Open the Door

by Dianne Herrin, West Chester

Hurricane Sandy is causing so much suffering, and I, like everyone, am very saddened by it. I am heartened, however, by the fact that politicians in high places (like New York’s Cuomo and Bloomberg) are finally issuing a public call for action on the climate crisis.

I have been working in my community for more than a decade to address climate change on the local level, and I don’t regret for a minute my many hours of grassroots advocacy in the name of energy conservation, energy efficiency and clean renewable energy. But I have learned a hard lesson: We desperately need leadership from the top. Without a clear and aggressive clean energy vision, our nation will continue to suffer – only on a much larger scale.

The good news is that President Obama has already started to lay the foundation for such a vision. He has been promoting energy efficiency on every front and creating clean energy research programs. However, he has done so behind closed doors, likely for fear of being attacked by the incredibly powerful fossil fuel industry and its many well-funded “think tanks.”

The potentially bad news is that Romney, on the other hand, publicly mocks climate change, wants to end wind energy incentives, and plans to unleash every dirty, destructive domestic energy source that remains deep under our soils and seas – in a move that will liberate more greenhouse gases into the air than we have emitted since the dawn of the industrial revolution. Respected climatologists say this will mean “Game Over” for our climate system – and the bountiful life-sustaining earth as we know it – and all in the name of short-term profit.  

I work on energy issues because I am a mother, and all of our children face a very hard future. We must vote for President Obama on Tuesday Nov 6th because, in a second term, he will have a chance to come all the way out of the climate change closet and put a clear vision into action. We, the people, can open this door (and then push him through it) so he can lead on climate change. Unlike Romney – who has shut this door, locked it, and thrown away the key – Obama offers hope.

The benefits to us will be many: A vigorous clean renewable energy jobs program, management of climate change and its terrifying human and financial consequences, and hope for our children’s future. This is nation-building at its finest, at a time when we need it most. Let’s open the door on election day.