EDITORIAL: Vote for politicians who care about the planet


Sophia Maxim

Illustration by Sophia Maxim

Jacob L'Hommedieu, Op/Ed Editor

Despite the fact that the climate change issue is clearly a dire crisis important for everyone on the globe to address, politicians refuse to step up to the plate. This year alone, several bills were introduced in Congress only to end up getting stuck in bureaucratic committee hell.
The one “climate” bill passed in August did not even include the requirement of emissions reduction. And climate change isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
It can already be felt in how wildly different the seasons feel. The summers are getting hotter, and the winters are getting shorter and more severe closer to the poles. But it goes much further than just affecting the calendars. Animal populations are dying out at catastrophic rates, sea levels are rising, and weather patterns are changing dramatically.
For us who live in New Orleans, we are seeing some of the most dramatic examples of these changes.
Because of a nationwide drought, the once mighty Mississippi River is at its lowest point in decades. And with rising sea levels, salt water is pushing up the river, threatening several communities’ drinking water.
And with the average number of days reaching above 95 degrees projected to quintuple throughout the rest of the 21st century, the likelihood of these shifts taking place will only grow as the years go by.
So, what can we as citizens do in order to fight back against climate change?
We can use our collective political voice to vote for politicians who will do their damn job and act as servants of the public.
Instead of pushing the blame onto the average citizen, maybe they should recognize who is really at fault for the mess we’re in. Despite what many businessmen, CEOs, and world leaders will tell you, the main ones responsible for climate change are corporations, as they produce over 70% of all global emissions. Banning plastic straws may be a nice gesture and make people feel good about themselves, but it does basically nothing to get at the root cause of the problem.
The free market is nice in theory, but when it means abusing the planet’s health as a source of easy money, then maybe regulations are necessary.
Unfortunately, again, politicians would rather try to gamify the system and maximize how long they stay in office. So, like an angry parent who wants their child to do their chores, we have to unplug them from the system.
In the next few election cycles, it is important that we make our voice heard. We have to vote out the many career politicians who have enriched themselves and their families through donations and inside information.
We must root out the few so that the many can move forward into the future and, hopefully, we can turn this world around and start healing.