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Yesterday, on night 3 of the Democratic National Convention, youth activists, farmers, leaders of the environmental community, as well as pop superstar Billie Eilish brought climate change to the forefront of the national conversation.
As climate advocacy group, Climate Power 2020 explained,
More than 25 speakers pushed for a strong response to the climate crisis – a record-high for climate during a political party convention.
And while Joe Biden does heavily emphasize the jobs potential of his climate plan, speakers at the convention also helped convey what we stand to lose if we don’t take immediate action on climate. Those losses include our natural wonders, farms, security, and the entire way of life for some communities. Climate action is often framed as an opportunity, and it is, but it’s also necessary to preserving nature, which no human can live without.
Why This Matters: While the night had ample emphasis on climate change, there was one notable omission. Senator Kamala Harris did not mention it in her vice-presidential nomination acceptance speech (despite it being otherwise rousing and inspiring for base voters). It’s probably safe to assume that her speech was written well before the convention but at the time she delivered it, her home state was suffering through multiple massive wildfires.
The speech also came on the heels of reporting revealing that President Trump tried to withhold fire relief funding for California purely out of spite. A senator from California is uniquely positioned to talk about the devastation of climate change and why inaction runs contrary to protecting life, here’s hoping Harris touches on those points as the (virtual) campaign trail heats up.
You can take a look at the climate programming from the convention here, it starts at the 17:13 minute mark:
Also worth your time, here’s how the 2020 DNC delegates think about President Donald Trump’s record on climate change:
Obama To The Point: It can’t go unmentioned that former President Barack Obama’s speech was a jarring reminder that 4 more years of a Trump presidency could truly signal the end of our democracy. Obama stated,
“Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t. And the consequences of that failure are severe.”
“Those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism….they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all”
Obama acknowledged that in our current time, politics are so ugly that it’s difficult to see how things could get better. But the noise and this cynicism are how fossil fuel companies and special interests who oppose climate action win. For instance, the American Petroleum Institute works under the radar to suppress local climate action, hoping that voters are too busy or disinterested to notice or care. And oil companies are bankrolling Trump’s reelection campaign as they fear what a Biden climate agenda would mean for their operations.
That’s why voting for someone committed to the American people and not special interests, even if he or she is an imperfect candidate, is the only way to save our democracy as well as help secure a sustainable path for our planet.
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