Letter to the Editor

No vaccine for climate change


In this 2020 election year, we face the reality of the need for transformational change. It is time to take rapid and aggressive measures in developing a much needed and belated climate action policy for this country. By doing so, we can use the climate crisis as a unifying factor for addressing some of the most challenging issues we are faced with today including: the economy and jobs, food security, failing infrastructure and social inequality.

An effective and well-constructed climate action policy has the ability, if rigorously implemented, to restore a way of life that is more equitable for all Americans and ensures the well being of future generations. A strong and well-directed climate platform includes promoting policy through:

• Building resilient and productive food systems in which farmers are rewarded for restoring their land’s health, carbon outputs are reduced and carbon sequestration opportunities are enhanced. The net result is increased food self-reliance and nutrition, soil and water quality improvements, biodiversity restoration, and increase in sustainable livelihood opportunities.

• Investments in developing a green infrastructure while creating sustainable jobs through the upgrading of our failing waste water treatment systems by using green technology; rebuilding our roads to improve on a range of multi-modal transportation options; building natural flood prevention mechanisms; and building a viable electric charging infrastructure.

• Reducing greenhouse gas emissions through investments in clean energy by putting limits on carbon outputs from:

– Agriculture and land uses that promote excessive carbon outputs due to soil management, fertilizer use, livestock production, and land fill discharge practices that need modernization.

– Carbon-based transportation including ground, marine and air transportation that are reliant on burning fossil fuels.

– Waste management that promotes carbon and methane output, including both unsustainable solid and waste water management practices.

– The built environment including housing and commercial buildings with high consumption of carbon based energy sources, as well as leakage of energy resources; and contributes to sprawl and loss of agricultural lands

As a voter, you might ask what is the cost of implementing these actions? However, it might be better to ask what the cost will be if we don’t take action. There will be a large upfront investment, but over the long term we will save billions of dollars, provide a stable job market, save lives and valuable resources – all by proactively taking these actions now.

Seattle, San Diego, and other cities have already shown that reducing emissions can go hand-in-hand with strong economic growth and better-paying jobs — so you can see the possibilities for transitioning to a zero carbon economy and how it actually reduces disaster risk and economic risk for Iowa and the nation as a whole.

We all know what is at stake if we don’t make a commitment to addressing the climate crisis now, but none of us can do this alone. This country needs your vote and your cooperation. There is no vaccine for climate change, but your vote will make the difference.

Anne Walton