Ken Tingley is Editor of The Post-Star in Glens Falls, N.Y. and writes a regular blog called "The Front Page."

I believe we have forgotten what we are capable of accomplishing as a nation.

We’ve forgotten our country can realize big, bold, amazing feats of excellence that stretch human imagination and change the world.

We’ve done it before — more than once.

We built the Panama Canal to link two oceans.

The Manhattan Project unleashed the power of atomic energy — and provided an early end to World War II — by introducing nuclear weapons.

And we landed man on the moon after a frenetic decade of scientific advancement unparalleled in the history of mankind.

These accomplishments were unfathomable at the time, but we did it.

When President John F. Kennedy challenged us to send an American to the moon by the end of the decade, there were no consequences if we failed.

That is not the case with climate change.

This week a young woman, reviled for her energy and can-do way of thinking because she wants to make America better, proposed a “Green New Deal” to essentially save the planet.

She was ridiculed.

She was told the plan was too ambitious.

She was told there was no way it would ever become law.

Considering our nation has no national policy on how to combat climate change, this response seems short-sighted.

The plan was called “absurd” and “zany” by her political opponents.

When did thinking big and bold about solving our nation’s problems become worthy of derision.

Scientists predicted last year we needed to cut our carbon emissions in half by 2030 to avoid the worst of the climate effects such as massive floods, expansive droughts and irreversible sea-level rise.

They also told us climate change is happening faster than originally thought, and it will cost us trillions of dollars in the future.

I believe this is the next great challenge for our country and we need to start addressing it now.

The “Green New Deal” proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Edward J. Markey is moon-shot ambitious and sets a goal to convert 100 percent of power demand in the United States to “clean, renewable and zero-emission energy sources” within 10 years.

Even the most green-friendly advocates believe that is impossible, especially considering the political divide that we continue to face.

It would take a dramatic coming together of the American people like we did during World War II when we changed our economy from making cars to tanks, appliances to ammunition.

In 1941 it took the threat of an overseas enemy to bring us together to save our way of life.

But isn’t that what we face with climate change as well?

The “Green New Deal” initiative is tied to an infrastructure policy that would force us to dramatically change how we live.

We would have to eliminate air travel as we know it and invest in a vast infrastructure of bullet trains to replace it.

We would have to commit to building cars that are electric while giving up fossil fuels and adapting to solar and wind power.

This would all have to happen almost immediately.

We all know it will not.

We all know our country is unwilling to come together at this time.

It is that divide that will prevent us from addressing this problem.

There is no motivation.

There is no agreement the very future of the planet is at risk.

But I do believe this could be the start.

The first steps in drawing a road map to the future.

And that is something.

It is the start we need to have and the discussion that must take place.

Sure, it is impossible, but so was going to the moon.

It’s one small step to save mankind.

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Ken Tingley is the editor of The Post-Star and may be reached via email at tingley@poststar.com. You can read his blog “The Front Page” daily at www.poststar.com or his updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kentingley


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