Fast forward five years and imagine the Montana of 2024: We have shown the nation how a rural state can build broad public support for fighting climate change. In fact, turning back the crisis of climate change is a plank in the platform of all political parties, which means all of our decision-makers and candidates prioritize it (or don’t, at their peril), and they’re working together to fight it.

The state of Montana in 2024 also has new policies and programs in place transitioning us to a clean energy economy. And folks are keenly aware of the thriving economic value of our world-famous outdoor heritage.

This isn’t some wild, out-of-reach fantasy. It is a very real vision for our state. It is the vision of Montana Conservation Voters.

This week, MCV celebrates its 20th anniversary. We’ve had a strong record of success over the last two decades. We’ve endorsed and helped elect strong leaders who know our clean air and clean water aren’t partisan issues. We’ve ensured that the debate over public access to our public lands--and the tens of thousands of Montana jobs that rely on them—remains front and center. And we have never been afraid of holding accountable the decision-makers who don’t share those values.

MCV’s members across Montana rely on us for information about the work and records of their elected representatives in Helena and in Washington, D.C. And those lawmakers rely on us for information about what their constituents expect.

But as we celebrate this milestone birthday, we’re looking ahead to our future. The next five years are MCV’s most urgent.

By 2030, Glacier National Park is expected to lose its namesake attraction due to rising temperatures. Montana farmers and ranchers are already changing their business models to anticipate the impacts of uncertain weather and crop yields. Our wildlife are migrating and our fish are dying off. And more of our families, especially our children, are suffering from dirty air.

None of these things should ever be acceptable in the last best place, or anywhere else on Earth. In the years ahead we’ll do our part by helping transition Montana to a clean energy economy.

We’ll do that by what we do best: By engaging as many Montanans as we can—especially younger Montanans and folks in communities directly affected by climate change; by working with all candidates and elected leaders who understand that a cleaner future is a future with good jobs; by speaking truth to power when our elected leaders forget about the people they’re supposed to serve.

We’ll do it by pulling people together—by rising above partisan politics and by standing up for our changing climate the same way we’ve successfully stood up for our public lands.

Thank you, Montana, for giving us a home for the last 20 years. It’s a home worth fighting for.

Aaron Murphy, of Billings, is the executive director of Montana Conservation Voters.