Editor’s note: This commentary is part of The Beachcomber’s ongoing “Green Briefs” series, presented in partnership with the Whole Vashon Project. To find out more about the organization, visit wholevashonproject.org.
One of the more powerful tools to address the climate crisis is legislative change.
Let me tell you why and how you can easily engage.
To be certain, every effort, large and small, makes a difference. The Whole Vashon Project showcases local actions. Legislative change can enable and accelerate these actions and can benefit the climate in ways local actions can’t.
For example, the State’s Clean Energy Transformation Act requires 100% renewable electricity by 2045.
Just the first step in this Act, closing coal plants, removes millions of cars worth of climate pollution. The Clean Fuel Standard cuts transportation emissions by 20%. The Climate Commitment Act taxes climate pollution – the best incentive to reduce emissions, according to economists.
While these actions change behaviors beyond our local control, local influence is essential to make these changes a reality. In 2017, more than 800 Vashon-Maury islanders and 108 business owners signed the petition to shut down Puget Sound Energy’s coal plants, and that made a difference. The dozens of islanders’ voices at hearings on the matter were heard.
So how can we continue applying our local energy to address the climate crisis? Take Action Network!
Would you like to let our legislators know if you support or oppose a bill related to an issue you care about when that bill is filed? Would you like to know when our legislators will act on a bill you care about, giving you the opportunity to express your views on that bill? If so, sign up with Take Action Network (TAN).
TAN not only informs you; it provides links to sign in as “pro” or “con” on a bill and legislator phone numbers so you can leave a message to further support or oppose a bill. In fact, with one click, TAN creates an email addressed to your legislator which you can personalize and then hit “send.” It’s really that easy, and it’s so important that your voice be heard.
The best part is that TAN lets you choose. Choose the actions you want to take. Choose the issues you want to hear about. Choose to be informed when one of your state legislators will act on a bill addressing an issue you care about.
Your first step: go here. Click the Indivisible Vashon invitation to join TAN and get signed in. Then, while logged on to TAN, click on your topics of interest.
In addition to Climate/Environment, you could choose Civil Liberties and Rights, Democracy & Good Government, Healthcare/Abortion Protection, Education, Ending Gun Violence, Housing, Social Justice and Tax Fairness. If a bill with that topic is filed or comes to one of our legislators’ committees, TAN will let you know.
Each topic you click creates a search on your TAN dashboard, which notifies TAN to email you when a call to action matches your selected actions and issues.
The opportunities for climate action are enormous, and TAN allows your voice to be heard. And with one added progressive State House and Senate member — courtesy of the election — now is the time to make progress.
What opportunities are likely? One priority is creating jobs by building more power transmission infrastructure so renewable energy can reach our homes. Protecting the Clean Energy Transformation Act, the Clean Fuels Standard and the Climate Commitment Act are top priorities.
How about cutting the carbon pollution content in the products we buy and the materials we build things with by making them more climate-friendly? There are also calls for protecting legacy trees and banning lead in fuels.
Local environmental advocates want a shoreline structures survey to aid nearshore habitat protection and legislation to clean up Puget Sound.
Don’t forget the budget! The Biden administration’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and its Inflation Reduction Act provide federal funds to expand local green energy systems, like electric vehicle charging stations, and also implement climate-friendly infrastructure upgrades.
TAN notifies you in time to voice your support.
The Washington State 2023 legislative session has just started. Please join TAN here.
Kevin Jones, a Washington native, a 30-year Vashon resident, and a member of the Washington Indivisible Network steering committee, leads the environment/climate bill tracking team and is a member of the Indivisible Vashon leadership team. You can hear Kevin’s “progressive persuasion” on Voice of Vashon’s The Brown Briefly, every Tuesday.