What a year it has been. In Magnolia and Queen Anne, along with many others in the Pacific Northwest, we experienced extreme heat, wildfire smoke, flooding from “atmospheric rivers” and record-breaking frigid temperatures. Climate change is here, and it is time to prepare for what’s coming while we work on ways to limit further damage caused by extensive fossil fuel use. One particular proposal before the Washington Legislature can move us forward on that path.

Thirty years ago, Washington passed the Growth Management Act to help cities and counties accommodate rapid growth, while protecting vibrant cities, working farms and forests, healthy rivers and mountains and a beautiful rural landscape. But in the face of climate change, the GMA needs an update.

Legislation to do that, H.B. 1099, has been introduced in the Washington State Legislature. It anticipates the need for a new comprehensive climate solution to build more resilient communities throughout the state.

Under HB 1099, cities and counties will be asked to upgrade their land use and transportation planning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build more livable and connected communities that don’t rely exclusively on private car transportation.

In addition, under HB 1099, Washington communities will begin to mitigate and protect against the impacts of a changing climate, including efforts to protect communities from wildfires, drought, landslides, flooding, sea level rise and the heat island effect.

It is important that this legislation pass this year so that Washington counties and cities updating their comprehensive plans starting in 2024 have time to implement these new requirements.

This proposed legislation is supported by several local organizations, including the Audubon Society, the League of Women Voters, the Washington Environmental Council and many others (see http://www.futurewise.org/projects/washington-cant-wait-campaign).

Some time ago, I decided that I would substitute my despair about climate change with efforts to mitigate the impacts — at whatever level I could.

Join me and make your voice heard by contacting your 36th legislative district representatives, Liz Berry, (206) 709-5260, Noel Frame, (206) 962-5098, and Sen. Reuven Carlyle, (360) 786-7670, and asking them to support H.B. 1099.

Laureen France