I along with everyone else in my canoe have been paddling hard through the currents of the latest US political cycle of change. The ripples of that initial splash are still emanating, reflecting and in some interesting ways resonating unexpectedly. In recent weeks I have attended, met and listened to local legislators. I attended a two hour Missouri senate hearing on utility rates. I have increased the frequency with which I contact my representatives at all levels of government. I took deep breaths during the collective shout out at one gathering. Today at age 45 I am finally on Facebook. I have taken steps to volunteer in a local election. It looks like I will be joining others on a bus to Washington DC in April to March in favor of action to solve the climate crises. Yet in the meantime I'm struggling with how to even start a conversation with my neighbors here in Missouri to better understand the new world in which I live.
Thirteen years ago, in Camp Striker at the Baghdad Airport I promised myself to end my dependency on oil or spend the rest of my life working to make it happen. Over the years since, I have had found nothing but reason after reason to firmly cement why I believe the fossil fuel age is over and the era of clean energy has begun - sustainable versus finite supply, social justice issues as the world population grows and standards of living increase, protecting human health from the hazards of pollution and radiation, protecting all creatures great and small including humans from tipping the environment beyond points of no return, and luckily already beating out other options in an economy that has yet to include a price on polluting the environment. So it is with great joy in my heart that I can now confidently visualize the future as the transformation has already begun. My sadness lies in the fact that once again Missouri seems to be last to recognize the opportunity let alone fully participate in this transformation.
My answer so far is to listen with two ears and speak with one mouth. To connect and help move the issue forward to solution. To focus on combating misinformation. We are the Show Me State after all. Now that it is no longer a matter of show (it is quite easy for any Missourian to see solar, to know solar through someone who owns solar) it has become a matter of removing the legal, political and regulatory barriers to progress. I for one am thankful for checks and balances in government. I for one can be patient if I can find some evidence of progress. Although I am less than certain I have the following reasons for hope: I am finding out that everywhere I go Missourians want to move forward on clean energy and avoiding environmental catastrophe. Although the opposition still seems to pull the strings at our Capitol in Jefferson City their tired old arguments for making things worse seem to be growing old and stale. We definitely have our work cut out for us but I look forward to joining in creating a splash here at home in Missouri that will constructively add to the ripples travelling in across state lines.
Here in the land of the people of big canoes, we have taken the first step towards a clean energy and environmentally sustainable future. We have the technology, our fellow Missourians are dedicated, passionate and ready to roll up their sleeves to continue to paddle together in one direction across the finish line. Now we just need to find our voice as we raise it in unison with those notes we hear echoing around the world to make sure our representatives in government hear the message. Don't let the waves of opposition drown it out!
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