Economy depends on fixing climate change

Regarding your story (Herald, June 26) about President Obama’s climate announcement last week, this is an issue we can no longer hide from in denial. It is important that we tackle climate change now for our future and what we leave behind for our children. This is also very much an economic issue.

I run a small business here in western Colorado that is greatly dependent on the folks that come to visit and enjoy our beautiful state. In Colorado, there is no doubt that we are feeling the effects of climate change firsthand just as are many other places in the country that are experiencing crazy storms.

But here in the arid West, it takes the shape of drought and more and more wildfires every year. Our below average snowpack years are becoming a serious issue. The health of our forests are becoming a serious issue.

Our businesses depend on people coming to visit Colorado for its mountain havens and beautiful recreation opportunities. And, increasingly, our customers are the folks who want to live and work here for the quality of life and access to the outdoors. But if we lose our quality of life, we lose our businesses. That is the one promise that doing nothing about climate change can guarantee us – we will lose our quality of life.

The fires aren’t decreasing any time soon. The drought is becoming the new normal. The impacts of climate change are real, they are tangible, they are here and they are bad for business.

Something needs to be done about climate change and our carbon emissions. Poll after poll shows that this is what the American people want. I ask Rep. Scott Tipton, Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and other local elected officials to start putting energy development on equal ground with conservation of our outdoors, as President Obama said, “We can’t just drill our way out.” We need to do something about climate change – our jobs and futures depend on it.

Arvin Ramgoolam

Crested Butte