By Randy Martin
The national and local conversation around climate change is ridiculous, and that’s why I’m doing something about it. If you’ve followed this issue at all, you probably know it feels as if the entire thing is just people talking past one another. It feels like we’re so divided about every minute detail. Recently it was gas stoves, and before then, it was windmills, and before then, it was something else. As someone who cares about the environment and the country, it can feel hopeless at times when people approach these conversations with their guards up and talking points ready. I’m thankful the reality is different than it seems.
According to the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, the majority of Americans believe global warming is happening (72%), and most believe it’s human-caused (57%). But what is even more interesting to me is that nationally Americans are in even stronger agreement about policy prescriptions.
- Funding research into renewables- 77%
- Regulating CO2 as a pollutant – 72%
- Limiting CO2 for coal-fired power plants- 66%
- Requiring Fossil Fuel Companies to pay a carbon tax – 66%
- Providing tax rebates for energy-efficient vehicles and solar panels- 77%
- Teaching about Global Warming in schools- 77%
- Making Congress do more to address global warming- 61%
Even in deep red Alabama, agreement is surprisingly strong.
We’re mostly on the same page about climate change happening
- Global warming is happening- 63%
- Global warming will harm future generations – 62%
- Global warming will harm developing countries – 61%
Additionally, there are several policies that are broadly popular.
- Providing tax rebates for energy-efficient vehicles and solar panels – 75%
- Teaching about global warming in schools – 74%
- Funding renewables research – 72%
- Regulating CO2 as a pollutant – 67%
- Congress, the Governor, local officials, citizens, and corporations should do more to address global warming- all >50%
All of this has to do with just climate change. This poll doesn’t even touch the plethora of other environmental issues, such as clean water, clean air, and healthy soil.
If we’re in agreement, why aren’t our policies more reflective of our actual views? I believe it’s because our politics label you either a believer or a denier, and depending on what political party you subscribe to, those labels are chosen for you. It’s time now to break those labels and see the complexities that make up someone’s values around climate change and environmentalism. These partisan labels aren’t helpful when it comes to solutions. We all want clean air, clean water, and a healthy planet for ourselves and the future.
This is exactly why a group of Auburn students launched the American Conservation Coalition at Auburn. It’s a club for students from all backgrounds and political ideologies to add their voices in support of common sense, bipartisan solutions to climate change and environmental issues. We want to foster a productive conversation while working toward realistic solutions. We believe that we can break this cycle of unproductivity and raise voice for common sense.
If you also want to raise your voice, join the American Conservation Coalition at Auburn.
Randy Martin is a Senior in Environmental Science and serves as the President of ACC Auburn.
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