What was once a climate problem has now become a climate crisis. We’re all fairly familiar with the science behind climate change: human activity produces greenhouse gases at unprecedented rates, greenhouse gases trap sunlight in the atmosphere, sunlight raises global temperatures, and high global temperatures lead to an entire plethora of problems. We’re also aware of what we need to do to decelerate the speed at which the climate is changing: cut carbon emissions drastically, and fast. But so far, it’s mostly been all talk and no action for much of the world. While many nonprofit organizations are doing their best to help, they can only accomplish so much without support from the powerful––and, right now, the powerful are plagued with everything from broken promises to outright denial.
But just as the climate is mutating in unexpected ways with each passing day, so too is the global policy starting to change––and this change is being spearheaded by our very own Washington state. In January (just two months ago), 90 members of the public joined forces in the first climate assembly to take place in the United States, and they’ve been continuing their work ever since. Their plan is to discuss climate pollution, debate and reach a consensus, and submit their resolutions to the state Legislature in early March.
Each member represents a congressional district in the state, and the group is diverse in everything from race to income to gender. In light of the urgency that climate change has recently entailed, these members have come together to pose as leaders. Said State Representative Jake Fey and three other Washington representatives, “One fact that has become clear is that the polarized nature of this debate harms us all. This issue cannot be another ‘us versus them’ issue, because it affects us all.”
“The report shatters the illusion that ordinary people will not accept stronger climate policies and are incapable of making difficult decisions about our collective future,” Graham Smith, a professor of politics at the University of Westminster, reported. Ordinary people are open to change; ordinary people are willing to go to great lengths to preserve the world in which they coexist.
“It’s all about building relationships, listening to each other’s ideas,” said Republican State Senator Judy Warnick, who sits on the monitoring team of Washington’s climate assembly. “That’s what has me the most optimistic.”