We are still having the wrong conversation. Instead of reframing and reimagining what this state could be, so many of us are being pigeonholed into believing that oil and gas is all we have ever been and all we will ever be.

While yes, I was born and reared in Louisiana, proudly so, and while yes, I come from a family of uncles and great uncles, neighbors and friends who have earned their living in the oil and gas industries, I can still envision a healthier, happy and just Louisiana.

Oil and gas, petrochemical and utility companies are all looking ahead. If they are not investing in alternative energy in the U.S., they are doing so abroad, while abiding by stricter environmental rules and regulations that do not poison the people who live there.

Should they find themselves in violation of the demands set up by the communities around them, many of these companies plant their roots anew in Louisiana because they know we are stuck going in circles, talking about the past that was, instead of recognizing that the majority of the world has accepted, backed by science and data, that climate change is real.

And they are planning and acting in accordance with that reality, drumming up their demands for how they want to their workers to be made whole both during and after this transition off oil and gas, how they want to be equitably paid, how they want to be treated and how they want their communities to look. We could do that, too.

But first, we have to stop having the same conversations. Our oil and gas heyday is over. What's next?

ANGELLE BRADFORD

volunteer leader

Baton Rouge