By Mike Urgo
As early as January 2020 and likely earlier, the US had a chance to get out in front of a virus that is now ravaging our country and doing untold future long term damage to our economy. The intel was available and our top leadership made a choice to ignore the reality of facts and science. Had we followed the truth from the earliest warning signs we may have been spared from the full brunt of this virus and avoided being the country with the most COVID-19 cases in the world.
Some astonishing things have happened over the past month. Many have a newfound and deep appreciation for our emergency responders and front line Dr’s and Nurses. We also see how much we depend on some essential workers like our restaurants, supermarket, and pharmacy employees who are all risking their own health help to serve others. We have seen in this dark hour the talent, compassion, and intelligence of many leaders. Thankfully we have been able to retain some high ranking people of character in our national Government who have led us through the chaos the likes of which we have not seen in over 100 years. Many state Governors including our own Ned Lamont here in CT and Gina Raimondo in RI have shown the moment has not been too big for them. Nationally, Dr. Fauci has become a voice of calm in the storm for many of us. The majority of Americans now see that the science which was initially treated as a "hoax" by US leadership is obviously real and equally terrifying.
It is with hope and conviction that I write this letter to the rest of the globe. Our country over the last three years has in essence thrown science out the window in favor of short term economic gain. We have favored the dying fossil fuel industry over clean green renewables. We have valued corporate profits over individuals. No more can or will this be the case.
In the short time of the pandemic things have become clear. Science does not lie. The effects of manmade climate change are currently on full display for all to see. Cities which were once covered in smog now have clear breathable air since many cars are not being driven and much large scale pollution has stopped. This forced experiment which none of us asked for is producing the visual evidence that those who chose not to believe the scientists needed.
We have proven as a country there are still strong and intelligent leaders in the public and private sector. Our people each day show that as a community we can rise up and be strong in the face of a crisis. I am writing this letter because while this pandemic has us in a situation with a hard stop on the economy and has forced us to stay home to fight it, the next crisis will not be so kind.
We had 2-3 months to prepare for this pandemic and our national leadership fed us incorrect information and chose to deny the science. With climate change the same is happening and the clock is ticking. The results of inaction will unfortunately be much more devastating should we choose to continue to ignore these signs. Rising seas, poisoned water, and climate irregularities that will lead to global disasters and millions of deaths are on the horizon. A changing landscape on earth that none can fathom. No one would have thought what is currently taking place ever would and the same feelings will happen with climate change if action is not taken. Scientists are screaming at us about the facts and many are choosing to ignore them.
Through all of the angst, hope and faith are restored during this current crisis. The US is a democracy and one where our votes and our voices make all of the difference in change for the future. This too shall pass as everyone keeps saying and it will. We have elections in just 7 short months. The rest of the world is counting on the US to be the global leader we have always been. Though we have been short sighted under current leadership it cannot be so by the end of this year. We must listen to science and show the world that we are a nation of compassionate and intelligent humans who favor fact over fiction and value life over profits.
Please do not forget what we have experienced come November 2020. Our planet's future depends on us picking the right path. There are many elections happening all over the country this year. The USA has always been a voice of reason for the globe and a leader of things that are right. We will be-so again and we need each and every person to do their part to make sure of it come November. Vote for the health of our planet this year and reach out to your representatives today to assure they know the vital importance of climate change. We are being told by the experts of the consequences we face. Act today by contacting your State Representatives and act in November with your vote. Our course can be changed and we can avoid the consequences if we act now together for the greater good. Our lives and our children’s lives depend on it.
The writer is the First Selectman (Mayor) of North Stonington CT