Why should I care!?
That is a question that I often hear when I speak with others about climate change. It is not an easy one to answer but it must be answered. The truth is that climate change affects every one of us, daily. It is hard to grasp the idea of climate change if one does not see the affects directly; however, this is far from the truth.
Climate change is happening as I type out this sentence. Temperatures are increasing at dangerous rates this summer not only here in Arizona but all over the country. I have heard some people also ask “Well, what does this mean?” This means that every single person must constantly worry about their health. It means that people must spend less time outdoors and more time indoors with the AC blasting increasing the use of energy which results in higher utility rates.
This also means that as temperatures increase, then places like Arizona will experience more days where the air quality is dangerous. Environmental regulators all across Arizona have issued ozone pollution advisories several times this month, which is formed when vehicle exhaust and chemical solvents combine with extreme heat. These types of advisories are not only dangerous to everyone but even more dangerous to those who have respiratory problems, children, and the elderly. Who wants to continue to live like this? I don’t think many people would say yes.
We must combat climate change and we can do that not only individually by taking public transportation, carpooling, recycling and reusing, tree planting, but also at the city, state, and national level. We can do this by holding our elected officials accountable and advocate for the support of climate change bills, such as S. 1743, the International Climate Accountability Act. This bill will direct the president to develop a strategic plan for the United States to meet its commitment and standards as required under the Paris Agreement. This bill is important because the United States is responsible for about 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is the primary cause of global warming. If the United States officially leaves the Paris Agreement, it is reported that this will have devastating impacts on our economy, costing billions of dollars.
U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has co-sponsored this bill, however, Senator McSally has not. This is where everyone can make an impact to combat climate change. People in Arizona must contact McSally to advocate for this bill. Everyone can do this by contacting McSally’s office at (602) 952-2410 and asking her to support S. 1743 and everyone can sign Mi Familia Vota’s online petition called Stop Trump’s Attacks on Climate Action at bit.ly/ClimateActNOW.
Arlinda Bajrami is an environmental justice organizer for Mi Familia Vota.