Dr. Jonathan Witte’s Feb. 19 guest commentary very cogently addresses the need for climate action, locally, nationally and internationally. Everett City Council’s implementation of a Climate Action Plan is an important first step but we must continue to press for national action and to support those that are addressing serious climate issues internationally.
I recently returned from Nepal where in many areas the beautiful landscapes are hidden in a yellow cloud of vehicle pollution. Most days in Kathmandu, the nation’s capitol, views of the Himalayan mountains are obscured by a thick dirty fog. And walking the streets it’s evident from the amount of coughing, spitting and sneezing that this pollution is harming the health of the locals. Levels of respiratory disease are high. And while we pride ourselves on the striking views of the Cascades and Olympics we have here it’s very evident to me that these views have been seriously degraded by vehicle pollution in my lifetime. But certainly our local pollution problems, like Kathmandu’s, are not just aesthetic; as Dr. Witte points out the detrimental health effects of vehicle pollution are horrendous.
As a child I remember my local relatives saying smugly “Well, at least we don’t have California’s air pollution.” But now we in the Northwest are seeing alarming levels of pollution. Ironically California, in spite of resistance at the federal level, has implemented some of the most stringent air quality standards in the world. We would be wise to look south for guidance.
I encourage you to:
• Support local initiatives to reduce fossil fuel emissions.
• Support renewable energy developments and encourage the adoption of less polluting vehicles.
• Use public transportation.
Action now may save the life of you, your children and future generations.