After I saw “Avengers: Endgame,” I couldn’t help but wonder what the world would do if half the earth’s population was threatened with extinction. Would we step up and fight the threat against all odds, or would we back down, convincing ourselves the problem was too big to tackle?
On June 11, at the Citizens’ Climate Lobby International Conference and Lobby Day, I got my answer.
Packed into the Omni Shoreham Hotel were 1,500 volunteers from around the country to save the planet from a threat that promises total human extinction: climate change. Everyone was electrified with a shared sense of purpose, united across faiths, parties, genders, sexualities, ethnicities and ages.
Here, the hallways were packed with people ready to become heroes. Here, hope was manifested in action — confident, organized, ready.
This event was my first time speaking to any member of Congress, much less three in one day. Anxiety wracked my mind as to how effective I’d be, but purpose invigorated my every step.
Like many of my generation, I have felt discouraged by a future in which climate change hangs over our heads like the sword of Damocles. But now I have hope.
With a Democratic majority in the House and more Republicans acknowledging a changing climate and its danger to agriculture and homeland security, we've reached a tipping point. More people are awakening to the dire reality and they’re tapping into the same human innovation and ingenuity that blasted us to the moon.
This is where the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act comes in, a bipartisan climate legislation cosponsored by more than 45 members of Congress. Economists and scientists agree it will reduce America’s emissions by at least 40 percent in the first 12 years, curbing the most dangerous effects of climate change.
On top of reducing greenhouse gases that warm the atmosphere, it will also reduce pollution, thereby improving the health and quality of life of all Americans. The carbon dividend element of the bill puts money directly into people’s pockets every month to spend as they see fit, which will be especially helpful to low and middle-income Americans.
On top of these benefits, this bill is expected to create 2.1 million new jobs thanks to economic growth in local communities across America. At the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, we recognize that America was built on coal and natural gas and it has provided many of us with jobs to support our families.
At the same time, we also want to see America take the lead in the global renewable energy market. As a native Texan, I want our state to lead the country.
In a single day, 1,500 Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteers met with over 500 members of Congress to lobby in support of this bill and achieve a common goal: put a price on pollution, boost the economy and stabilize the climate. We may not be the Avengers, but we have assembled to save the planet. And we’re just getting started.