Our way of life in Montana is dependent on outdoor spaces. Many Montanans enjoy exploring breathtaking landscapes, and our natural resources are an enormous economic boon to the recreation and tourism industries.
But our way of life faces an unprecedented threat.
Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released their 2018 Climate Report. Their conclusions were alarming. If greenhouse gas emissions continue at current rates, we will see a devastating global temperature increase. The effects of climate change will not only cause an unprecedented rise in sea levels; they will also contribute to more devastating forest fires, insubstantial snowpack, and massive loss of arable land right here in Montana.
With the IPCC’s report looming over our heads, it is more crucial than ever to move toward strengthening our renewable energy sector.
Montana has a long and tangled history with energy production. Natural resource development has been a major provider of jobs for Montanans in the past. But the old ways in which we have thought about energy development are irreversibly destructive to our environment, and in turn, the health of multitudes of communities.
Going forward, Montanans must focus on creating the next generation of sustainable energy jobs. Funding for job retraining and community development will be necessary as we prepare for a future that is quickly approaching.
2019 is the time to focus on forward-thinking solutions. We can ensure that both our environment and our communities are prosperous for future generations.
Jack Martinez, Missoula