Last summer many of us were inside for days because of smoke from wildfires, and my medical colleagues were caring for children struggling to breathe under the smoke-filled skies that climate change has brought to the Pacific Northwest.

On May 17, The Seattle Times published an editorial criticizing Gov. Jay Inslee for “flip-flopping” when he pulled support from a natural gas project in Tacoma. The project, it claimed, will create jobs and cut emissions. But natural gas is a fossil fuel, and its extraction entails leakage of methane, a greenhouse gas 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide in its first 20 years.

The United Nations report on climate change released last October stated that to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, “far-reaching and unprecedented changes” need to be made in the next decade.

Because of this urgency, we need to put our health and the planet’s health ahead of short-term economic gain. People are already suffering with health problems connected with climate change. Climate change is a public-health crisis and we need to start acting accordingly.

Margaret Kitchell, Seattle