I was talking with a college student. I asked about his hopes. Looking me straight in the eye he said he was “terrified." A chill of reality moved down my spine.

He expressed fear that climate instability made his future uncertain. He understood potential opportunities in sustainability careers, but collapse of civilization was equally possible.

I was thrust back to reality. I try to mediate emotions of “terror” with mediocre actions. Intent and local actions are not enough. I chose to calm him and myself. I explained solutions ready to be implemented. We just need the personal and political will to implement them! I shared my most grounding hope of a realistic solution. It helps me sleep at night. The idea of putting a fee on greenhouse gas emissions and returning the fee equally to the people. It makes sense to me: make the best option the cheapest. Revenue returned equally to people.

I learned it from Citizens' Climate Lobby. Add fees to what will threaten our future, and people will choose the less expensive option. Return the fees to the people. Those who have little impact would receive more in their dividend “check” than spent on increases in greenhouse gas intensive items. It is so logical and nondisruptive. I wish our senators and representatives in Congress would act. I call on Peter DeFazio, Greg Walden, Jeff Merkley, Ron Wyden to take action.

Look at the proposal on the Citizens' Climate Lobby website. It may allow you to sleep better at night.

Mark Van Steeter

Corvallis (Feb. 7)

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