I grew up in Washington and have lived here most of my life. The smoke and fires are so much worse than they were earlier in my life. This year we experienced one of the worst fire seasons on record. Washingtonians are dead, homes are destroyed and hazardous levels of smoke make the world look apocalyptic. It is clear that climate change is here. We are facing a climate emergency and need to respond accordingly.

The Washington state Legislature should immediately pass a carbon tax to reduce our emissions across the state. British Columbia passed a carbon tax in 2008. Twelve years in, the results are clear — it has been an effective way to reduce carbon emissions.

The Legislature should also cancel all planned highway expansion projects statewide as transportation makes up 40% of our state’s carbon emissions. Building more highways is the opposite of what we need to do.

If we do not take action now, imagine how fire season will look in 2030 or 2040 as the temperature continues to rise. We cannot afford to wait any longer to act.

Zach Nostdal, Seattle