College Dems: Climate change requires institutional changes

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Andrew Peterkort

As elections approach this November, the Democratic party still holds many strong stances that seek to increase the freedom and liberty of human beings. Many issues of freedom are of great importance to Democrats, like freedom from racial profiling, and freedom of choice and bodily autonomy. These liberties systematically affect our societies, communities and lives, and they are under attack by Republicans this November.

Of all threats, both foreign and domestic, I feel most qualified to talk about climate change. The threat of climate change is seen as potentially apocalyptic by both the United Nations and NASA. The International Panel on Climate Change, a UN organization, has released reports on the potential economic and social destruction that climate change will inevitably wreck on our world. While the Republican party ignores the mountain of scientific understanding and data available, the world keeps moving towards higher sea levels, greater wildfires and stronger storms. No amount of political spin, fake news or alternative facts will stop reality from imposing its events onto our world. No amount of political posturing as “logical” or “free” will save humanity from a collective obligation for our mutual survival.

Every election cycle both parties attempt to use the right political framing to make their ideas sound just and good. But this is more than just a game. Politics is a battle for the foundational components and mechanisms of the society we live in. These mechanisms inflict violence of different forms on some people and advantage on others. They are real, living, breathing forces that can not be observed in a box of indifference or dispassion. Challenging global warming is more than writing an article for The Daily Barometer or debating an adversary. It is more then buying a bike or riding public transportation. These are good starts for environmentally conscious people, but at the end of the day the large structures of power, the state and the corporations, hold too many of the keys. Individual actions help but climate change will not be defeated without institutional change as well. This is why voting can be a powerful tool!

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To confront climate change is to see life as more than just a means for a new object or a powerful job. Life itself is a beautiful ends that we can make better for future generations. In our most pessimistic moments we may find ourselves thinking that climate change has already been decided by the legions of car purchases and gas purchases. We may think that we have picked this future, but that is a lie. No one deserves to think they chose their own destruction. There are larger forces at work.

Andrew Peterkort

Member, OSU College Democrats