Bill Ferrel, a long-time friend and ally of 350.org as well a conservative business owner in the U.S. state of Iowa, recently had an Op-Ed published on the need for people of all political leanings to connect the dots between extreme weather and climate change. Check out the photo from his group’s Iowa City Climate Impacts Day event and read his thoughts below:
As a conservative Republican who very much understands the need to reduce and control our spending, it may seem strange that I understand and accept that climate change is impacting my home, state and country.
It is beyond comprehension that my party would so adamantly avoid dealing with the fact that we now are facing historical events on such a regular basis that it is impacting our state and national budgets in the hundreds of billions of dollars annually.
Why do we continue to miss the chance to address proactively the adverse impacts of our past and current actions? Why is it that we have not connected the dots between climate change and real life events that have occurred in our own backyards? Why do we find it acceptable to have massive damage to our university, and yet sit by and be satisfied with the hundreds of millions of dollars that are being spent locally to repair the damage?
There is an acronym that I have heard used in many different situations: NIMBY (not in my backyard). It’s typically used to describe something that we don’t want. It either looks bad, smells bad or maybe impacts our health in a detrimental way. It’s often used when the idea of building a coal plant is brought up. We so often hear yes! I want it and the low cost energy, but don’t build it here. Build it over the hill and downwind so that I don’t have to see it or breath it’s pollution.
However, NIMBY, at times, seems to take on a very different definition when disaster strikes. NIMBY morphs into DIMC (dollars in my community). We plead for state dollars. We plead for federal dollars. We get angry when the money is denied. After all we had a disaster and we are in need.
How could someone or some “agency” be so mean as to not help us out when we need the help? After all that’s why I pay taxes.
Now don’t get me wrong. We absolutely need help in times of disaster, and that is to some extent why we pay taxes. It is right and good to care about our neighbors and to spend on resources to bring economies back and to provide safety.
But is it really so right to just write it off to bad luck and accept that bad things happen? Are we really so naive to believe that we, as human beings, don’t have some impact on our surroundings and that sometimes our actions have negative consequences?
Come on, people, let’s all grow up just a bit.
My grandparents taught me about taking responsibility for my actions. They also taught me about using good judgment and not acting in a selfish way that will cause harm to others. Can we really afford to continue to pay for our lack of action?
Speaking to everyone — but specifically to my Republican friends — it is time that we all act in a manner that asks the tough questions about disasters and the costs. It is time that we ask what part we as humans have in the causes of these events and what we can do about it to mitigate the extreme costs.
I am not asking for billions of dollars or hundreds of new regulations. Like most Americans, I do not want to spend excessive amounts of money or be overly regulated.
I am asking you to ask the questions and seek reasonable solutions.
It is time we unify across this country and provide world leadership. It is time that we connect the dots between our actions and the results of those actions.
Bill Ferrel has been a home builder for many years and recently has worked for FEMA in the flood recovery efforts of 2008. He owns Agape Sustainability Advisors and is working to promote sustainable redevelopment.