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Editorial & Opinion

Greg Gerritt’s State of the Union



Hello, I am Greg Gerritt, a Green Party member since 1984 and a resident of Rhode Island. The State of the Union is fragile, threatened by three interconnected issues, the expansion of the war machine, growing inequality, and climate change.

When the President and the Congress borrow money to give tax breaks to billionaires and prop up the fossil fuel industries and the war machine, while more kids go hungry, we deport dreamers, and the storms get fiercer, you know we are going in the wrong direction.

For seventy years the United States has sent its military to kill around the world and protect the fossil fuel industries. It has funneled arsenals to people who then turn them against us and their own communities. These wars have made us the most disliked country on the planet, broken our budget, harmed our communities and their economies, and contributed to instability around the world with wars and climate change creating failed states and record numbers of refugees.

To Make America Great Again we must close all American military bases in other countries, reduce the size of the US military by at least 50 percent, stop inciting wars, and eliminate our nuclear weapons. If we offer to eliminate our weapons, it would make negotiating with other countries to reduce and eliminate their nuclear arsenals much easier.

The quest to stop climate change and reinvigorate the ecosystems all people depend upon only works if it is based on justice as well as good science. Decentralizing the power system and only using non polluting power sources will clean the air of the pollutants that kill directly as well as the CO2 that kills down the road. It is a good place to start. Recently we have been reminded that we need to get to zero carbon emissions by 2035 if we are going to be able to grow enough food for 9 billion of us and survive the storms and droughts. That means we stop building any new fossil fuel infrastructure. We will not get to zero in 20 years if we build fossil fuel power plants with 40 year life expectancies.

Can we please ask a favor?

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The money we redirect by massively reducing what we now spend on war and polluting the planet could be used to improve American infrastructure, provide health care for every American, eliminate all use of fossil fuels by 2035 and help every American find a right livelihood.

It is time for the government to move in the direction the people have been moving towards for years. Towards Justice and peaceful, healthy communities on a healthy planet.

Ecology, Equality, Democracy, Peace. That is what will make American a Great Country.

The Administrator of the Environment Council of Rhode Island, Greg Gerritt leads the RI Compost Initiative, for which received a 2012 EPA Region 1 Merit Award, is the watershed steward for, and founder of, Friends of the Moshassuck, and helped found the Green Party of the United States and the Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island.