With the laying to rest of President George H.W. Bush and first lady Barbara Bush, Maine lost two remaining members of America’s Greatest Generation: men and women who grew up during the Great Depression and who helped America win World War II. At first there was concern whether America would even enter the war. While war raged, prominent Americans, including aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh, called for American isolationism.

After Japan attacked us at Pearl Harbor, we found our shared resolve and our strength. Despite a late start, the Greatest Generation’s contribution to the war effort was ultimately decisive. Sen. Angus King recalled Winston Churchill’s exasperated admiration for America, quoting his line: “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – only after they have tried everything else.”

Now America faces its greatest challenge in another global confrontation – climate change. The news is alarming and the science is clear – our climate is changing, it’s bad and it’s us.

There is a revenue-neutral solution – carbon fee and dividend – which puts a price on carbon and returns it to all Americans in a monthly check. This could fix our climate, save lives, strengthen Maine’s economy and put more money in the pockets of most Mainers.

This plan has been introduced as bipartisan legislation in both the U.S. House on Nov. 27 (HR 7173) and the U.S. Senate on Dec. 19. This is just the beginning. All of us in Maine can join Citizens’ Climate Lobby in supporting Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, Rep. Chellie Pingree and Rep.-elect Jared Golden in getting this legislation passed.

In honor of George and Barbara Bush and all of our Greatest Generation, in our time, we too must be counted on to do the right thing.

Edward Pontius

Portland