As a lung specialist in Spokane for the last 29 years, I have seen firsthand the adverse health effects of the burning of fossil fuels. Our reliance on non-renewable sources of energy is a public health risk. As a result, temperatures rise and air quality dwindles, and we see an increase in asthma and COPD flares, increased rates of lung disease, poor cardiovascular health and other illnesses.
As was pointed out in the Spokesman-Review on July 29 (“Excessive Heat Watch…”) and in a letter to the editor on July 28 (“Beat the Heat,” R. MacMullen), we are facing rising temperatures and the dangers to our health and environment that go with them. Spokane has the opportunity to mandate a rapid transition to 100 percent renewable energy and to reap the health benefits of doing so.
The city of Spokane can become a powerful leader in protecting its population from the risks of dirty energy production. Let’s encourage our city leaders to act positively toward a local solution to a global problem, one that we can effectively influence here in our own domain. On August 20, Spokane City Council members may be voting on the city resolution that moves to meet all of Spokane’s electricity needs with 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.
I encourage everyone to attend this City Council meeting at 6 p.m. so we can show council members how important this is to us. Let’s support Initiative 350 and help improve the health of our city and its inhabitants.
Dr. Sam Joseph, member of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility