I grew up in a Maine Republican family that loved nature and taught me the privilege of preserving the balance of all life. That is why my first car got more than 40 mpg, I have done beach cleanups and Sierra Club service trips, and picked roadside trash with my church youth group. As the country has become so divided politically, environmental protection falls on the Democratic-Progressive end of the spectrum. With an anti-regulation Trump administration suspicious of science, as a rather moderate thinker I can experience eco-despair. I must remember: I am not the only person raised on values both conservative and conservationist.

In fact, the U.S. House of Representatives has a bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, with 17 Republicans and 17 Democrats. One promising idea: a carbon fee and dividend system to place a fee on atmospheric carbon at the source of drilling/mining/import, rather than tax consumers at the gas pump or on an electric bill. The fees would get returned to the general public as a dividend. Fossil fuel companies make profits as oil, gas and coal create health and climate risks such as drought to harm agriculture, and sea rise with coastal flooding. Some companies, such as ExxonMobil, support the fee-and-dividend concept and figure that system into long-range plans. Such companies are starting to branch into renewable energy technologies such as algae fuels. Such progress is good for the economy; innovation always is.

Fiscally sound, environmental solutions are not pipe dreams, but will not be implemented without advocacy from us all. Go to citizensclimatelobby.org to see if your representative is part of the Climate Solutions Caucus. Let’s urge our representatives to represent us on behalf of a safe, economically sustainable future through the caucus.

Jane Bradshaw

Pittsfield