I’m old enough to be part of the generation that took part in atomic bomb drills in elementary school, where we were taught to get to the basement (no windows) or at least crawl under our desks with our rear ends toward the windows. The threat of nuclear war was a central part of our adolescent angst. When the Cold War ended, we could finally breathe again.
But there’s a new bogeyman in town and this one’s even scarier.
Climate change. It’s real. It’s not going away, no matter how hard we try to wish it away. Alaskans know this: Melting sea ice, glaciers and permafrost. Seabirds and marine mammals dying because the ocean is too hot. Winter storms of increasing fury and coastal towns falling into the sea.
And it’s our fault. Our carbon-based economy is cooking our planet and the weather is going crazy.
But there’s another problem connected to fossil fuels: 90% of the plastics we use and most synthetic chemicals use crude oil and natural gas as feedstock. Scientists are telling us those plastics and chemicals have a high price: they harm human health, causing cancer, birth defects and reproductive difficulties.
If we want a climate-stable, carbon-free, and cancer-free future (well, really, if we want any kind of future that anyone would consider livable), we absolutely must start addressing all uses of fossil fuels, not just transportation and energy generation. We have a small window of opportunity before it’s too late.
We need Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s leadership more than ever. Alaska is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet and suffering more from chemical and plastic pollution – we need to take action right now to solve the linked problems of climate change, plastics, and petrochemicals. Renewable energy can be the solution. Our future depends on it.
— Patti Saunders
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