Efforts being made to fight climate change

My uncle Frank, a struggling artist in the 1930s, wrote that the years of the Great Depression were a crucible for the testing of not only a generation’s physical survival, but the survival of its integrity. We live again in times that try our souls, all too easily seen in the news each day. How many acres of farmland, towns and businesses have to be flooded or destroyed by fire? How many species have to become extinct? How many children have to drown or die in a desert trying to reach freedom? No wonder compassion fatigue is widespread and we turn from the news to protect ourselves.

Yet, there is hope. The Eau Claire Public Schools Foundation is raising funds for solar panels for Memorial and North high schools — a community effort to reduce carbon emissions through alternative energy sources (tinyurl.com/u97dj2u). Some states are considering a plan to mandate fuel wholesalers to buy permits for the emissions their products create. Some states are considering legislation to reduce emissions from cars and trucks. Xcel Energy, providing energy to millions of homes in the Midwest, has reduced fossil fuel use by 10 percent and by 2050 plans to be emission free. Proposed federal legislation such as the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R. 4173) appear to be gaining traction.

A recent op-ed by Robert Reich emphasized the need to consider the cost of not launching a bold new program to mitigate climate change: Yes, the Green New Deal would be costly but not reducing our reliance on fossil fuels will be even more costly. Are we mature enough, bold enough, to count the true costs of our way of life? Uncle Frank, if he were alive today, would recognize the similar testing of this generation’s soul.

Peter Whitis

Eau Claire