[By Dr. Ken Lans, a retired physician and Climate Leader with the Climate Reality Project]
I’m on the steering committee of the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, so I wanted to share with you what we’re working on (policy) — “Fund the Solutions, Price the Pollution.” — and stress the importance of us all coming together now to push forward with decisive, effective, and equitable climate action here in Washington. While it’s pretty clear that we’ll be on the defensive nationally and the best we can hope for there is to prevent as much backward, dangerous and destructive results as possible — we have a chance to make real progress here in our state and become a model for the rest of the nation for what's possible.
And I’m not referring strictly to climate action, but to the broader progress I think we all recognize we need to make toward a more fair, just, equal, inclusive, equitable, and sustainable society and world. If it showed us nothing else, the election highlighted that all these things are under a concerted, block attack, and that while, as individuals we may find we’re most effective focusing our time, energy and efforts on one or two areas, these issues are fundamentally linked and tied together and can’t be addressed in isolation from each other. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because (politically and practically) we need broader awareness and support if we have any hope to move our climate agenda forward, environmentalists and climate activists need to particularly understand — and find ways to address — the issues that concern communities of color and low income groups (as well as workers and labor groups). We need to be talking, strategizing, and working together on issues of common concern — and showing our active support for the struggles most important to each other.
That’s just what we’re doing here in Washington. Working together, as a broad-based coalition, to tackle climate change. The Alliance sent out a letter the day after the election outlining the policy framework we’ve put forward — and a group of legislative leaders are currently working with us to finalize actual legislation to be introduced in January.
Along with the good transit news (the passage of ST3), our state has also reelected Gov. Inslee and we have a new Commissioner of Public Lands (Hilary Franz) who is a dynamo and totally committed to climate action and figuring out ways to insert her efforts and those of her office toward that end.
If you’re anything like me, it’s been hard some days (the couple right after election I found it hard to eat and sometimes even breath) to not slide into wallowing in despair, negativity and depression. There’s no way to sugar coat the fact that things have suddenly gotten much more difficult and scary (I also work, with WPSR, on nuclear proliferation issues) and our task more challenging and difficult. I find the best way to cope — to not feel helpless and hopeless — is (and my medical experience backs this up) to be active, to do something, to get and stay involved. But no need to be manic about it — find a way that’s healthy and sustainable for you.