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Activists at DNC Headquarters Demand Climate Debate
By Eoin Higgins
We want a climate debate.
That's the message from more than a dozen progressive groups and organizations who descended on the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Wednesday to demand the party devote a debate to the climate crisis in the presidential primary debates.
The demonstration featured speeches and the delivery of 200,000 petitions to the DNC demanding the party provide a space for candidates to discuss how they will handle the crisis.
"The DNC is making it clear that the adults who got us into this crisis are unwilling to be the leaders to now solve this problem," U.S. Youth Climate Strike national finance director Karla Stephan said in a statement.
"We're not giving up — and we're not settling for soundbites," said Stephan. "We demand action."
The protest is a direct response to a Tuesday post on Medium from DNC chair Tom Perez, who wrote that it would be unfair to prioritize one issue over others. The DNC "must remain neutral in both practice and perception," wrote Perez.
"If we change our guidelines at the request of one candidate who has made climate change their campaign's signature issue, how do we say no to the numerous other requests we've had?" Perez wrote. "How do we say no to other candidates in the race who may request debates focused on an issue they've made central to their own campaigns?"
However, as The Daily Beast's Gideon Resnick pointed out, the climate crisis isn't seen as a marginal issue to the party's base.
The progressive argument against Perez is that a debate around climate change does not amount to a simple "pet issue," but rather one that voters and candidates alike have prioritized as an all-encompassing threat impacting people's everyday lives.
Green groups sounded off on the DNC decision in a series of statements.
"The irony of Tom Perez and the Democratic National Committee rejecting a climate debate while holding the upcoming debate in Miami, a city already impacted by storms and sea level rise, is not lost on us," said 350 Action's North America director Tamara Toles O'Laughlin.
"The DNC is effectively denying the will of the people, when really they should've learned lessons from the 2016 election," added O'Laughlin. "All of us deserve to know how the next U.S. president plans to act on Day One to protect our health, safety, and democracy."
Time is running out, said CREDO Action campaign manager Brandy Doyle.
"We don't have time for this," said Doyle. "We can't wait another four years for the Democratic Party to start taking the climate crisis seriously."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
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Poverty and violence in Central America are major factors driving migration to the United States. But there's another force that's often overlooked: climate change.
Retired Lt. Cmdr. Oliver Leighton Barrett is with the Center for Climate and Security. He says that in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, crime and poor economic conditions have long led to instability.
"And when you combine that with protracted drought," he says, "it's just a stressor that makes everything worse."
Barrett says that with crops failing, many people have fled their homes.
"These folks are leaving not because they're opportunists," he says, "but because they are in survival mode. You have people that are legitimate refugees."
So Barrett supports allocating foreign aid to programs that help people in drought-ridden areas adapt to climate change.
"There are nonprofits that are operating in those countries that have great ideas in terms of teaching farmers to use the land better, to harvest water better, to use different variety of crops that are more resilient to drought conditions," he says. "Those are the kinds of programs I think are needed."
So he says the best way to reduce the number of climate change migrants is to help people thrive in their home countries.
Reporting credit: Deborah Jian Lee / ChavoBart Digital Media.
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.
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