We already have the technology needed to solve our climate problem while improving our economy, but the latest United Nation scientists’ report warns that politics may prevent us from doing so. You can google “drawdown” to read about how we can protect our world. This newspaper featured recent articles and editorials that show we have to take drastic action right now to be successful, and we can all make a difference by voting for leaders who would take protective steps.

One of those steps involves politics. We elect our leaders to make hard choices to protect us, even if this would be unpopular with their base. But some of our leaders are failing to show real leadership, and they are ignoring the input of the majority of Mainers. These leaders may be fine human beings, but we need to call them out when they make tragic mistakes, such as when they represent the interests of Central Maine Power or the fossil fuel industry rather than our interests.

Climate is truly not a partisan issue. Our president just signed an international agreement to phase out HFCs, refrigerant chemicals that are thousands of times more destructive greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide. And Sens. Roger Katz and Tom Saviello are prominent Maine Republicans who have taken strong stands to stop climate change. If only they were running for governor and Congress.

In Waterville, 350 Central Maine and the Waterville Unitarian Church organized two movies and two public events this fall to encourage people to vote with climate in mind. On Sept. 8, 50 people attended a Rise for Climate and Justice Rally at Castonquay Square. On Sept. 12, 30 people attended the movie “Happening” about how the Public Utility Commission in Nevada eliminated net-metering incentives for residential solar energy, causing the solar power industry there to shut down. However, during the next election, the people of Nevada voted in representatives who reinstated net metering support for solar energy.

Now, we in Maine need to elect new representatives who are willing to change our PUC ruling, and support solar energy.

On Oct. 3, 30 people attended a Meet and Greet event at the Waterville UU church for just such candidates. Karen Kusiak was one of them — she’s a climate hero who I am happy to volunteer for. She’s running for the state Senate against Scott Cyrway, who failed us last year regarding climate change. He voted to sustain the governor’s veto of the solar net-metering bill, which would have speeded our transition to solar energy and created many more jobs in the solar energy field.

Rep. Bruce Poliquin votes to support the profits of his corporate sponsors, even if that means permitting more pollution or greenhouse gases that harm us. The League of Conservation Voters gives him only a 17 percent score.

And Shawn Moody, candidate for governor, has said he does not believe that humans are contributing to climate change in Maine. These men may believe they’re doing right, but they are not acting to protect the climate that we and our children need for safe and prosperous lives.

Janet Mills, in contrast, has an extensive energy and climate plan that would strongly protect our climate and strengthen our economy by speeding our transition to inexpensive, clean energy. And Jared Golden, a candidate for Congress, also has an excellent record on reducing climate change.

Other local representatives who showed inspiring willingness to take effective action on climate change at our Meet and Greet event included a representative of Sen. Angus King and four candidates for the Maine House of Representatives: Colleen Madigan, Aaron Rowden, Bruce White and Steven Ball. The intelligence and humanity of these candidates was impressive. Please come out to vote for these candidates. And if you support their opponents, please check their positions on climate before making a final choice.

The majority of Mainers want the government to limit greenhouse gas emissions much more, but that won’t matter unless we vote as if our lives and our children’s lives depended on it — which they do. Someday we’ll all want to be able to tell our children that we voted for leaders who would protect them the most.

Richard Thomas is a resident of Waterville.

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