Small Ideas to Promote Big Changes
By: Jessica H

 Flooding on the east coast, fires on the west coast, and glacial melting across the globe.  These are alarming daily headlines that can make climate change seem distant and untouchable.  But have you noticed the overgrowth of poisonous hemlock as you drive through the Miami Valley?  How about the invasive vines strangling our native trees?  Did you know that according to a recent study of the evolution of trees, the planet has lost 50% of the species of trees it had in 1970?  The skies across the Miami Valley this past week were even clouded by smoke from the current wildfires in the west. As dire and immense as the environmental crisis is, nothing about it is distant or untouchable.  Some of the solutions to fighting it may be as close as our own backyard.  

    Currently the government incentivizes large-scale items like geothermal heating and cooling units and electric vehicles, which limits the scope of its need to invest and further expands the idea that this problem and its solutions are out of reach for many Americans. Let’s step away from fighting culture wars against each other and work with our neighbors to combat climate change. Let’s push objectives that will reduce America’s carbon footprint, not our cultural viewpoints.  While America’s leaders debate when life begins in a woman’s womb, honeybees are dying in rates that may be catastrophic for all of humanity.  At the same time, swarms of pollinators hover over allium plants in my garden. The number and variety of bees give me a glimmer of hope, but also give me pause.  What if our leaders were debating legislation for tax benefits to support the folks growing the alliums that support the bees?  How about incentivizing those raising chickens to avoid the need to buy eggs?  Why does trash service cost more for those who ask to recycle? Shouldn’t we incentivize the habits that provide the best outcome?  How about we create a universal system for plastic manufacturers to simplify the recycling process and eliminate problematic labels that stifle our recycling efforts? Some solutions are obvious and practical; the possibilities are endless.  Imagine, how many more bees could we save if everyone got a tax break for maintaining a beehive?  How many trees could we save if we united against killer invasive vines?

    United we stand, divided we fall; no enemy is testing this idea more than climate change.  This precious land that lends us the birds, bees, and the trees is making an urgent call for help. The American people are desperate for a cause to reunite us.  Our leaders are uniquely equipped to rally us again in one mutual fight instead of turning our cultural differences into a civil war. They have the tools large and small to create policies that empower every one of us in our fight.  The recent environmental funding approved by the Biden Administration is encouraging.  Let’s push for more legislation that invests in environmental and fiscal policies that unite Americans, support our planet, and make us more resilient, more independent, and a more sovereign nation.