The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sent a shot across the bow of state and national economies dependent upon extractive industries to provide a tax base.

The report says, “Climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet. Human-induced warming has already reached about 1°C (1.8°F) above pre-industrial levels at the time of writing of this Special Report... If the current warming rate continues, the world would reach human-induced global warming of 1.5°C around 2040.”

The Wyoming Legislature needs to take Governor Mead’s ENDOW effort and this report and begin thinking about Wyoming’s future untethered to extractive industry interests and their monetary influence.

Wishful thinking???

Politics as usual will extend Wyoming’s economic dependence, no, servitude, to coal and natural gas. In 20 years the error of our ways will be patently obvious, and the Gen Z in high school today will just shake their heads at current elected representatives beholding to extractive industry money. The representatives will be forgotten - their legacy won’t be.

There needs to be a changing of the guard. Current national political frenzy is pushing more and more of us from Democratic or Republican party identification - we are becoming Independents!!!

I don’t know where the locus/center of this Wyoming effort will emerge, or who will lead it. What I do know is that until Wyoming charts a future independent of extractive industry money the State will become increasingly impoverished and government unable to achieve its mission.

It’ll be hard for us to envision a future where we build on Wyoming’s people and beauty. But this is our future’s foundation. Find the young leaders who see beyond coal and natural gas, who actually try to see beyond the money. Vote them into office.

Jeffrey J. Olson


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