Disaster affects us all. When the smoke from wildfires makes its way into the Walla Walla Valley, all of our health is at risk, but even more endangered are those without homes or those who can’t afford health precautions or those who have no choice but to do outdoor labor all day.

Slow moving change and damage to our environment also affects us all. Slow moving change to the environment is going to disturb the whole economy of Walla Walla, making waves in the social and cultural fabric of this community. Band-Aid solutions to weather change will not hold up forever, and the ability to grow crops that are trademarks of this Valley may vanish: The grapes that make wine, the wheat that decorates rolling hills, and so on.

Walla Walla must look towards the future of this Valley’s children, jobs and geography. Windmills are already interspersed amongst the wheat fields; Walla Walla Community College is doing research with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation on the water and ecosystems that are vital to this Valley; the CTUIR is doing awe-inspiring work with native plant species and salmon.

But in order for us to tackle the causes and effects of climate change head-on, we need systemic change powered by our community, facilitated by our local businesses, and supported by our representatives through lawmaking. This is the Green New Deal that would set the premise to create new jobs that strengthen the economy of the Walla Walla Valley, improve the health of our community members, and give our environment a better chance at longevity and stability.

Alejandra Wait

 Walla Walla

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