This was originally published in the Laconia Daily Sun on October 1, 2020

This spring, Covid was spreading its death grip all over, and it was a time of horror for the world. During some of the worst periods of the coronavirus pandemic, however, we were nevertheless treated to magical photos of nature left wild, or at least wilder. We saw animals roaming free in areas previously crowded with humans, marine mammals swimming in previously polluted and overfished waters, we saw the skies of L.A. without the thick veil of smog.

There were also very concrete improvements in air quality, in San Francisco (40 percent less air pollution than in 2019), LA, New York, and Seattle, with similar reductions in pollution.

There could be no more convincing proof of climate change than these photos and air measurements. Even a climate denier should be able to see the evidence before our eyes, showing climate change linked to human activity.

The bad news is that those changes were temporary, and as soon as human activity increases to previous levels (more vehicles, more planes, and more movement), those benefits begin to disappear. What we learned from this terrible experiment is that we humans are indeed in control of not only our own destiny, but that of our children and grandchildren. The earth is ours to save for them or to squander.

The voting record of my opponent, Rep. Raymond Howard, Jr., shows that we could not be much further apart on environmental issues. In Concord, he has voted consistently against measures designed to tackle climate change, to reduce carbon emissions, to protect water and air quality, and to increase solar power. His nay votes sum up his philosophy of government: he’s against it. I believe wise leaders need to address the dangerous effects of climate change, which are already reaching crisis levels. The younger generation is ready to tackle this problem; why aren’t we?

Mr. Howard has not only voted repeatedly against environmental measures, but he has even voted against a bill seeking to establish a climate action plan. That’s right, he voted nay on HB-1664, to study the issue of climate change, and plan for the future. He put his head in the sand and refused to look at the evidence. I would obviously have voted yes.

At the county level, Ray Howard has consistently voted to deny or reduce appropriations to the Belknap County Conservation District, an outside agency serving as our county environmental steward, implementing conservation measures and assisting land managers in maintaining natural resources in the county. The BCCD provides about $16 of benefits (through its outreach, its grants, its use of volunteers) for every $1 it receives from the county. Instead of encouraging locally based programs like BCCD, Mr. Howard once again says nay.

If elected, I will work towards saving and improving the environment in New Hampshire. For the health of all of us, for the beauty and economic benefit of our natural resources, and for all the generations to come.

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