Robert Redford: What I see when I think of the future

What do you see when you think about the future of our society, our country and our world?

For me, this is the first moment in my life where there seems to be both a will and a way to tackle the environmental crisis to the extent that science and justice require. But the clock is ticking and we need to act immediately to achieve a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable future.

I see crisis after crisis if the current passivity continues. I see no community safe from extreme weather events – fires, hurricanes, floods or droughts. I see people getting sick. I see countless lives lost.

I find hope in what I have witnessed in my time as an activist: People on the front lines take a stand and raise their voices to create great change. I find hope in our young people, who demand environmental justice and repair. People from all walks of life come together with the common goal of caring for our planet and our people.

But the power of society must be matched from the highest places of power. It is time for Congress to act.

For the past several months, Congress has struggled to pass a bipartisan infrastructure package and Build Back Better Act legislation with the potential to accelerate clean energy progress and mitigate the climate crisis to an extent we urgently need. While lawmakers have quarreled over the price tag and held the bills hostage in DC, our country has suffered.
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Forest fires have burned in several states and swept over more than 6.5 million acres this year. Hurricane Ida left parts of southern Louisiana without power and safe drinking water for weeks, while the remnants of the storm wreaked havoc in the northeast, causing historic rainfall, catastrophic floods and the deaths of more than 50 people.
Taken together as proposed, the Build Back Better Act and the two-part infrastructure package can create a fairer and more livable future for all. They include reasonable provisions on climate, conservation and environmental justice that could move us towards the goal of halving CO2 emissions by 2030 – a science-based necessity to save the planet.
Most recently, the proposed investments in clean energy include tax deductions for clean energy, investments in robustness, clean energy technology, manufacturing and supply chain investments and incentives, as well as the purchase of clean energy. These investments must remain in this legislation during the ongoing negotiations. A future with clean energy can create jobs, improve the health of the individual and the local community, help avert future climate disasters and lower utility bills and energy costs, making life more affordable for all.
It will directly improve the lives of those hardest hit by climate justice, such as families in Maricopa County, Arizona, where nearly 1 in 9 children suffers from asthma in a place ranked by the American Lung Association as one of the worst counties. in the country for ozone pollution.
For anyone who feels a sticker shock over the price of the two bills, let us remind ourselves that the media has not helped us understand the true cost of what is being proposed. The $ 550 billion of federal investment over the next five years in the two-part infrastructure bill is less than the Pentagon’s annual budget – and adding $ 256 billion to the 10-year deficit is a trade-off as we make up for lost time and secure. our viability on this planet.
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We can afford this, America, and we must invest in our future now.

Debate and compromise in the US Capitol have lasted long enough. It’s time to act on this chance to make history. Members of Congress should remember that they work for the people of the United States and pass both bills.

Movements towards a future of clean energy cannot wait. Industrial giants will not get around on their own with promises and plans. They have had their chance. It’s too late for that.

I’ve been talking about the environment for decades. It is comforting to have more voices in the mainstream pushing for change, especially now that the situation is becoming more and more serious. How many more voices are needed for our elected leaders to listen, move beyond their own interests and act in the interests of the greater good – and future generations?

What should happen next has never been clearer: Congress must come together and adopt the Build Back Better Act and the two-part infrastructure package immediately.

No more compromises can be made.

Not a single provision or investment towards a safer, healthier and fairer future can be downplayed or ignored. There is no other chance in moments like this. It’s time.

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