This past year, Whatcom County has seen firsthand the consequences of a changing climate: wildfires that black out the sky, snowless mountain tops, and over-heated, dead salmon in our rivers. We have a mess that we know we have to clean up – we have to stop taking our environment and health for granted. We have to safeguard a better future with clean air and clean water for our families and communities.
And in 2018 that’s exactly what we plan to do.
Across the state, we’ve been dealing with the pollution from the industries causing this crisis for years. It’s time to clean up the mess from dirty fossil fuels and invest now in clean energy like wind and solar. We all have a responsibility to do our part, so it’s up to us to hold large corporate polluters accountable and make them pay for the pollution they produce. We can use those funds to transition to clean energy that will reduce pollution, protect our families’ health, protect workers, and create good, family-sustaining jobs.
The Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy is a statewide coalition of labor unions, faith communities, communities of color, environmental advocates, health professionals, businesses, and sovereign tribes working together to protect our air, our water, and our future. Here in Whatcom, Alliance members include Community to Community Development (C2C), RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, the NW Central Labor Council, Stand.earth, 350Bellingham, Safeguard the Southfork, and Riveters Collective. These are groups that haven’t always agreed on everything but each of us knows this crisis is too great to tackle alone. We’re moving forward together to establish a first-of-its-kind program that will transition Washington state away from pollution and make our state an environmental leader.
Right now in this year’s legislative session, we’re asking our elected representatives to step up and lead on climate. When the Trump administration pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, it became clear that it is now up to states more than ever to take a stand to tackle carbon pollution. So if the legislature fails to act this winter, we will be ready to put an initiative on the ballot and take this to the voters in November.
Over the last year, we’ve been all across the state talking with people in dozens of communities about how they can find a role in this campaign and be a part of building a clean energy future for Washington. Thousands of individuals have pledged to volunteer for the Alliance. We know our state is ready to lead and we know together we can win. To find out how you can be involved with our campaign go to: https://jobscleanenergywa.com/get-involved/.
Ahmed Gaya is field director for Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy.