Climate change should no longer be an argument

Illustrated by Jonah Koppel

Andrea Kaniecki, Contributing Writer

The U.S. is divided, and whether this division stems from partisan government, a less-than-positive attitude or maybe just from all the negativity in our country, one thing is definitely clear: We love to argue. 

We love to argue about guns, we love to argue about immigration policies, and we love to argue about health care. Some issues deserve debate; sometimes, you have to have a discussion to reach a solution. Sometimes, two parties both have equal, legitimate concerns about an issue. 

But on issues like climate change, that two-sided debate becomes obsolete. Despite being a proven problem confirmed time and time again, many people still believe that climate change is a “hoax.” Thus, this issue continues to be an argument, an unnecessary one at that.

According to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, evidence points to human activities — such as deforestation, changes in land use and the trapping of heat from greenhouse gases created by fossil fuel combustion — as the roots of climate change over the past 60 years. 

This is just one direct example of confirmed climate change. Our summers are getting hotter, our landfills are piling up, and our ice caps are melting. 

So, why are we still arguing about it?

Because the debate on climate change is rooted in partisan politics. Democrats generally argue for policy change to protect the environment, while Republicans tend to turn a blind eye and argue that it is all made up. Just like our own president did in 2012 when he tweeted that “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” 

Frankly, this is an ignorant and lazy statement. Climate change is clearly backed by science, which is something President Donald Trump chose to ignore when he originally sent his tweet.  How much longer will we continue to feed into this narrative? What will prompt us to actually make a change?

Whatever prompts us to make actual change, it wasn’t Hurricane Dorian. As Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas and Carolinas, Fox News continued to raise questions about the validity of climate change as it covered hurricane news. Fox News continues to host more guests who do not believe in climate change, including Roy Spencer and Marc Morano. According to a Public Citizen analysis, “Climate denial claims dominated 86% of climate change segments on Fox News this year.”

In contrast, protests have sprung up all over the surrounding Richmond area, demanding action to fight climate change. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that 100 students walked out of Open High School participating in the School Strike for Climate, and was one of about 2,000 participating schools internationally.

It’s time to follow the lead of those who demand action. It’s time to stand up for what you are passionate about. It’s time for change. Our world will thank us for it.

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