This year’s Summer vacation has been spent working my way around my old stomping grounds visiting family and friends in Florida, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Connecticut and New York.  And it hasn’t just been a vacation, it has been an education.

Last week, I was on the New Jersey Shore watching dolphins play in the surf at dusk, a scene at stark odds with the images of destruction post-Hurricane Sandy.  Yesterday, I was told that the lazy Summer rain I watched from inside a quiet New England house had actually spawned tornadoes that led to power outages and flooding. Tornadoes? I am fairly certain my only exposure to a tornado as a kid was the one in the Wizard of Oz.  For our generation, it seems, tornadoes have become a regular occurrence. So too, drought. Right now, it’s 130 degrees in Death Valley. I guess Mother Nature is like all mothers, a repository of gifts and nurturing but when she has a lesson to teach, capable of being swift and harsh. 

As we sat on the beach, we had to acknowledge that something is happening with the climate. Yes, it could be part of a natural warming cycle but whether you attribute the wild swings in weather to a naturally occurring phenomenom or neglect, the evidence of climate change is hard to ignore. 

A highlight of my travels was a conversation I had with a volunteer for a climate change organization in which she essentially said, “What part of you is a Republican?”  The answer is my core belief that once people are doing well, the chances of them having the time and interest in doing good are that much greater. We just have to do a better job encouraging people, who are dialing out because they’re so turned off by the fight, to dial back in. To take a piece of it and effect change. 

The challenge for our generation is to effect change from the outside in. To remind Washington that these goals do not have to be mutually exclusive or more relevantly, party exclusive. With the exception of President Obama’s press conference on reducing carbon emissions last week, the conversations around environmental change are winding down to a slow din.  Why do Republicans cede progress on the environment to the other side? It just makes us look like we have our heads buried in the sand. And by the way, those sandy beaches may be eroding. 

Doesn’t it seem like one of the solutions to bridging the gap between the parties is to include big business, not alienate them, when addressing concerns like healthcare reform and now climate change? Our future as Americans lies in solutions where we all have a seat at the table. Demonizing the successful, saddling them with unfunded federal mandates and stifling job creation will only stifle our progress as a nation. The answer lies in our shared concerns. 

According to the New York Times, 

“Nearly two-thirds think the EPA should cap emissions in existing power plants, including 86 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of Republicans.”

These concerns are not party driven. They are observations from a generation that embraces fitness and the outdoor life. Our earth isn’t the domain of one party or the other. Lots of successful businessman escape the office by throwing a line and fishing in pristine waters. So do many of our legislators who may need to escape the choke hold that special interests have on them.  

ModerateMoms needs to create a safe haven to do what’s right. And to create a safe place in the center where reasonable conversations can be held on difficult topics that concern us all.