Given the polarizing times we live in, it is comforting to see that Americans can still find common ground when it comes to protecting our nation — and planet.
A September 2021 PollYale and George Mason universities found that nearly two-thirds of Americans recognize climate changes as a national emergency. A majority of Americans support policies that encourage the transition to a clean energy economy, and reduce industrial pollution.
And we’ve actually got a plan for this, though it’s stalled in the Senate: The climate portion of Build Back Better.
“It’s not just environmental activists like me that want this,” said Helen Tai, a former Bucks County state representative and longtime local environmental advocate. “This is very popular and it’s a moral imperative.”
According to poll after poll, this is the truth. As fact, The Guardian reportedThe consensus that we face a climate crisis is actually growing in January, while the number climate deniers in America is actually increasing. Shrinking like the arctic ice glaciers.
Climate change is a reality that affects everyone, regardless of political affiliation.
Molly Parzen is interim executive director Conservation Voters of PennsylvaniaAccording to, when people start asking questions about their desire for clean air for their children, clean drinking water, and lead-free pipes in their communities etc., it becomes less political and more common.
But we don’t have these things.
According to the United Health Foundation, Pennsylvania ranks number one. 47th in national air-quality. Furthermore, the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air Report gave Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties an “F” in ozone pollution, while Bucks County was the worst in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection published an interim report. ReportJanuary reveals the state’s waterways are becoming more polluted and more unsafe for drinking, recreation, and wildlife. Making matters worse, as Lancaster’s Fox43 revealedAugust saw hundreds of schools in Pennsylvania suffering from lead-contaminated drinking waters due to lead pipes.
Extreme weather is another matter.
“We have had major storm events just this past summer,” said Tai. “It’s real. It’s hurting people. It’s hurting businesses. People need help. We just can’t afford to wait.”
There was the “100-year flood” that ravaged lower Bucks County this summer that More than 1100 homes and businesses were damaged, left apartment complexes “uninhabitable,” and displaced hundredsLocal residents.
Extreme weather events which, in addition to floods, include tornadoes, wildfires, droughts and heatwaves, are the New normal nationally. Nearly 700 people were killed in climate and weather disasters last year. The damage caused by these events cost the United States more than $145 billion.
“To be blunt, we’re running out of time,” said Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania’s Parzen. “We’ve already waited too long to act on climate change.”
This is why it is so crucial to pass a separate Build back Better climate bill.
“The core climate components represent an absolutely transformational opportunity that will help reverse these trends,” added Marzen.
There are also secondary benefits, as state senators Amanda M. Cappelletti and Maria Collett, Steve Santarsiero, Judy Schwank, and Steve Santarsiero pointed out in a Letter Monday:
“The framework will create good-paying union jobs, grow domestic industries, and advance environmental justice for Black, brown, and low income Americans that have long been overlooked. It will cost billions to replace lead pipes, which will provide clean water for children and protect their health.
I believe that this is something that we can all agree upon.
Now it’s up to us to pressure our lawmakers to make sure a Build Back Better climate bill passes. Let’s fight together, not against each other, on this.
Cyril Mychalejko from Bucks County is a teacher, freelance writer and editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at https://cyrilmychalejko.substack.com.