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WA Women Ask Senators for Strong Climate Policy

November 2, 2009

SEATTLE - Women are weighing in on the issue of climate change. Members of the League of Women Voters (LWV) visited Congress last week to speak on behalf of other women - those in poor nations where changing climate and weather patterns are affecting farms and families. They made a case for looking beyond U.S. borders and offering to help Third World countries adapt to the changes.

Linnea Hirst, LWV president for Washington state, was part of the group. She wants her nation to set a good example.

"You can argue that China's making more pollution these days, and so is India. But we cannot say, 'We won't do it unless they do it.' We need to be the leader. We've been the world leader in so many ways, and we need to be the moral leader here."

In a packed meeting room, they also listened to part of the Senate committee hearings on climate change legislation. A number of industry leaders testified they will not be able to afford the technology to clean up plants and factories. Hirst says they can't afford not to.

"This is a global economy. If we do not get our industries clean, other countries will do it for us. We will lose out technologically and, therefore, we will lose out economically - and we will lose jobs."

The group met with several senators and their staffs, including Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray of Washington. Hirst says they discussed climate change as a source of increasing tension and instability in the world that can threaten national security. They also shared economic and moral reasons for creating a strong climate policy.

The tour was part of "Sisters on the Planet," a program sponsored by Oxfam America.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA