Are you ready to elaborate on your message about climate advocacy or climate solutions? A 600 to 800 word opinion editorial (op-ed) can give you the extra space you need to persuade readers.
You can also read a few of our published op-eds, below.
Jeff Joslin, Brookhaven
Marietta Daily Journal, 4/21/2018
In 1970, America celebrated the first Earth Day. Our parents and grandparents understood the importance of America’s common good. They ushered in a safer and healthier home for us with cleanups and educational programs, and through choices they made at the ballot box. Their votes led Congress to pass the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts. These groundbreaking policies were passed with bipartisan super majorities, reflecting the will of the people for environmental action.
This united approach to passing conservation measures is unheard of today. Partisanship threatens the American priority of a pristine environment that helps us all thrive, grow safe food and earn livelihoods worry free. We would never teach our children to solve conflict with the chaotic, partisan fighting Congress utilizes daily.
The most threatening environmental problem we face is carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution. Rising CO2 levels are driving global changes and are now negatively impacting Georgia. Last year, Georgia’s peach farmers lost 85% of their crops. The warmer winter did not provide enough of the “chill hours” peaches needed for an abundant harvest. Our beautiful, economically vital Georgia coast had several costly floods associated with storms and historically high “king tides.” The dangers from rising CO2 are forecast to worsen and de-stabilize our entire climate. It’s time we take the wise bipartisan approach implemented on the first Earth Day.
We are already united. Public opinion surveys show that more than 70% of residents in every Congressional district served by the Marietta Daily Journal support regulating CO2 as a pollutant (“Geographic variation in opinions on climate change at state and local scales in the USA.” Nature Climate Change, 2016). With that much agreement among voters, why won’t our Congressmen and women act?
Action is thwarted in several ways. Political bickering and the deliberate undermining of scientifically proven findings threaten public confidence in climate solutions. A fossil fuel industry seeking to maintain profits enables these political failures. Outdated laws that don’t reflect today’s climate understanding also prevent needed action.
Fossil fuels are heavily subsidized. As a veteran, I am acutely aware of the vast deployment of America’s service members. Our military vigorously defends the flow of oil and gas around the world. The cost in lives and public expenditures is staggering. Our combat troops experience devastating losses protecting fuel convoys in war zones. Much of our military infrastructure is in harm’s way from rising oceans. Just imagine the cost to move coastal bases. But again, partisanship prevents Congress from acting to rein in climate change and reduce these security threats.
Fortunately, members of the House of Representatives have formed the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus (CSC) to heal the partisan divide on climate issues. The caucus has grown 400% since the 2016 Presidential election. A bipartisan group of 72 Congressmen and women is a remarkable achievement. Composed of half Republicans and half Democrats, the CSC vows it “will explore policy options that address the impacts, causes, and challenges of our changing climate.”
As they overcome partisanship and move toward action, our legislators should consider one of the swiftest, least expensive ways to address climate change; pass a carbon pricing bill known as Carbon Fee and Dividend (CFD). Championed by nonpartisan Citizens’ Climate Lobby, CFD can dramatically reduce carbon pollution using a market-based approach. A predictable, steadily rising fee on carbon would speed clean energy innovation and growth while ending subsidized support for fossil fuels. CFD would also eliminate the need for regulations, a positive for conservatives who want to reduce government growth.
The collected fees would be returned directly to American households on a monthly basis, protecting moderate and low-income families from rising energy prices. CFD would also stimulate jobs and economic growth. Notable conservative Republicans such as Reagan Cabinet members George Shultz and James Baker support this type of carbon pricing.
Carbon Fee and Dividend may be the one solution that appeals to enough members of both parties to become legislation. It will take bipartisan, political courage by lawmakers like Representatives Karen Handel and Barry Loudermilk to pass it. I hope they will follow the lead of other Republicans who are already moving forward on this issue. This political courage will spread more widely when Americans like you and I stay vigilant and ask them to take action. Our children deserve a stable climate just like our parents thought we deserved clean air and water.
Marita Anderson, Atlanta
Atlanta Jewish Times, 3/14/2018
Answering the Call to Protect our World
Vayikra is a reminder of the need to sacrifice to protect the planet and environment.
Vayikra is a reminder of the need to sacrifice to protect the planet and environment.
My kids have a picture book on their shelf called “You Are Stardust,” in which Dr. Elin Kelsey, a professor of environmental science, describes the unity of all life on Earth.
The book gives examples of the interdependence and interconnectedness of each human life to the natural world around us: “Like fish deep in the ocean, you called salt water home. You swam inside the salty sea of your mother’s womb. … The water swirling in your glass once filled the puddles where dinosaurs drank. … You may sprout even taller in the spring and summer, just like the plants in your garden. … We are all nature. … We are all stardust.”
On the surface of things, “you” began in your mother’s womb nine months or so before you were born. On a deeper level, “you” began in the primordial time of a cosmic anomaly of water, light and air mixing together to create life.
We marvel at the diversity of life, but in our most basic physical structures, our atoms are no different than the tree outside our window, or the cat brushing against our leg, or the carrots we had for lunch.
In the unified cycle of life, everything that dies creates the necessary nutrients for everything that is born. But don’t dare tell that to a human being holding the hand of a beloved child or friend.
We are too invested in the individuality of our personhood. We are too in love.
When we kiss our children good night, no substitution will do. Each one is unique and precious, and even the contemplation of a ruptured life causes us great suffering.
While scientists keep reminding us that we are united in our dependence on the conditions offered by Earth, those same conditions for life on our planet are changing. We are facing an existential crisis: ocean acidification, extinction of species, water scarcity and increased intensity of damaging storms.
From a scientific perspective, life is a planetary fluke of matter mixed with energy.
Human exploitation of Earth’s natural elements is causing a change in climate with detrimental effects. It is going to take a massive, collective effort for us to slow the process of collapse in the hope of ensuring life for future generations.
The perspective of a Jewish mystic is not so far off from secular science on this matter, with the belief that life emerges from G-d’s energy and light, which exists in everything.
Kabbalistic thought offers a view of a universe that is both broken and dependent on our human activity to work toward its healing. Each one of us brings a unique divine spark, and together, across generations, we can bring about enough change to help a world in trouble.
For the scientist, the goal is to wake us up to the reality of our situation for the purpose of biological survival. For the person who sees the world through the lens of Jewish spirituality, the message is that we are connected biologically to all life, and each of us has the capacity to allow for G-d to manifest in the world through our actions.
This is a profound overlap between science and Judaism.
The first word in this week’s parshah is vayikra, translated as “and G-d called.”
In this text, the call was for Moses to teach the laws of sacrificial offerings to the entire community of Israelites. Our ancestors were asked to sacrifice to balance any wrongdoing between people, to bring the world into harmony and ultimately to bring G-d closer to them.
We no longer practice sacrificial offerings because our sages replaced these rituals with prayer after the fall of the Temple. In today’s world, we are taught to pray like everything depends on G-d and to take action as if everything depends on you.
What are the sacrifices we need to make today to bring our world into balance? What are our prayers?
And what collective efforts are we making to bring healing to our planet, as if our life depends on it?
Our members of Congress are in the best position to solve climate change. Know where your candidates stand on climate change—and vote climate!