Use New Year wishes
to aid environment
Beginning a New Year makes us hope — as always — for better times, especially this year, after having so much pain in 2020. If we make New Year’s resolutions, they are often about self-improvement — eating healthier, exercising more, starting/finishing that project, or cleaning out drawers and closets. This year, we can think beyond ourselves and help create a cleaner, safer and kinder environment. Changes in the way we live can prevent the coming deadly pandemics. Science tells us there will be more coming.
Wishes can be small changes, such as using less plastic, avoiding fossil fuel-connected products and eating less meat. Bigger promises for future generations can make a difference. The more fortunate humans can easily change wasteful lifestyles that damage so much — polluting water, air and soil with chemicals, overbuilding to the point of smothering the natural environment, causing fires and floods, and the loss of wildlife habitats. The demands for bigger houses, fancier cars, boats and fashions have become downright trashy. There is greater satisfaction from being caretakers of what we have instead of throwing it away for something new, probably created in a destructive process. How about renovating and shining the old stuff?
We can jump-start the changes we need with a price on carbon — paid by companies that extract and sell it. If we get cleaner and less dangerous jobs, the harm done to our habitat will plummet. Other countries have made carbon pricing a national priority. We have proposed bills. We need only to tell legislators what we want: that saving people is more important than pleasing powerful companies. Carbon-fee and dividend bills in both U.S. congressional chambers are poised to become law. It only takes small pushes from all of us who become the big force that cannot be ignored.