From raging wildfires in the West to historic “100-year floods” in the East, the extreme weather events of this summer have offered us a glimpse into the hazardous future that climate change will bring. Pennsylvania has experienced 37 extreme weather events in the past decade, costing the state up to $10 billion in damages. These events impact public health, causing more deaths related to heat and respiratory ailments, disruptions to agricultural systems, and increased prevalence of disease and pests. Climate change is a public health, economic, and infrastructure emergency.
“Whether you’re considering the negative impacts of pollutants on the air that our children breathe, or the way that carbon pollution contributes to life-threatening storms, heat waves, and floods, acting on climate is about protecting people,” stated Physician for Social Responsibility Pennsylvania’s (PSRPA) Executive Director Tonyehn Verkitis. As such, on August 30, PSRPA hosted an event with local leaders, including Congressman Matt Cartwright PA-08 and Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown, to rally support for a major infrastructure bill and budget, the Build Back Better Budget (BBBB), that would make bold investments into building a more resilient energy grids, addressing environmental injustice, and reducing the carbon pollution driving dangerous and extreme weather events in our communities.
“Flooding in our area is only going to get more frequent and intense due to climate change, and that means we have to act now to protect lives, livelihoods, homes and businesses in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Congressman Matt Cartwright. “That’s why I’m working in Congress to pass a major infrastructure bill and a budget bill that will help put people to work on further strengthening our levee systems, and make investments in clean transportation and energy. For our public safety and public health, let’s invest in modern, clean, and extreme weather-ready infrastructure.”