To the Editor:

In the era of Greta Thunberg, you may be asking yourself how you can help the environment, when a 16-year-old Swedish activist is doing so much for climate change. Turning off the lights, taking shorter showers, and recycling help the cause, but in the grand scheme of things, they’re largely ineffective. Sure, if everyone did it, the world would be in a better place, but the reality is not everyone does and it won’t drive real change. To make substantial progress on climate change, we need regulations on power plants, clean energy, fuel economy standards, etc.

The best action any individual can do for the environment is to vote for representatives in Congress who believe in the climate crisis and are committed to enacting legislation that will address it. For us Ridgefielders, that means re-electing Jim Himes.

Himes is committed to the pursuit of climate change mitigation. He sponsored H.R.3423, a bill that if passed would “establish a U.S. Green Bank to finance climate change mitigation and adaptation projects at the state and local level…” He has a history of voting for legislation that is beneficial to conservation and sustainability.

Living in Ridgefield may make the debate over global climate change seem irrelevant. We’re a small, quaint, New England bucolic suburb. The buzzwords surrounding climate change can feel foreign, but the reality of the situation will affect how we live in the future. Connecticut has already seen the three warmest summers on record (with the highest heat waves happening in 2019).

As a student in Maine, I’ve already been witness to the warming Gulf of Maine and the subsequent lobster migration offshore. The warming waters are changing the fabric of the state’s economy; lobstermen and women are suffering financially. Ridgefield, whose economy doesn’t depend so heavily upon the environment, may not feel the effects of climate change; we have the money and power to mitigate whatever consequence will arise. While we have the luxury of being able to ignore it, we also have the responsibility to address it.

When Donald Trump was elected in 2016, his lack of concern with climate change was eye-opening. I thought, actually hoped, he would face legislative hurdles that would moderate his climate actions. But when it comes to the environment, his power has gone largely unchecked. An obvious example of his disregard was selecting Scott Puritt, a climate change denier, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, then replacing him with Andrew Wheeler, a lawyer who lobbied against Obama era regulations. On top of that, President Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, has deregulated the coal industry, and opened up public lands like Bears Ears National Monument to industry and more. He has exploited his powers as president and forsaken our natural environment.

With the 2020 election cycle approaching, I urge voting members of our town to put aside party affiliation and elect representatives who will bring the climate crisis to the forefront of the national agenda. Jim Himes is a strong voice for the climate movement and deserves our town’s support. We may have the luxury of not caring about climate change, but it is one of the biggest problems facing our world and it’s time we act like it is.

Maeve Colarusso

Ridgefield High School,

Class of 2018