LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Connecting Dots: Racism, Poverty, Fossil Fuels, COVID-19 and Climate

John Muir said, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it is hitched to everything else in the Universe.”

Connections exist among fossil-fuel combustion, air pollution, public health, racism, poverty, COVID-19, jobs, economic health, climate and, not to be forgotten, our farmers. Although money buys some of us insulation from some of these maladies, we are “all in this together.” 

There are multiple ways to address these issues, starting with individual introspection, local and state government, and federal policy and programs.

A big-picture solution that touches on all of these connecting points is the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, which will drive down pollution while unleashing American technology innovation and ingenuity. It is effective, bipartisan, revenue neutral, good for the economy and good for people. The carbon dividend puts money directly into people’s pockets every month to spend as they see fit, helping low- and middle-income Americans. It is a self-funded program.

Another piece of legislation that benefits farmers and forests is the Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2020. It provides support to a market that incentivizes carbon sequestration and brings dollars to farmers and foresters. It would support agriculture to move toward regenerative practices.

Although I morally feel we should adopt a Green New Deal that is people- and science-driven, some believe it would be too expensive. My answer to these fears is that we need to examine the cost of such a program and look at the benefits. I suspect the benefits far outweigh the costs. I am also trying to think strategically and long range. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act and the Growing Climate Solutions Act are legislation we should all be able to get behind and see through to the end in future-changing political winds.

I hope you will ask Rep. Mike Gallagher to support this legislation and join the “far middle” for sensible answers to what ails us all. 

John Hermanson

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin