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Thinking of baby Maya’s forever mountain view

| December 15, 2021 1:00 AM

When Glasgow was announced as the host city for COP26 I daydreamed about going. My father had a brief stint as a consulting engineer in Scotland when I was a teen. We lived in the coastal town of Helensburgh on the Firth of Clyde. I remember the breathtaking views of the loch, earned by hiking atop Ben Lomond, as muckle coo grazed below. (I am writing in Scottish parlance of river inlets, lakes, mountains, and those cute highland cows!)

The math and science classes at the castle-like Lomond School were rigorous. I enjoyed their challenge despite being mocked by classmates for my supposed John Wayne accent. I’m sure it’s why I followed in my father and uncle’s footsteps to attain an engineering degree and I am thankful for that.

I am also thankful for all those who loved math and science as a child and grew up to become scientists researching the warming in our oceans and atmosphere. I bet it was a surprise to those early scientists who discovered it, but we now know for sure, we are causing this damage by burning fossil fuels.

I am also eternally grateful for those who chose engineering and developed innovations for low-cost clean energy and products to use it. However, Montana has been slow to take advantage of these new energy sources. And, induction stoves, electric cars, and heat pump HVAC, are not yet within reach for most of us. This is because our laws were built upon 100 years of fossil fuels.

Luckily, we can be thankful for economic scholars who have identified effective ways to rewrite the rules. Over 3,500 economists including 28 Nobel Prize winners endorse Carbon Fee and Dividend. Simply put, it charges big polluters and gives the money collected back to Americans as carbon cashbacks. Under this policy, the magic of the push and pull of the economy does the trick to get us on the pathway to using our new-found technology and curbing pollution.

So, thankfully we have solutions at our fingertips. The time is now to speak up for rewriting the rules at all levels of government. For example, today you can call Senator Tester and ask him to put a price on pollution in the reconciliation bill.

I envision a future where my 1-year-old great niece, Maya, will some day hike atop a forested Montana mountain, breathe in the clean air, and see the breathtaking views of pristine lakes in the distance with elk grazing below. And, she will know it will stay that way forever.

Robin Paone represents Citizens’ Climate Lobby. She lives in Whitefish.

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