It’s rare to hear Oregon mentioned in the world of international diplomacy, in the company of the world’s largest nations. Yet here we are. Next month, Governor Kate Brown will represent the state of Oregon in a meeting of nations. She and other west coast governors are invited to the worldwide summit on climate change, as the face of American leadership on clean energy and climate protection.

It’s up to states like Oregon to lead. The world is taking notice.

We can be proud our state has taken steps recently with innovative laws to reduce to climate pollution -- the root cause of global warming. We’re beginning to clean up the fuels we use to get around, as well as the power running through the electric wires. But we’re not done.

Next year, our state legislature will take up an extraordinary bill called Clean Energy Jobs (SB 1070). Ten years of work by legislators and advocates, and special attention to solidifying the details of the bill last session, have led to a policy that will create jobs all over our state in the clean energy economy, give more people access to renewable power and money-saving improvements to homes and small businesses, and better transportation options.

The bill will require the state’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases to pay a fee for what they’re putting into our shared atmosphere. The proceeds collected will go to projects in our communities like helping homeowners pay for solar power, businesses improve energy efficiency, farmers install better irrigation equipment and bring transit to rural communities.

All my life I’ve used science and facts and kept a strong faith in God. I see protecting our environment as necessary by faith and by logic. God calls upon us to protect His creation; Pope Francis’ encyclical noted that the climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all.”  Having worked for many years as a chemist, I am appalled by the outright rejection by the federal administration of the facts on climate change, an issue that long ago achieved consensus among the scientific community.

The situation is dire, but not hopeless. The Oregon Legislature has an historic opportunity in 2018. The Clean Energy Jobs bill is the result of years of work finding the right fit for Oregon and represents an opportunity for our state to be a leader in protecting creation. The bill already has the support of more than 30 legislators in Salem. Governor Kate Brown stated that we must pass the Clean Energy Jobs bill in 2018.”

So let’s do it; let’s follow the guidance of Pope Francis’ encyclical to preserve a healthy climate for our us, our kids, and theirs. My heart tells me this is the right thing to do; my mind tells me that we must -- before it’s too late.

Ryan-Hotchkiss is a retired chemist living in Portland, Oregon. She and her husband Manny, a retired mechanical engineer, attended the March for Science while traveling in New Orleans.