By Michelle Seitz, Staff Writer
On September 18, the Environmental Club hosted two guest speakers from the Sunrise Movement, an organization that advocates for regulation on climate change and the defunding of political campaigns from the fossil fuel industry. The organization was represented by Stephen O’Hanlon and Gunther Melander.
The Sunrise Movement encourages college students and other fellow Americans to talk amongst themselves about climate change and the impact it has on the weather and daily tasks.
According to Melander, “75-percent of Americans discuss climate change one time per year.”
The lack of discussion is partly influenced by the government’s decision to remove the organizations web page on the issue, while the other is influenced by the media’s portrayal of other topics that are perceived to be more important.
The Movement argues that more Americans should publicly support the movement and participate in moral protests such as the People’s Climate March.
The issue does not just effect the environment; the expected 5.4 degree increase in temperatures also negatively impacts sensitive groups such as the elderly and those with respiratory issues.
Senior Josh Levesque agrees with this argument: “Climate change is something everyone can and will affect, and whether you have a positive or negative impact on the world you and your children will be living in depends on how you act today.”
The Movement also believes that the fossil fuel industry negatively impacts the election by funding many candidates’ campaigns and essentially influencing them to keep a low profile regarding government regulations on climate change.
Brothers Charles and David Koch are notable for their influence on the 2016 election. With a combined net worth of $46 billion, earned mostly from the fossil fuel industry, they spent almost as much money on the election campaign as the democratic and republican parties.
Another high-profile example of this is former president Barack Obama’s failed efforts to pass a bill on climate change in 2009. The fossil fuel industry provided a vast amount of money to the Obama campaign, and his political advisors convinced him there were other issues far more important to talk about than climate change.
The Sunrise Movement argues that those who will fight for the health and wellbeing of all people should be elected into government positions rather than those influenced by the fossil fuel industry.
Both O’Hanlon and Melander acknowledged the climate control movement missed an ideal opportunity to advocate for its cause. They felt Bernie Sanders was the most active in pushing for government action while explaining how “Marco Rubio’s campaign was funded over $700,000 by the fossil fuel industry”.
The Sunrise Movement is launching The Climate Change Time Capsule Project. Each state will have a time capsule where people can store items that have a personal connection to climate change.