I am a lifelong Maryland resident and a Junior at the University of Maryland. Growing up, I was encouraged by influential citizens to appreciate our environment. I recall that on Earth Day our "Outdoor Education" class in middle school gave us trees to plant in our backyard. Maryland schools taught us to be stewards of our environment and appreciate its natural beauty. However, Maryland public policy does not seem to reflect this value.
I believe Maryland should and can do more to fight against the imminent threat of climate change. The State of Maryland could set an aggressive goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions using practical policy already at the state's disposal. The Climate Crisis and Education Act (SB 76 and HB 33) promises to be one such policy solution to reduce greenhouse gas output by putting a price on carbon and raise revenue for schools and vulnerable communities.
Maryland has one of the longest shorelines in the country consisting of riparian zones needed for the Bay's ecological health. But air pollution threatens the Bay, along with the health and wellness of vulnerable residents of our state--the elderly, children and people of color who live near highways and emissions producing manufacturing plants. The Climate Crisis and Education Act would be the first carbon pricing bill in the country and would set our state apart in the fight against climate change. Revenues from this innovative solution would provide funding for our schools, fund construction of resilient green infrastructure, and hold up low and moderate-income families from the disproportionate effects on their communities due to climate change.
This legislation is scheduled for a hearing in the House Economic Matters Committee of the Maryland General Assembly. Passing the Climate Crisis and Education Act would be a significant step forward for Maryland and would show how serious our legislators are about finding solutions to solve big problems. The State of Maryland would leave an indelible mark in efforts to combat climate change through innovative economic-based solutions and could lead other states to follow suit.