We are currently in a climate crisis. Our modern economic and industrial systems are detrimental to the health of our earth and the future of humankind. We are in need of massive changes in environmental policy and the reevaluation of our current industrial economy.
As a member of “Gen Z,” I am here to say that we need to take action towards climate resolution today. We need to reassess our reliance on fossil fuels, the extraction of natural resources and human-caused environmental degradation. We have a duty to act now to create a sustainable energy future and a healthier planet for us and generations to come.
Currently, there is a handful of climate-related bills being voted on in our state Legislature. Each of these bills could potentially have an extremely positive impact on our environment and climate change. Two weeks ago, I along with 10 other Liberty Bell High School students made our way to the state capital in Olympia to discuss climate legislation with our 12th District senator and representatives. We focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions through clean car standards, responsible management of plastic packaging, and transitioning to a clean, affordable and reliable energy future.
We came prepared to discuss bills we are passionate about, and share our concerns with Sen. Hawkins and Representatives Steele and Goehner. My peers shared well-researched facts accompanied by powerful personal stories on how climate change has affected them and their family first-hand.
Within our group, we focused on six different bills with the overall purpose of action on climate change:
• HB 1110 — Reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with transportation fuels.
• SB 5397 — Concerning the responsible management of plastic packaging.
• SB 5323 — Reducing pollution from plastic bags by establishing minimum state standards for the use of bags at retail establishments.
• SB 5116 — Supporting Washington’s clean energy economy and transitioning to a clean, affordable and reliable energy future.
• HB 1444 — Concerning appliance efficiency standards.
• SB 5811 — Reducing emissions by making changes to the clean car standards and clean car program.
All of these bills address the climate crisis and begin the process of a clean and just transition to a renewable energy future. It was extremely empowering to share my opinions with my senator and representatives. With that, I urge you to reach out to Sen. Hawkins, Rep. Steele and Rep. Goehner. It is important that our elected officials know where we stand and recognize our concerns. Participation is a requirement of a healthy and functioning democracy. I encourage you to advocate on behalf of legislation, such as the bills listed above, to ensure future generations’ right to a habitable planet. One call or email now will add to the momentum in passing these bills, and allow you to join the movement towards climate action and resolution.
Along with contacting your representatives, on April 19 at 4:30 p.m., join the Methow Valley community in a Climate March. The march will start at the TwispWorks campus, weave through town and end at the Methow Valley Community Center, where there will be inspiring speakers and educational/activism opportunities. The cry for climate action needs to be heard at every level of our government. Your voice is important.
Cece Odell is a 2018 graduate of Liberty Bell High School who is interning at the Methow Valley Citizens Council.