regulatory way to lower carbon dioxide emissions. Their design to return that fee directly to citizens using the least possible bureaucracy rather than feed it to government programs gives citizens the support they need in an economy transitioning to renewable energy.
After 10 years, there is now such a bill in the U.S. House, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, HR 763. We now need to add vitality. Congressman Rick Larsen needs to know we want his support on this bill. Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray need to know we want them to support companion legislation in the Senate.
We also have an excellent opportunity to grow our local vitality through a timely event at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts. “Climate Change Conversations,” Friday, Nov. 15, is facilitating dialogue among all in our community — local government officials, youth leaders, climate experts and concerned citizens, with a focus on taking concrete steps to lower carbon dioxide emissions in our local governments and community. Please lend your vitality to this event. The time for action is now.
Donald J Millwe