Youth Vs. the “Left”
Originally published in TheBridgeConvo.org
When it comes to the topic of climate change, nearly everyone on the millennial left (and a lot of the right) seems to be on the same page. Scientific evidence has demonstrated, our teachers have educated, nature itself is giving us the warning signs, and Al Gore has spread the word: climate change is real, it’s happening and it is the greatest challenge the human race has ever seen—infinitely more complex than WWI and WWII combined. This is the starting point that we must have in climate discourse. So why do we not see this reflected in politics? Why isn’t the liberal left doing more to reflect what our generation is demanding?
Climate change has already had devastating consequences, especially for the already-marginalized communities of our country and our world. Big oil, big business, the transnational elite and others have a vested interest in preventing policies directed towards combating climate change: they would lose money or like whitefish, stand to gain during the recovery effort. Furthermore, they will either be dead or as rich as King Midas by the time ultimate disaster strikes. We stand up time and time again (Keystone, DAPL, etc), but the DNC couldn’t even rule out fracking in its official 2016 platform. In fact, according to ClimateHawksVote, an organization that ranks representatives on their action on climate issues, Dems scored an average of just 23.25pts out of 100! With 6 of 44 scoring in the negatives!
That is a really, really tough pill for us to swallow as millennials. With Congress at an average age of 57, we don’t have much, if any representation. It’s ironic really, being told your whole life that with age comes wisdom only to have those that touted the saying literally destroy our world. Politicians empirically care more about the money in their pocket than working towards a solution.
As the world tries to collaborate, our government makes sure the deals are non-binding, cheering “compromise” between business and consumer, developed and developing.
It is devastating that the US is no longer party to the Paris Agreement, but in reality—we were the reason it was weak to begin with. The US follows the money, not policies that will protect humanity. This is a gross corruption of our fundamental values—by the people, for the people—which puts the market above society, and greed above human lives.
This is a somber “Left” because this is not a problem of “getting the word out”; the word is already out. Politicians know the consequences of inaction. Yet they are not following through. Terrorist attack, Congress passes legislation, gun violence, the Blue team gets all frustrated at thoughts and prayers, 3 or 4 natural disasters hit the U.S., exacerbated by a warming planet, and only the Pope seems to give it the time of day.