Letter to Congressman Stephen Lynch


Maeve Lawler, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Dear Congressman Stephen Lynch, 

“Our house is on fire,” climate activist, Greta Thunberg, once told her audience at the World Economic Forum in 2019. I write to relay this same message on behalf of humanity’s future, as climate change is an undeniable truth the world is faced with, worsened by the actions of various industries across the globe. 

An article published by the Pulitzer Center and NPR entitled, “How a Beloved Gemstone Became a Symbol of Environmental Tragedy in Myanmar,” by Emily Fishbein and Aung Myat Lamung, uncovers how mining for jade gemstones has amounted to tragedy for Myanmar’s northernmost Kachin state, Hpakant. On July 2, 2020, the side of a mining site in Hpakant collapsed, killing approximately 200 people. Hpakant’s natural environment has endured decades of destruction in order to export jade gemstones worth billions of dollars. Lahtaw Kai Ring, a mother of six and previous jade miner in the area, recalls the once-clear streams that flowed through the township are now dirtied with debris from mines. She says, “Hpakant’s environment is destroyed.” 

The root of Myanmar’s environmental crisis lies within the malpractices of gemstone mining industries; however, the government is struggling to enact reform, as this industry is dominated by Myanmar’s military. Just as the Myanmar government struggles to save its environment from domineering mining companies, America’s government struggles to save its environment from its oil and natural gas industries. 

America is the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas, contributing to 15% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2018. The US must make climate change an issue of monumental importance and take constructive action for the health of our nation and the world. We must minimize oil and gas production to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and simultaneously enact policies to prevent the worsening impacts of climate change–with a unique focus on regions of America that suffer the most from the effects of climate change. Such policies can include carbon taxation, directly regulating greenhouse emissions from vehicles and companies, and funding scientific research in order to continue developing innovative technologies that utilize renewable energy. As a nation, we must shatter our dependence on fossil fuels and drastically reduce our emissions by collaborating with energy companies that utilize alternate forms of energy. By reducing the nation’s fossil fuel consumption and dependence, along with enacting an array of robust climate policies, the US can lead and cooperate with the international community to address this issue of colossal importance. 

As a congressman, you have a platform to initiate systemic change. I am asking you to use this platform to effectively treat the disease of climate change that plagues our nation and world. 


Maeve Lawer

SHS Class of 2021