The fight against climate change can bring us together

I would like to see the major environmental organizations participate in the Washington march and speak about the political issues of climate change.

Image credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

For the last week or so, I have been pondering about what is the most important issue in the 2020 election.  My thought has been that if we can agree on the most important issue, and if we can agree on what is needed to resolve it, we may not only resolve that issue but bring America back towards learning once again how to agree on things.

I thought first about Medicare for All.  All of the Democratic candidates seemed to agree at their first debate in July that this was a very important issue.  But since the crisis of the Arctic and the Amazon fires, Climate Change has become clearly the leading issue.  And it is an issue which could bring us together politically.

My greatest wish in the 2020 election was (and is) to bring the progressives throughout America together.  I would like to see Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, and Elizabeth Warren band together on common issues.   Climate Change is an issue which the vast majority of Americans appear to agree on.  “Nearly 70 percent of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, want the United States to take “aggressive” action to combat climate change – but only a third would support an extra tax of $100 a year to help.”  Still, with 140.9 million taxpayers in the U.S., $100 each would amount to $14.09 billion.  That’s a start, but just weaning us off fossil fuels would cost $4.7 trillion

The Democratic candidates for President all appear to agree.  “[A]ll the candidates agree with scientists who say that to avoid the worst effects of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions – mainly carbon dioxide – have to be reduced to zero by 2050. And they all support rejoining the Paris climate agreement that President Trump says the U.S. will withdraw from.” 

My suggestion is that a March Against Climate Change be organized for Washington, D.C., within the next two months, with all of the Democratic candidates in the front line together.  But I wouldn’t stop there.  I would invite all the prominent political and non-political persons engaged in climate change who would participate to come and take part.  This would include:

Bill Weld, who is actually running against Trump for the Republican nomination.  He is a strong advocate for environmental legislation.  “Weld also spoke of the “pressing need to act on climate change” and said the country should rejoin the Paris climate agreement (from which Trump withdrew the United States). The Trump administration’s approach to the environment and climate change is, he said, “antithetical to every principle of conservation and conservatism, and every tenet of Theodore Roosevelt’s Grand Old Party.” 

Roland G. Aranjo, Sedinam Moyowasiza-Curry, Howie Hawkins, Dario Hunter, Dennis Lambert, David RoldeandIan Schlakmanare all running for President under the Green Party.  All are strong on issues of climate change

But besides politicians actually running for President, there is a large group of congressional representatives and senators who have strong positions on climate change.  There are also governors, mayors, and other elected officials.  For example, Elected Officials to Protect America claims to have 1313 signatories who are elected officials from 50 states who have joined in their movement. There are other organizations as well.  The League of Conservation Voters has 1,779,000 members. Any or all of them might be interested in participating in such a march.

The Global Climate Strike will take place on September 20, 2019 at many places around the world, and the participants in that movement might want to be part of the rally I am speaking of.  Millions of participants are anticipated.  There are easily 100 locations just in the U.S. where the Strike will take place.  I know about it because I am part of the local movement in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  

I would like to see the major environmental organizations participate in the Washington march and speak about the political issues of climate change.  Organizations such as Greenpeace, (which helped organize the Global Climate Strike), Sierra Club, Worldwide Wildlife Foundation, National Audubon Society, Environmental Defense Fund, and so on.  The march should be for the purpose of uniting the country politically and creating an environment at which legislation to prevent continuing climate change is adopted.  The speakers at the march should be members of one or more such organizations or members of Congress (but not candidates for President).

Frankly, I would also like to see a meeting after the march at which the participants can agree on central issues to prevent climate change.   The hope would be to draft a piece of legislation on which the participants can agree.  After all, we have more than a few proposals on the subject, such as Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2018, Bernie Sanders’ proposal, Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to require disclosure of climate risk, and the Green New Deal.  It would be good if there could be one piece of legislation that everyone could agree on.  With mostly Democrats and progressives being present, that sort of result would be hard but not impossible to achieve.  If it were achieved, then the 2020 election could be viewed as a movement to achieve its passage.

It seems to me that a march featuring all of the candidates for President who want to see decisive climate change legislation would be very unusual, and it would focus the attention of the voting public on what needs to be done.  Including in the march representatives of all the organizations fighting climate change would make the voting public see how important the issues are.  And as the election year goes on from the primaries to the general election, the Democrats and the Green Party might arrive at some sort of agreement to join hands.  That would be an excellent result.


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