Elections make one thing clear. While Democrats and Republicans alike cite "our common American values” as if they are ubiquitous and uniform, how we implement those values takes divergent forms.
For example, many people support STEM education with its emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math, but then we refuse to act on the conclusions of the trained and respected professionals in those fields. Politics often sway us from choosing the path of least destruction.
If legislation were proposed that benefited farmers, created new private sector markets, included government transparency, improved public health, and encouraged voluntary practices that serve the environment, most of us would nod our heads in support.
If you are a Republican and agree, compliment Indiana Senator Mike Braun; if you are a Democrat and agree, compliment Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow. Strange as it may seem in today’s political climate, the pair of opposites attracted by the same values have co-sponsored legislation that checks off all those favorable boxes.
The Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2020, also introduced with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), would solve technical entry barriers for farmers and foresters who want to implement sustainable practices and participate in carbon markets.
With action to address climate change being imperative for our national well-being, there are many farmers and foresters who want to participate in making a better future while making a profit. The Act would create a certification program at USDA to facilitate a market-based system with carbon credits to finance improvements in their practices, such as capturing methane gas from livestock and reforestation.
Red and blue agree. Per Senator Braun, the Act will “monetize the climate value of their sustainable practices...(and) ensure that the certification program remains relevant, credible, and responsive to the needs of farmers, forest landowners, and carbon market participants alike.” Stabenow notes, ""Our bipartisan bill is a win-win for farmers, our economy, and our environment by providing new economic opportunities to store carbon while also addressing the climate crisis.”
A similar Act introduced in the House (H.R.330-116th Congress, 2019-2020) still awaits endorsement from Congresswoman Jackie Walorski. Whlile she frequently purports to support STEM on her website, in social media, and in political mailings, Walorski remains mum and does not reply to inquiries asking her stand on the House version. If the regional US Senators can get their Act together, hopefully our regional US Representatives can, too.
Thanks go to the elected officials who support the respective Growing Climate Solutions Acts, and to the farmers, ranchers, and foresters who would implement the practices it promotes.