The science is crystal clear: We have less than ten years to radically change our course or face the great consequences of our ongoing ecological destruction spanning from our extractive industries.
According to the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s best scientists say we need to drastically move toward decarbonizing our energy economy if we want a habitable planet for our future generations.
By delaying any action on climate change and its immediate threat to our lives, we are working against our own futures.
The climate crisis is real and it is impacting the lives of everyday New Mexicans in real ways. Our communities have witnessed bigger wildfires, severe water droughts, and weaker snowpacks, all of which are threatening our way of life by depleting our water sources.
In fact, according to a report published by the Union of Concerned Scientists, New Mexico’s major water sources have seen a decrease of up to 37 percent, compared to the total average throughout the 20th century.
In many ways our communities feel cornered because they understand the need to address the climate crisis but are perpetually told our communities will perish unless we continue to bow down to extractive industries. It is time to take the reins of our future — we the people working and living in the belly of the beast; we who put our lives on the line to extract our natural resources; and we who have been historically abused by corporations.
Without a doubt we are at a turning point, not only in the history of New Mexico, but in terms of determining the prospect of human existence. We must act swiftly and boldly, before it is too late. And we can’t continue to destroy our children’s homelands and futures, only for the accumulation of wealth of a few out-of-state CEOs who could not care less about our communities.
But there is good news on the horizon. This is because New Mexico has an opportunity to be a role model to the rest of the country in how to act on climate while making sure these decisions are informed by hardworking New Mexicans. The opportunity is called House Bill 9, the New Mexico Climate Solutions Act.
HB 9 arose from the need for a just transition to a clean and healthy environment, with a thriving economy that respects our history and tradition of hard work, and one led by us — front-line communities. It is time for us to be first in line for training and access to the high-quality jobs of the future in emission and pollution reduction, and clean energy.
The Climate Solutions Act is one-of-a-kind in the nation. This bill will put us, workers who for generations have sacrificed our land and health for extractive industries, at the front of leading New Mexico’s economic diversification while also addressing the root causes of the climate crisis.
For far too long, we have not been included in the decision-making of New Mexico’s energy future. It is time we change that. We must commit to working for the bold, new solutions our communities deserve.
If New Mexico wants to live up to its proclaimed leadership on climate, it is time to show the nation that a healthy and clean environment does not contradict a diverse and sustainable economy. Now is the time to support and pass the Climate Solutions Act.