My home state is drowning and my representatives don’t care. Today I fight for a Green New Deal.
This past Tuesday I participated in a sit in at Nancy Pelosi’s office. I was arrested alongside 51 other young people for demanding that all Democratic leaders commit to a Green New Deal that would create thousands of good jobs for working class people and transform our economy away from fossil fuels over the next decade. We did this because the recent UN climate report tells us we have just 12 years to address climate change. Hundreds joined our protest, millions followed us online, and we even inspired Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to join us and put forward a Resolution to create a House Select Committee on a Green New Deal. In just the past few days, ten other members of Congress have officially pledged support for Ocasio’s proposal. This momentum feels tangible — but also fragile — which is why we’re not letting a second go to waste.
Today, over 300 people are keeping the pressure on our representatives by planning actions in cities across the country demanding they support Ocasio’s proposal. I’m one of them, and I’m bringing my whole family with me. Here’s why.
Growing up in Florida, dealing with natural disasters has been a part of my life since I was a kid. I remember getting time off school because of hurricanes and helping my dad put up shutters on our windows. I remember going to the grocery store with my mom to stock up on non-perishables and flashlights. When the storms and power outages would finally hit, I’d bunker down with my family in the dark and hope for the best. Thankfully, none of the hurricanes we faced were catastrophic for my family. But, I know that many other families weren’t as lucky as mine. In the past two years, hurricanes have destroyed whole cities in my state. Michael, Irma, and Maria have all broken records. I know that it’s only a matter of time until one hits my home.
The severity of the climate crisis feels really personal. That’s why today I’m visiting Representative Ted Deutch’s office with my mom, brother and Grandpa (we might bring the dogs too). Ironically, my brother is able to attend this action because climate-fueled wildfires in California forced him to change his travel plans and come home earlier than expected for Thanksgiving.
Ted Deutch, like many other Democrats, gives powerful lip service to the urgency of addressing climate change, but that’s not enough. Today we will demand that Democrats like him turn their words into action and support Ocasio’s resolution for a Green New Deal. I will not settle for leaders who only give lip service to the most critical issues of our time — not when families are still recovering from yet another hurricane and not when I live in fear for when my home is next.
Thankfully, I’m not alone. With record-breaking youth voter turnout in the midterms and with hundreds of Green New Deal Day of Action events happening today, young people across this country are saying loud and clear: We. Won’t. Settle.
It’s time Democrats realize that it’s not enough to say “vote for us because at least we’re not as bad as them” or “vote for us because at least we are the party that recognizes climate science.” What difference does it make that you claim to believe in science if you then ignore the radical implications of what that science tells you?
Democrats: We are not young and naive for believing what the science tells us. You are out of touch and irresponsible for ignoring it for so long. History will not judge you for how your plan compares to that of Republicans. History will judge you for whether or not you did everything in your power to stop this crisis. The time for political courage is now.
There is simply too much on the line for Democrats to not get behind the only viable policy option on the table that would prevent the planet from burning up and my home state from drowning. Failure to support policies that meet the scale of this crisis, like a Green New Deal will result in my parents losing their home to coastal flooding, my brother breathing contaminated air in California, and billions of people having their homes and loved ones ripped from them.
This is a future that is 100% preventable. We have the technology and the public support. We just need the political will.
This is why I am showing up to my Congressman Ted Deutch’s office today and demanding that he support Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal for a Select Committee on a Green New Deal. Will you join me in asking your representative to do the same?