As members of the Nebraska Elder Climate Legacy organization, we wholeheartedly endorse the Local View (“Getting serious about being green," Nov. 21) written by State Sen. John McCollister.
We would add that one value most grandparents can agree on is wanting the best for their children and grandchildren. While we are leaving them with a huge national debt, unaffordable housing and education, a crumbling infrastructure, water and air quality issues and a polarized nation, the most disastrous legacy we are leaving them is a near tipping point with climate change.
While the majority of Nebraskans believe our climate is changing, many are not accepting that human action is a major contributor, and, in turn, believing it is a natural process and there is nothing we can do about it.
However, the science is telling us that human actions through the burning of fossil fuels are the primary cause of our changing climate, and we can substantially reduce projected future warming. We have the technology and resources available to us now to effectively address the "climate crises." Are those who do not accept the science willing to risk their children’s and grandchildren’s futures by rejecting the science and do nothing? Yikes!
It is well documented that the fossil fuel industry has understood the basics of climate change for decades and the role burning fossil fuels play in altering the Earth’s climate.
In July 1977, a senior scientist of Exxon reported to company executives that there was a general scientific agreement at that time that the burning of fossil fuels was the most likely manner in which humankind was influencing global climate change.
Other companies reached the same conclusion. Rather than warning the public and taking action, Exxon and others poured millions into political and misinformation campaigns to make more money, thereby jeopardizing our grandchildren’s future.
While this information and other evidence that humans are contributing to climate change may change some minds, people really do not need to take a position on what is causing climate change. We can just focus on things we can all agree. We all want the best for our children and grandchildren; we can agree that we want them to have clean water and air, nutritious food, good housing, a livable income and general happiness.
All these things can be achieved if we move away from fossil fuels, embrace clean energy, install energy-saving devices into homes and businesses, waste less food, purchase more energy-efficient vehicles and adopt more sustainable (regenerative) agricultural practices, among other actions.
The beauty of these actions is they not only help curb climate change, but they save money as well, and they do not significantly alter our lifestyle. There are environmental, social and economic benefits — a win, win, win.
With costs dropping every day, renewable energy is quickly becoming the best choice for the environment and the economy. However, the United States is lagging far behind other countries determined to capitalize on this low-carbon economy. We are losing ground to a rapidly growing new clean energy market while trying to give life support to a dying fossil fuels market — an economic opportunity lost.
Grandparents, we can do something to leave a better legacy for our grandchildren! Each of us can do something to curb the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
We need to invest in clean energy. Tell the Lincoln Electric System to, at a minimum, set a goal like OPPD of being a net-zero carbon utility by 2050. Strongly urge our congressional delegation to vote to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord. Also, ask them to advocate for additional federal farm program dollars going for more sustainable and profitable agricultural systems.
Finally, at the ballot box, support those people running for office who believe in the same values we grandparents have for our grandchildren’s future.