Campus climate activists encourage youth voters

Michael Perreault

Guest Columnist

 

The last few weeks have brought attention to Virginia for its place in the election as a battleground state and the political impact of Hurricane Sandy.

Young voters played a crucial part in this election, with Obama capturing 60 percent of ballots cast by youth voters. Here on campus, there was a group of student activists bringing attention to the importance of their votes and the importance of the climate crisis.

The group, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, managed to gather 600 signatures of VCU students who pledged to go out and vote for candidates who would address the global crisis of climate change. These 600 are part of a statewide effort, the total reaching just below 2,000 pledges from student voters.

While maintaining a nonpartisan position, we encourage voters to take the climate situation into account when making daily decisions. This situation is the reality that global warming is causing more frequent and extreme weather events, some of the causes being the rise in sea levels and heating of our oceans.

On the note of the hurricane, as mentioned in “Obama solidifies re-election with response to Sandy,” published on Nov. 5 in The CT, the two candidate’s relief efforts were greatly influential in the poll results. The focus of President Obama on the climate won him two sets of praise from influential politicians in Virginia and an endorsement.

The climate crisis is something we cannot ignore any longer.

One of the biggest talking points at VCU is the issue with Dominion being the biggest polluter in the state. According to the EPA’s pollution inventory, Dominion utilities emit the most carbon in the state of Virginia. Nearly all students responded in surprised distress when informed of Dominion’s monopoly according to a survey conducted by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

While touting a green power program, Dominion doesn’t actually have any utility-scale wind or solar power. This is coupled with the fact that they are the biggest non-party donor to the state’s General Assembly.

Climate change is an alarmingly real thing and we cannot afford to maintain a philosophy of instant gratification: Our children and our children’s children will inherit these problems. The issues we put off solving will continue to get worse. We need to work toward a permanent solution, not add to the problems at hand.

The youth of this generation are beginning to recognize this and their impact in today’s politics resounds with a message of hope for the climate crisis. Even though there is no instant fix, with diligence and cooperation our children can inherit a world set on the path to a true solution: Renewable energy.

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