The road we are on now creates an existential threat to the very existence of Virginia Beach due to recurrent flooding and sea level rise. NOAA ranks Hampton Roads as having the highest risk from sea level rise along the Atlantic coast, and the second largest at-risk population after New Orleans.
The risk of catastrophic flooding and rising sea level will decrease the value of our homes while increasing insurance premiums. Indeed, some neighborhoods in Hampton Roads are already experiencing a 15% decline in value. Taxes will rise as the city struggles to pay for more and more disaster relief, instead of being able to provide quality education and other services that we have come to expect. Our vibrant city will be devastated.
We can choose another road. We can foster American ingenuity to develop innovative solutions and become a hub of green technology, creating thousands of good paying jobs and boosting our economy while safeguarding our future. With our strategically located port, we have tremendous potential to create a bustling clean energy economy.
The new road we must choose can provide greatly improved public transportation so that each adult in a household does not need a car to get to work. We can demand tax credits for both used and new Electric Vehicles which not only lower carbon emissions, but are cheaper to operate. We can demand tax credits for small scale solar, scaled based on income, so that lower income homes can afford to become energy self sufficient. All these not only lower carbon emissions and slow sea level rise, but also can help lower the cost of living.
We must choose to protect access to clean air and water for all.
We can provide a government that better serves the people by creating term limits and campaign finance reform, as well as protection for access to vote.
The new road we must choose will create equality and fairness for all and will lift us all up together, providing environmental justice for underserved communities which are most likely to suffer the consequences of environmental degradation.
Two roads: the one we choose will make all the difference.