Why climate change should be a nonpartisan issue

Columnist: Bayley Baker is a senior at Washburn University studying mass media and political science. The goal of this column is to mobilize and inspire Washburn students by educating them on politics.

 

In August, the Democratic National Committee voted against allowing the 2020 candidates for president to participate in a climate change debate. Activists who called for the event were understandably frustrated, citing the massive importance of climate change as to why it justified a single-issue debate.

On this, I have to agree with the climate activists. Climate change is an existential crisis that threatens us all, and action needs to be taken before it’s too late. But Democrats shouldn’t be the only ones talking about it.

I admit that much of my passion for politics lies in the realm of social issues, like reproductive rights, gun violence, student loan debt, and racial discrimination. It’s easy to get caught up in these (very important) issues. But when I look at the bigger picture, I can see that climate change trumps all of these, because without a planet that can sustain human life, my political beliefs and personal values won’t matter anymore.

Climate change is a matter of human rights, politics and justice. It deepens every existing social inequality and disproportionately affects people living in the world’s poorest countries. For these reasons and more, the issue of climate change is often championed by Democrats. But this is not a partisan issue.

Politically, we can debate over what forms of climate action are best. That’s fine. But we should not have our political parties so entrenched in their polarizing ways that it creates political deadlock and stifles creative climate solutions. Both parties must work across the aisle to prioritize a safe climate and work together to achieve tangible success.

The planet doesn’t care if you’re a Democrat, Republican, or independent. Climate change is the defining issue of our time, and it shouldn’t be a partisan one.

Edited by Adam White, Jessica Galvin, Brianna Smith 

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