By Carrie Krueger
Like many of you, I settled in Bellevue for its family-friendly lifestyle, access to nature and diverse, inclusive community. I’ve lived here for 26 years and raised my children here. I’ve owned a small business, worked for local start-ups and also for our famous high-tech giants. I’ve seen a lot of changes to Bellevue, but this town (now a city) remains true to its values, including the ideal of creating a better world for our kids and leaving a legacy for generations to come.
Today climate change threatens all we hold dear. Our air is polluted with emissions that are making our children sick. Our beloved forests are burning because of hotter, drier summers and our river valleys flood more often, as precipitation increasingly falls as rain instead of snow. We’ve all read the dire reports from scientific experts around the world and recognize that without immediate and strong action, we will not be able to leave a safe, healthy and thriving world for our children and grandchildren.
True to our spirit of innovation, Washington is modeling a practical first step towards tackling this critical issue – an approach that may be followed by other states and by nations around the world. Initiative 1631 charges a fee on large sources of carbon pollution and uses the funds to restore natural resources like forests and clean water, and to move us towards clean sources of energy faster and more affordably. It’s clear that renewable energy is critical to our future. Initiative 1631 will speed that transition while creating jobs all over our state. It takes care of communities where the impacts of climate change are already having the biggest impacts and protects low-income families.
It’s impressive to me that Initiative 1631 was put together by the largest and most diverse coalition in state history. Businesses, tribes, communities of faith, clean energy and environmental advocates, labor unions, communities of color and many others worked together to craft smart and innovative policy that assures a just and fair approach to tackling carbon pollution. Opposition has come almost exclusively from big oil companies that want to protect their ability to pollute our air, without paying a price or helping clean up the mess they have made. It’s saddening to see opposition has resorted to deceptive advertising, paid professional spokespeople and out-of-the area voices to oppose this smart approach.
While big oil has poured money into defeating this initiative, support for I-1631 has been widespread including the King County Medical Society, Washington Academy of Family Physicians, all the state’s major environmental organizations, more than 100 scientists at the University of Washington and other local institutions, businesses from Microsoft and Expedia to Cedar Grove Composting and REI, and philanthropy and tech leaders like Bill and Melinda Gates.
As your neighbor, co-worker, fellow-dog-walker and Bellevue citizen, I urge you to vote yes on I-1631. Climate change is not a partisan issue. Here in Bellevue, our political views are diverse, and we are sometimes thought of as independent or even unpredictable. But on the issue of leaving a legacy for our children we are unified. I hope everyone in Bellevue will come together and support initiative 1631 for clean air, clean energy and a better future.
Carrie Krueger is a long-time resident of Bellevue’s Newport Hills.