• Reilly Neill

#FridaysForFuture Climate Work Continues

Children now learn about the science of global warming in school curriculums. They lead the charge for awareness and change with logic, intelligence and passion. We can educate others about climate change with the same simple facts.

Many farmers and ranchers, business owners and citizens of Montana already suspect or know that something is happening in the state's climate. Wanting to believe the politics of denial blocks them from embracing helpful science and affordable solutions in the face of coming changes. Montana's Climate Solutions Council has a budget of just $10,000 and the work they will do in the next year will provide invaluable data and information on current and projected impacts on the state in exchange for the investment.

We are facing real challenges in the coming decades: flash droughts, increased wildfire risk, and extreme and unpredictable storms and precipitation patterns will affect everything from our health and homes to our livelihoods.

In my campaign for governor, I'm going door to door to share facts and projections of the effects of climate change in Montana and what we can do about it. We must address the impacts of climate change, prepare for the future in our communities and hold fossil fuel companies responsible in our economies. We must have the full awareness of the people to do this work.

At the Sunrise Movement Climate March in Bozeman on September 20, 2019.

It's heartening to see young people striking every Friday to say no to fossil fuels. Our global climate crisis is not improving, in fact, it's getting worse.

Montana Beetle biologist Diana Six once sadly noted that her job was increasingly becoming a post-mortem autopsy of the natural world as global species face extinction rates one thousand times higher than natural background rates. It's tough to face this reality.

I find hope in raising awareness. By sharing knowledge through my work and with friends and family, I've found collective hope. Every time I see someone have a sea change and better understand the facts and data about global warming and climate change, I feel the collective hope we can share.

Montana 2035 is my initiative to craft a sustainability plan for the state and build a better future. In the initiative, the recommendations of Montana's Climate Solutions Council will be put to work building a plan for Montana with a balanced approach to the future. Economic, social and environmental goals should be in balance with the reality of climate change. We want to preserve a vibrant, diversified economy; a healthy quality of life that is grounded in equality; and healthy natural resources. We must also face the scientific facts.

Key to combatting climate change is fundamentally changing how we produce and consume energy. We also need to consider the future energy needs of our neighboring states. Montana has the capability to build vast renewable energy systems and create a sustainable economic driver for the state.

Fossil fuels have always been a finite resource. We need to transition from this energy source well before the need to do so is beyond our control.

I'm asking all Montanans to consider a new way forward. Consider a way we can live in a more sustainable world. Imagine a Montana with viable distribution networks for Montana-grown foods and products going all over the state and to surrounding states. Imagine a Montana where we are producing energy without pollution, enough energy to fuel our own state and profit by exporting renewably-sourced power.

Imagine a Montana where the streams and rivers are as healthy as we can possibly allow them to be in the face of coming climate changes, changes which will cause mass fish die-offs, algae blooms, and more flooding and drought. We need to be prepared for these aspects of climate change across all of our economic sectors and in every state agency.

Join me going forward as I campaign for a sustainable future for Montana. While I need to raise funds to travel the state and talk to voters, I'm primarily asking for your help in sharing knowledge about climate change with your friends, family and others who will only benefit from gaining perspective. I ask for your help on this one out of many #FridaysForFuture to spread awareness of science!

Please join me on the doors or in my travels around the state to crusade every day for climate change awareness. Together, we can imagine a sustainable Montana and work to make the vision a reality.

—Reilly Neill

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