You've changed your light bulbs. You ride your bike or take public transportation. But averting the impending climate disaster requires more. We already have a proven-effective, time-tested law for dramatically reducing greenhouse gas pollution: the Clean Air Act. We need our national leaders to use it.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency -- under intense pressure to do nothing from polluters and their allies in Congress -- continue to delay even the most modest steps. Meanwhile this crisis worsens week by week, month by month.
We've got to get national leaders off the dime. Here's one way: When city leaders speak out, especially in large numbers, Washington tends to listen.
That's why the Center for Biological Diversity just launched our Clean Air Cities campaign, which calls on cities across the United States to pass resolutions in support of using the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon and other pollutants in the name of clean air, public health and addressing climate change.
Working with our allies and volunteer Clean Air Advocates on the ground in cities from Minnesota to Tennessee to California and beyond, we aim to beat back attacks on the Clean Air Act by some of the country's worst polluters and their friends in Congress while raising awareness of the real solutions the Clean Air Act offers.
We've got our work cut out with the White House, too. Earlier this month, President Obama ordered the EPA to abandon badly needed plans reduce unhealthy smog around the country. That decision is a blow to cities and millions of urban dwellers relying on the EPA to set limits on pollution that protect public health and ensure there's clean air to breathe.
Cities have an important stake in what happens with the Clean Air Act in Washington. Watering down the Act -- or gutting it altogether -- will not only have near-term effects on children, the elderly and those most affected by dirty air, but also long-term impacts on rapidly worsening climate change.
The world's top scientists say that in order to avoid the most catastrophic climate impacts, we must reduce atmospheric levels of carbon to 350 parts per million. Today, we're over 390 ppm, so it's essential that we get going. Putting off action comes with a very steep price. In fact, we're already seeing the disastrous effects of climate change with increased flooding, heat waves, drought, wildfires and food shortages.
It's vital that city councils, mayors and other municipal leaders speak out in support of real action. But we recognize that cities are run by politicians too, so we need their constituents -- you -- to urge them to action.
The Center for Biological Diversity is supporting people across the United States in this initiative. By gathering cities to support the Clean Air Act and a future for clean air and a healthy climate, we can help create a voice in Washington that's finally too loud to ignore.
Follow Kassie Siegel on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CBD_Climate