I was spending Saturday with my family preparing to go out and enjoy a long walk when I got the news that President Obama would be announcing a major plan to tackle carbon pollution and prepare our country for climate change. When you spend years working to fight climate change, this is big.
I looked to my kids and broke the news. Not surprisingly I was met with blank stares. But soon after, they began to ask questions. "Did this mean there was going to be less smoke?" asked my son. My daughter--in typical 11-year-old form responded "No, it means less pollution." I told them that right now, we really didn't know exactly what the president would say, but we did know that it meant the president wanted to do something important to make sure that they wouldn't have to worry as much about what climate change will do to our planet.
Kids today get climate change. They learn it in science class. They know humans are the major cause and they know that they have to turn off the lights and walk more, drive less. But ultimately, however, this is something the grown-ups need to fix. We, the adults, need to get our act together to solve this.
So when the adult-in-chief--President Obama--says he's going to tackle climate change, we hope he's going to do what's best for us all. This Tuesday, June 25, we'll be listening for President Obama's vision for a national plan to address climate change. At that point, our adult-in-chief will tell us how he plans to help us fulfill our obligation to our children to leave them a cleaner, safer world.
The president's plan must take strong action to address climate change if we're going to protect our children from increasingly frequent extreme weather events like last year's record breaking heat, drought, storms and wildfires, and the human and economic costs these bring. That starts with reducing what's accelerating climate change: carbon pollution, most of which comes from power plants.
But we can't stop there. We owe it to our kids to move forward towards a clean energy future. Fossil fuels are the fuels of our ancestors. We wouldn't expect our kids to rely on the technology that our grandparents relied on--why should we destine them to a future using the fuels of the past? We must develop renewable clean energy sources and start now.
We must practice what we preach every time we tell our kids to "turn off the lights" and prioritize energy efficiency--one of the quickest and cheapest ways to help us fight climate change and save money.
We know this will require strong leadership--as most truly important things do. But we need to do what it takes to accomplish this for our kids, for our future.
Climate change is more than an environmental problem; it will impact all aspects of our lives and impact the most vulnerable among us the most. Climate change is a societal issue that we must all face together regardless of our politics, race or socioeconomic status. We must take actions to confront carbon pollution in ways that are constructive today rather than wait for its destructive powers to be further unleashed tomorrow.
We, the adults, need to do this for our children.