Home National OPINION: Democrats Discuss — The importance of discussing climate change

OPINION: Democrats Discuss — The importance of discussing climate change

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Grant Perry is a member of the Ohio University College Democrats. He is a freshman studying environmental geography and political science. The following article reflects the opinion and views of the author and does not present those of the Ohio University College Democrats. 

Please note that these views and opinions do not reflect those of The New Political.

 

Only 55% of registered voters identified climate change as an important or extremely important issue, according to a 2020 Gallup poll. In 2018, the United Nations reported that we only have 12 years before climate change becomes irreversible. That, compounded with increased severe weather and drought that affected 27 million Americans in 2019 alone, why is climate change not receiving the attention it deserves? 

The answer could lie in climate itself.

Too many people think that climate and weather are the same thing. They mistakenly use a warmer-than-average winter as a justification for climate change or they use a snowstorm to justify climate change as a hoax. 

Climate, unlike weather, is identified by global trends like temperature, precipitation and winds — usually over the span of 30 years. For example, a warmer-than-average winter can be a side effect of climate change. However, it takes multiple data sets from past winters to scientifically determine if it is caused by a change in the chemical makeup of our atmosphere or a weather fluctuation.

For the average American, it can be difficult to quantify the impacts of climate change on everyday life, and the conversation on the climate gets overshadowed by other, more digestible issues like health care. Health care is a kitchen table issue that is experienced by many Americans, and because of this, it has also been at the forefront of many of the Democratic debates. The same cannot be said for the climate, the impacts of human-caused emissions, and the pollution that many are eager to leave for a later generation to deal with.

Until the effects of climate change are on the doorstep of every household in the U.S., environmental degradation will not get the attention it deserves.

The consequences of waiting until then will be catastrophic. According to the United States Geological Survey, these consequences could include prolonged drought, causing a decrease in agricultural supply, as well as extreme flooding. Human displacement is also likely to be a significant long-term issue, and climate change may result in the extinction of countless other species on our planet.

If there was ever a time to act on climate and realize that this isn’t a problem for a later date, it is in the 2020 election. Climate must be on the ballot. We must keep the pressure on candidates to have climate in the national conversation. I implore you to vote for a better world that can foster the life of coming generations.

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