Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 25, 2017

To make America First, America must be leader

By Mary Tarnoff | Apr 20, 2017

To the editor:

America’s greatness is rooted in its long history of creativity and innovation: from Henry Ford’s innovative assembly line method of producing cars to the Wright Brothers’ airplane, to computers, to software to ground breaking cardiovascular and in-utero surgeries.

All were created here in the U.S. This led to huge advancements in all areas of life and the explosion of thousands of related industries and millions of jobs. This is what cutting edge technology does.

But today, we are missing out. Even though solar panels were invented in the United States, China is now the largest producer of solar panels. Even though the United States is the second largest producer of wind energy, China and Germany are the largest manufacturers of wind turbines.

According to Fortune Magazine, the renewable energy field is creating jobs 12 times faster than the rest of the economy. Of the 8 million total renewable jobs in the world, only about 9 percent are in the U.S. And these are good jobs, safe, healthy jobs that pay well.

Why send coal miners back into dangerous, toxic mines that shorten their lives by 20 years when we could be building production facilities where they can build solar and wind components?

The overwhelming scientific consensus is that climate change is real and action must be taken immediately. We seem to be the only industrialized nation in the world that isn’t heeding the warning. While other countries are actively planning and aggressively investing in renewable energy infrastructure, our President is trying to loosen restrictions on coal fired power plants and increased coal mining production. This is not just embarrassing; it is short-sighted and dangerous.

Let’s become a world leader not by creating low paying, mediocre, hazardous, or even unhealthy employment, but by creating the best and most sustainable technologies of the future. The fossil fuel industry is becoming obsolete. Let’s not prop up a dying horse.

Let’s invest in jobs that will last and grow for generations to come and will spin off into thousands of other jobs just as computers, software, automobiles and other innovations have.

In doing so, America will become a leader in something vastly more important than just market share; we will be leading in technology that will help us live longer, healthier lives. Let’s lead the world in reducing the toxic outpouring of fossil fuel emissions that create millions of illnesses and billions of dollars in health damages each year. Let’s lead in reducing the greenhouse gases that scientists warn are pushing our climate to a breaking point.

No one could have envisioned what the development of the airplane or computers or ground-breaking surgeries would mean for society.

When America becomes a leader in green technologies, these jobs and industries will reshape our country and the planet in healthy and positive ways we can only begin to imagine.

 

– Mary Tarnoff, Fairfield

 

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