As someone who believes climate change is the biggest challenge of our time and the greatest threat to our children’s health and economic well-being, I often get discouraged at the news. Global emissions are rising, storms and wildfires are raging around the country, and outside my window, excessive rainfall has turned my yard into a seemingly permanent mud pit.
Fortunately, when it comes to recent actions by our local leaders, the news this year is much more positive.
First, as the Fairfax County Times reported, the Fairfax County School Board voted in January to move forward with installing solar panels on three schools. I’m optimistic that these projects are just the start of a comprehensive transition to using more renewables to power school facilities.
Then in February, as also reported in the Times, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to consider an ambitious agenda of climate proposals presented by Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck, Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay and Dranseville District Supervisor John Foust.
Now March has brought good news from my member of Congress, Gerry Connolly, as he joins 15 House colleagues in cosponsoring the bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. The bill would reduce emissions 40 percent within 12 years and 90 percent by 2050 while creating millions of jobs and putting money in people’s pockets.
As chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Congressman Connolly signed the Cool Counties declaration that started Fairfax County on the path to climate responsibility. By becoming the first member of Virginia’s congressional delegation to sign on to this important legislation, he is again showing the way forward.
For this Fairfax County climate advocate, 2019 is looking up.