It is rare to see a local interest mobilize so effectively on a global issue as the Potowatomi Indian Tribe has for climate change.
Tribal Attorney General Jeff Crawford said the support will include a media campaign to support the legislation as well as a lobbying effort as lawmakers consider it. Gov. Jim Doyle helped unveil the “Clean Energy Jobs Act” earlier this week.
“The more people are detached from the environment, the more they become a user and not a protector, and they don’t understand the balance that is necessary,” Crawford tells WisPolitics in a new interview. “You cannot continue to use all of the resources without it having a negative impact. People need to be able to understand it’s a good idea to close the door, turn off the light, insulate your house and that would be good for you in terms of your pocketbook. It would also be good for the environment.”
Crawford said the tribe has a longstanding connection to the environment and a long held belief in that connection. It’s part of the reason why the tribe has been trying to implement more green policies in its various businesses.
Obviously, the worst effects of climate change will negatively impact every corner of the earth. It’s important for Americans and localities to take responsibility for this issue and not leave it up to national and international governance. Although the latter will be the most effective, the process of enacting meaningful change at that level is often slow and arduous. The American system of de-centralized government allows for states and cities to, excuse the cliché, be the laboratories for change.
Granted, it might be tough convincing Americans to pay attention to the Powatomi when ignoring the pleas of Native Americans is one of our nation’s favorite pastimes – it’s what this country was built on.