I appreciate the recent letter to the editor asking "who is listening?" written in response to the millions of youth worldwide that called for climate action during the Sept. 20 Youth Climate Strike.
It is tempting to paint a dismal picture of climate denial among our leaders, but as a youth told me at recent Citizens Climate Lobby meeting: "There are good things happening! It just gets drowned out in social media frenzies. We need to pay better attention."
There are people listening — in businesses, churches, individual lives, and at different levels of government – even Congress!
For example, the Climate Solutions Caucus is a bipartisan group in the House of Representatives that meets regularly and has already played an important role in climate discussions, including the introduction of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763) in January. The bipartisan bill would reduce carbon emissions by 40% in the next 12 years, create jobs and save lives by placing a fee on carbon emissions that is returned to households as a dividend. The bill is gaining traction with 63 co-sponsors and more than 1,000 endorsements from a variety of government and nonprofit organizations.
The senate is also taking up the ball. Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, and Sen. Mike Braun, a Republican from Indiana, announced they are creating a bipartisan climate working group in the Senate.
Coons said: "Combating climate change will require all of us—Democrats and Republicans—to come together around bipartisan solutions." Braun said: "Climate change should be a bridge issue."
There are many ways people can get started building the bridge. Citizens Climate Lobby is a good way to start. With over 500 chapters nationwide, CCL is a nonpartisan, volunteer driven, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change.
From taking baby steps in the way we live our lives to learning how to communicate with your member of Congress, CCL strives to help individuals empower themselves and make their voices heard, and to transform ourselves from spectators to engaged citizens. I invite everyone to learn more at citizensclimatelobby.org or better yet, attend our next monthly meeting Saturday, Oct. 12 at 10:30 a.m. at the Estherville Public Library.