Millennials Must Lead the Way for Climate Change!
Updated: Jul 13, 2020
My millennial daughter and I have always talked about government and politics because her elementary school years were spent with me away from home on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings to attend work sessions and city council meetings. Even today, whenever I drive by her elementary school, I get a tinge of pride because I worked with a fellow council member and the school board to get the new school built for the town and Madeline was fortunate to attend that school. We spent many hours discussing a myriad of topics so she would understand why decisions like bringing a big box store into town was necessary since the budget to run places she used regularly like the recreation center must be paid for by sales taxes. Or that making parks and trails a budget priority helped improve the cohesion of the community and the value of properties. Even now the economic development plan I helped develop is taking shape and Silverthorne is becoming more than a gas stop on the way to the ski slopes.
Perhaps because we were fortunate enough to live almost 10 years in the mountains of Colorado our family sees climate change as the most important issue facing our country. On Wednesday CNN hosted an 8-hour town hall on this topic which candidates have said the Democratic National Committee is not focusing on enough. Each candidate had 40 minutes to talk about their plan which finally gave voters some detailed information needed to separate candidates.
Whenever the topic of climate change comes up, I can’t help but think about the 2000 presidential race between Bush and Gore. Sadly, we watched Gore run a poor campaign (he didn’t even win his own state) and the Supreme Court gave the election to Bush. We would be in a far different position had Gore been elected as he had been a long-time leader and educator on climate. So now, twenty years later when we sit amid a climate crisis with a president who daily undo’s any protection that has been put in place all the way down to lightbulbs because we should be free to choose inefficient lightbulbs versus lightbulbs that use less energy. We wouldn’t have to put such controls in place if people would act in the best interest of the planet. But the US is a country of greed and thus tough love will be necessary to save what so many want to use up for their political or monetary gain.
I will not spend much time writing about the candidates’ positions. Unfortunately, I can’t find a nice table that summarizes their plans based on key criteria which is needed. However, when researching the news media for this blog, there were a few things that stood out to me. Once again Biden showed that his time for the presidency has passed as he failed to understand that attending a high-dollar fundraiser hosted by the co-founder and executive of a natural-gas company was not exactly a good idea (Let’s call that swampy thinking). According to The Intercept, “Biden’s climate plan sets a goal of getting the United States to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. The plan cites human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels — like natural gas — as contributing to the greenhouse gas effect, exacerbating climate events, and playing a part in an overall increase in global temperature. Biden initially had proposed a ‘middle ground’ on climate policy. His climate policy adviser, Heather Zichal, meanwhile, made more than a million dollars from a natural gas firm after leaving the Obama administration.”
I enjoyed the opinion piece by Melissa Betchelor Warnke of the LA Times who supports my key point which is for the millennials to get involved you need to reach them using their communications tools – like streaming. She also made the same statement my husband does. “If humans don’t exist, who cares about what kind of healthcare we have?” I've attached the article here.
Once again, I see Cory Booker showing real leadership and I continue to be impressed by him. As reported in the New York Times, “the New Jersey senator scoffed at Democratic competitors who have said that their first action as president would be to recommit to the Paris agreement. “I’m sorry,” he said, “that is, like, a cost of entry even to run for president or talk about the presidency.” He went on to say, “Combating climate change is not one item on a list of policies. It is ‘the lens through which we must do everything.’” Under a Booker administration, he said, every department and federal agency would be expected to have a climate plan. I agree. We must combat this problem from every angle, and it should be number one on the list of priorities (closely followed by health care). Most importantly, we can’t attack this problem in the typical government way of getting buy-in from everyone affected. The time for that type of policy-making – which Biden represents—is over, particularly given four years of Trump overturning every climate protection policy ever enacted.
I will continue to ask our youth to get active and own this issue. You have every right to be mad at your parents and grandparents for allowing this crisis to occur. But take that anger and put it into action. No one should sit this election out. Apathy will not help the planet.