Alex Cornell du Houx

During my service in Iraq and Afghanistan, I came face-to-face with the climate crisis.

During a routine patrol, a roadside bomb exploded and hit my HUMVEE. As the dust cleared, we checked our limbs and, through quick action, we caught the assailant as he tried to escape. Fortunately for us, the military-age man was not well trained, and most of the blast missed our vehicle.

After securing the area, we started our investigation. We soon learned that he was a farmer with little or no explosives experience. There was a record-setting drought driven by climate change and his crops had failed. Vulnerable, he had been turned into a terrorist paid to attack Americans.

Water scarcity and crops failing are directly linked to the ever-increasing droughts across the globe, and if we fail to address the climate crisis, this will only continue to drive conflict and instability.

Today, on a daily basis, millions of people around the globe, including those right here in Maine, face the dangers of the climate crisis. From rising temperatures to extreme weather events linked to human-made climate change, this crisis imperils our security, both abroad and at home.

As president of Elected Officials to Protect America — a network of elected officials who care deeply about protecting our planet and creating solutions to the climate crisis — I firmly believe our nation needs bold solutions to address climate change and the pollution that is driving it.

The climate crisis is a national security threat, which the Department of Defense and other national security experts have also recognized. Recently, over 100 lawmakers who are veterans and frontline leaders attended a White House summit on the climate crisis, urging for a National Climate Plan and Emergency Declaration Order to address the climate emergency.

Congress, however, also has an essential role to play in delivering on climate action. The recently introduced Build Back Better Act is an important first step in delivering on President Joe Biden’s stated goal of a 50-52% reduction in carbon pollution by 2030. Scientists already tell us that this goal is necessary to address the worsening impacts of the climate crisis.

From Maine’s forests to coasts, climate change is harming our state. Northern Maine is in the middle of a drought, which this past summer was tough on industries across the state. If we fail to act on climate, our state’s iconic lobster industry will be devastated due to rapid warming in the Gulf of Maine. Meanwhile, coastal cities like Portland will only continue to experience increasingly frequent and severe flooding, harming families and businesses.

The BBBA, thankfully, includes one of the best solutions to climate change: clean energy. Maine is already committed to building out a thriving offshore wind industry, and companies are already investing in clean solar energy. Bold climate investments will only support our state’s transition to clean energy, creating the infrastructure needed to support wind and solar energy. Additionally, the BBBA would support sustainable agriculture practices like aquaponic farming, helping to preserve our state’s resources.

Passing the BBBA is not just essential, but also the popular thing to do. In fact, a poll of Maine’s 2nd congressional district found that voters supported passing bold investments to tackle climate change and create energy jobs by a whopping 60-40% margin.

It is critical that our state’s leaders, including my own Congressman Jared Golden, continue to push for solutions that will fight climate change and support Maine’s growing clean energy sector. As a fellow Marine veteran, I know Congressman Golden understands the risks to our economic and national security if we do not take urgent action.

The BBBA is critical to addressing the scale of the climate crisis, and Maine’s members of Congress must deliver on its passage.

Alex Cornell du Houx is a Marine combat veteran, a former Maine state lawmaker, and president of Elected Officials to Protect America, a network of current and former elected officials committed to climate action. He lives in Solon.


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