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When will we start investing in the future of our planet?

Seasons, a kosher market in Pikesville, collects items for victims of Hurricane Harvey to truck down to Houston. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun video)

When will we start investing in the future of our planet? The $15.3 billion approved by Senate for aid to the victims of Harvey ("Senate passes $15.3 billion aid for Harvey relief, debt ceiling increase," Sept. 7) raises the question: how much will the government shoulder in expenses for domestic disaster relief aid in the upcoming decades? We've seen intensifying climate disasters this summer, from hurricanes to wildfires, all of which threaten the the basic necessities of life: access to food, water, and shelter. Relief costs for Hurricane Katrina, one of the most devastating storms to affect our nation, totaled over $110 billion for taxpayers. If the escalating degradation of our environment isn't enough to compel our elected officials to put meaningful work into moving our nation off fossil fuels, perhaps the massive amounts of disaster reparation costs will do it.

Hopefully the one positive outcome of this summer of weather terror is that we start to acknowledge these disasters as a trend of climate change rather than isolated events. Looking ahead, our leaders need to start investing significantly in cutting dirty emissions that are aggravating climate change. Luckily, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has given them the perfect tool to do so. This month she introduced the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act, a bill which proposes to get our nation off fossil fuels and onto 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2035 at the latest. And Maryland's own Rep. Jamie Raskin co-sponsored it. If these aggressive storms continue to rain down on us, we must be aggressive in our response. The OFF Act is an investment in all of our futures, and one that we cannot deny any longer.

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Meg Robbins, Baltimore

The writer is the Maryland organizer for Food & Water Watch.

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