Letter: The climate needs committed defenders

My husband and I recently returned from a road trip covering 3,800 miles, nine states, and multiple national and state parks. We marveled at the vast, diverse landscape of the American West. Words failed us in the presence of redwood trees, the Pacific Ocean, El Capitan, bristlecone pines, alpine lakes, desert canyons, the Rocky Mountains, and countless other wonders.

And yet ...

... every step of the way, we were confronted with the effects of climate change: large swaths of smoldering and dead trees, miles and miles of parched land, park ranger reports of declining snowpack and habitat loss, a glaringly shrinking Colorado River.

National parks are preserved "for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations." They are the result of great foresight by committed citizens and leaders who feared industry would permanently alter American landscapes enshrined in song, print, and on canvas.

Today it is a warming planet which threatens our American landscape, and the consequences of doing nothing are much greater. Climate change threatens our way of life, our people, our world.

Today, we too have a role in protecting our natural heritage from further devastation. There are things we can do, beyond "reduce, reuse, recycle."

One simple act is to vote for leaders who understand and accept climate science; leaders who offer bold, effective, innovative solutions. As a congressman, scientist, and clean energy entrepreneur, Rep. Sean Casten has proved himself to be such a leader.

Congressman Casten's mission is "to combat the climate crisis and protect our planet for future generations." It is larger in scope than our National Park Service's mission, but the moment requires it. Casten is uniquely qualified for this moment.

Committed citizens and leaders. We needed them then and we need them now.

Jacqueline Eberle

Crystal Lake

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