On Martha’s Vineyard, the critical work of addressing the global climate crisis is already well underway. Sea level rise and increasingly powerful storms are threats Islanders know we must take seriously. So far our efforts have included supporting offshore wind farms and solar panel expansion, developing a local food system, and banning single-use plastics. We have been actively planning, strengthening and retreating from our more vulnerable coastlines. Island towns have enacted municipal vulnerability preparedness programs that are supported by a $2.4 billion appropriation bill recently signed by Gov. Charlie Baker. The Vineyard Transit Authority has a goal for a full fleet of 30 electric buses by 2025.

But with global carbon pollution at all-time highs, local and state responses alone aren’t enough to address the problem. We will also need national and international cooperation and action. On Dec. 10, my family and I traveled to Washington, D.C., where we joined a thousand other Sunrise Movement members to petition our legislators for a Green New Deal. The idea in part is to mobilize a workforce to upgrade our nation’s infrastructure as we simultaneously address climate change by quickly moving away from fossil fuels.

The Green New Deal proposal is analogous to many past national efforts to transform the country. I’m encouraged and confident that if we all take on the challenges of solving the climate crisis, it will provide us opportunities to create new well-paying jobs, clean up past pollution, repair fragile ecosystems, advance technologies, increase economic prosperity and, most of all, save future generations from dealing with a planet that may not be habitable.

I also believe that solving the climate crisis will bring us back into balance with the natural processes that aid carbon sequestration. It will also give us a chance to right some of the egregious injustices of our past and present, moving us toward a more equitable world.

In response to the activism, 31 U.S. Representatives signed on to supporting a select committee to draft a Green New Deal, joining the dozen already committed. Seven of the nine Massachusetts U.S. Representatives and Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey support this new deal.

Just after Christmas, incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi officially established a select committee on the climate crisis. It is incumbent upon the voting public to show support and push their elected officials to make this effort a success. As the committee’s appointed chairman, Rep. Kathy Castor of Florida, said: “Failure is not an option.”

The problem of deep political divide could also be solved by addressing climate change. A recent poll from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication shows that a Green New Deal shares broad bipartisan support. In an age of considerable partisanship, it is the most bipartisan topic today. The poll showed that a clear majority of both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans support the deal.

What all this says to me is that we may finally be ready, as a society and a global civilization, to take on this massive issue. Over the coming weeks, months, and years, as activism continues to grow a t state and federal levels, I hope there will also be a doubling down on the Island about what we can do to address the issue locally as well as abroad. Now is our time to act. Talk to your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, fellow community members, and summer visitors alike about what more we can do to transition away from carbon-based energy. To learn more about the Sunrise Movement, visit sunrisemovement.org.

Ben Robinson

Vineyard Haven