When the 2021 Maryland General Assembly session kicked off on January 13, CBF hit the ground running to advocate for passage of the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2021 (SB 414/HB 583). We reached out to our advocates, Clean Water Captains, and Student Leaders, urging them to reach out to their legislators to show their support for this critical legislation.
The Climate Solutions Now Act that will move Maryland’s greenhouse gas reduction mandate to net neutral by 2045, invest resources in overburdened communities, protect fossil fuel workers, and enact simple, effective policies to reduce and mitigate our emissions including: planting 5 million trees by 2030, with 500,0000 to be planted in underserved urban communities in Maryland.
Trees are a critical component in efforts to save the Bay and fight climate change. They do the hard work of filtering our air and water for free as well as reducing carbon emissions. Planting more of them fights climate change and beautifies our communities.
CBF Student Leaders from across Maryland came out en masse to show their support for the Climate Solutions Now Act. Here is what they had to say to their state legislators:
“I understand with so many pressing issues such as COVID-19 relief, economic stimulus, and racial justice, climate change can be overlooked and since it is a long-term problem, people think it can wait. However, climate change is very time sensitive, and if we don’t act now, species, ecosystems, and opportunities will be gone forever. This act is critical in protecting Maryland and nation environmentally, economically, and socially.” —Kailie Park
"I only moved to Maryland a few years ago. Before that, I lived in Florida and Puerto Rico, where I often witnessed the detrimental effects of climate change on my community. Hurricanes that tore down trees and houses, floods, and extreme heat were all part of my childhood experience. Everyone in my generation has grown up watching natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey in Houston and the terrifying wildfires in California. The Chesapeake Bay is our national treasure and it’s calling for our help. We have to step up and protect it, so that other generations can enjoy everything the bay has to offer. Though I’m not originally from here, I have visited the Chesapeake Bay nearly every summer since I was kid. It was a part of my childhood experience just as much as hurricanes were and keeping our bay clean for everyone is important to me and so many others who love the bay and the animals who inhabit it...We need you to support the Climate Solutions Now Act and pave the way for environmental reform. Solutions need to start somewhere, but it is the role of our government to enact those solutions." —Hannah Fox
“If we do not take the necessary action to combat climate change, we will soon lose this gift to sea level rise, erosion, and pollution. I cannot bear to see this happen and I am going to fight in whatever way I can to prevent this. All I ask is for you to support the Climate Solutions Now Act, which will bring us one step closer in curbing climate change together.” —Sophia Liang
"Through my school’s Global Ecology Studies Program and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) student leadership program, I have had the opportunity to spend time at CBF’s education centers on different islands in the Chesapeake Bay. My experiences on these island education centers have taught me hands-on the importance of protecting the environment and the fishing communities who are impacted by shifting climates. However, these opportunities are disappearing as the climate crisis worsens. These small islands in the Chesapeake Bay are extremely prone to the impacts of the climate crisis. In 2019, I was a part of the last student leadership group to stay at CBF’s Fox Island education center. Due to erosion and the island’s land mass eroding away, it is no longer safe to host the education center there. If nothing is done to address the climate crisis, opportunities like these will continue to disappear. The Climate Solutions Now Act will help protect these opportunities and our community for future generations." —Lillian Hsu
“Nature is not a privilege. It is a right. Socioeconomic class, race, ethnicity, and location must not undermine these rights. The Climate Solutions Now Act of 2021 will ensure that all residents of Maryland can benefit equally from this major step along the road towards a healthier environment for everyone.” — Emma Bisson
“This is an extremely important bill, which needs to be passed this year. While there are many issues which seem more pressing such as pandemic relief, economic stimulus, and racial justice, climate change is not only just as important, it is also extremely time sensitive. If we don’t take strong action to address climate change within Maryland now, there will be irreversible consequences. Some of the consequences include the rising of sea levels, erosion, and pollution, which will degrade our outdoor green spaces. Local areas like the C&O canal and ones further away such as Fox Island will begin to lose their charm and become inaccessible, as Fox Island became in 2019 after suffering from erosion and sea level rise.” —Connor Ransom
“As a student, I had amazing experiences on small islands in the Bay, like Smith Island and Port Isobel Island. As the results of decades of environmental harm come to be realized, these islands and other natural places in Maryland will slip away, and many students will lose the opportunity to have wonderful experiences in nature.” —Chris Stallard