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Millennials must spearhead environmental awareness

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Millennials must spearhead environmental awareness

By Anthony Gavrilchenko, Columnist

It’s easy to turn apathetic when faced with impending cataclysmic climate change, especially when half the country already doesn’t believe it’ll impact them. This is no mistake — the current ambience of misinformation and confusion is a carefully constructed corporate reality intended to fester indifference.

Climate policy think-tank Influence Map found business lobbyist efforts on U.S. energy discourse to have an equal, if not larger, impact on climate change compared to their greenhouse gas emissions. It also documented a multi-million dollar lobbying campaign funded by U.S. automotive industry giants with the primary goal of dismantling energy standards, in stark contrast with their eco-friendly public relations rhetoric.

A recent peer-reviewed scientific paper published in the journal Nature Communications estimated current fossil fuel infrastructure will make even the modestly compromised goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius an uphill battle, though not yet impossible.

 Overwhelming scientific consensus warrants we are past the time for debate, and past the time for cautious exploratory committees — it’s time to do something about climate change. Anybody who still pushes “clean coal” or accuses climate scientists of research fraud in 2019 is either arguing in bad faith or has fully cocooned themselves in a sad veneer of Fox and Breitbart.

The Paris Agreement, though a promising step, illustrate d the limits of lukewarm liberal compromise when our McPresident unilaterally pulled out of the deal. If such a politically correct settlement draws that much ire from conservatives, it’s clear we can’t rely on the legislative elite to save us.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not aligning with the pearl-clutching anti-PC crowd. This is actual political correctness: It’s an American institutional taboo to go against the hyper-corporatism that infests our modern “representative” democracy. Being racist isn’t politically incorrect; it’s the White House platform.

To figure out why it’s such an unthinkable subject, all you have to do is follow the money. Corporations spend more on D.C. lobbying than our government allocates to fund the entire U.S. Congress, with fossil fuel lobbyists outspending environmental advocacy groups 10-to-1 in the 21st century.

Unions and public interest groups used to be on level footing with these interests before the Business Roundtable coalesced its deep-pocketed lobbying efforts in the early ’70s. The status quo is not static — we could easily curtail the outsized power of such actors who have an obvious conflict of interest if Congress wanted to. But they don’t.

Over 80 percent of fossil fuel lobbying efforts go to Republican congressmen; our planet’s future becoming a deeply contested partisan issue speaks to the monopoly big business maintains over political lobbying, as well as the morally bankrupt legislators who pocket their bribes.

When our institutions fail us, it is our duty to protest and push back on their corruption — this is where Earth Strike comes in. As an international grassroots campaign founded in the wake of the 2018 midterms, its namesake goal is a Sept. 27 worldwide general strike in order to promote awareness and action regarding climate change.

Climate change is going to be the defining global issue we will face in the coming years — climate refugees already number in the millions, and 40 percent of the world lives within a dangerous distance from coastline, in the case of rising sea levels. Human arrogance should not be our downfall and neither should greed.

A common complaint I’ve noticed from my millenial and Generation Z peers regards their minute ability to solve the world’s problems. This movement provides an opportunity, in the age of viral progressive social media, for college-aged Americans to seriously impact national and global policy.

Earth Strike is not perfect, but it’s the closest we’ll get. If you are at all interested or know someone who may be, feel free to visit the official website at earth-strike.com.

Anthony is a freshman in LAS.

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