Dear Editor,

As the Gulf Coast begins its recovery from Superstorm Laura and wildfires rage and turn the skies orange throughout California, Oregon, and Washington, we are reminded that climate change is not in the distant future but here and now. If there is a glimmer of hope to be seen through the haze, it’s that we do still have the power to prevent climate change from worsening astronomically. But we have to act now. 

Virginia has a lot to lose as the climate warms. Heat waves, hurricanes, flooding, and damaged crops threaten to ravage our economy and displace thousands of people. We have played host to carbon-spewing fossil fuel projects for many decades -- and now is the time to put our foot down. The recent cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline shows that activism works and that just because the fossil fuel industry wields a disproportionate amount of power, it does not mean their agenda is set in stone. Everyday people can prompt planet-saving changes. 

First, we must pressure our public officials to stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The company building it has a terrible track record when it comes to safety and the environment, and there are enough recorded incidents to convince anyone who’s paying attention that this pipeline must be shut down. After that, we must push Governor Northam and our state legislature to make us a national leader on climate by passing legislation guaranteeing an equitable renewable energy transition. Our lives really are on the line here.

Laura Cooper

Fairfax, VA

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