Over the last few weeks, and in the months ahead, thousands of young people are meeting at local senate offices across the country in a campaign titled “Show Me Democracy.” We are doing this because we share a common vision of a clean energy future.
The benefits of creating a clean energy economy transcend the issue of climate change. We would be investing renewable energies that actually have a long-term economic viability. Why profit from a coal plant for 50 years when you could profit from a wind farm for centuries? A clean energy economy will create millions of new jobs for Americans who are currently out of work. Manufacturing solar panels and wind turbines, reshaping our electrical infrastructure, and retrofitting buildings to be more efficient are all a simple matter of job creation and economic stimulation. America is falling behind in these areas—China plans on dominating the manufacturing industry for solar panels and wind turbines, and they have already begun this huge investment.
As a young person, I fear for my future. Why is it normal to regularly pump mercury and arsenic into the Big Sky of Montana? Those poisons are found in coal emissions, and coal is currently the main energy source in Montana. We are contaminating the rivers and forests of Montana that I fell in love with as a kid. Those trout I caught with my father? They likely have dangerous levels of mercury in their systems.
As a young person, I demand recognition by our country’s leaders that the environment, the economy and global health are all connected and must all be at the center of our nation’s focus.
We need Sens. Baucus and Tester to act this spring and pass a climate bill in the Senate.