Vote for the Climate on Tuesday

Allison is currently a senior at Binghamton University where she is double majoring in political science and environmental policy with a minor in immigration studies. She has long had a passion for environmental advocacy and spent her last two summers working at summer camps trying to instill the same passion in our youth. She spent a week this summer in Washington lobbying for carbon pricing and learning climate advocacy skills that she is excited to use during her fellowship. Her career goals include working with climate refugees either at a non-profit or in government. When she is not advocating for the environment, she directs the SA Advocates program on her campus (a program designed to assist students going through conduct violations) and is currently working on a congressional campaign in her home district.

As a young person who was born and raised in the southern region of New York, I am deeply disturbed by the recent climate report published by the United Nations. I certainly enjoy the 70-degree days we saw well into October; however, I can’t enjoy them fully knowing that they are resulting from climate change. This makes me worried for my future and angry with my representatives on both sides of the aisle for not placing climate legislation at the top of the political agenda.

I’m currently a fellow with Our Climate working to educate the public and elected officials about science-based, equitable climate policy solutions. Specifically, we advocate for carbon pricing at the state and federal level. The idea of a carbon price is simple: add a per-dollar fee for every ton of carbon emitted at the source. Expert research found that a policy proposal of $35/ton fee could generate between $3.2 billion to $7.1 billion in annual revenue for New York State. Industries that emit the most, pay the most, as they share more responsibility for climate change. Think of it this way: if individual citizens are responsible for paying to have their trash taken away, then shouldn’t industries be held to the same standard? These policies ensure that levels of greenhouse gases are reduced in a way that doesn’t harm economic growth. This pairing ensures a better future for young people globally by improving air quality and continuous job growth in the “green” sector.

Similar policies have been considered with bipartisan support at both the state and federal levels. In July Carlos Curbelo (R-Fl) introduced a carbon tax at the federal level where the revenue would be invested in green infrastructure improvements nationwide. While a carbon fee has only recently been introduced, the Climate and Community Protection Act, which would mandate that New York reach 100% renewable energy by 2050, has passed the Assembly the last three years.

Climate change impacts don’t discriminate. In this region of the state, we can expect more extreme seasons, problems with agriculture and the growing season, increased precipitation causing flooding similar to what we’ve seen in the past decade, and higher prevalence of diseases like West Nile and Lyme. All of these cause disruptions in the economy, changes in job and housing patterns, and devastating impacts on day-to-day lifestyles.

Young people are now the largest voting block and overwhelmingly believe that climate change will have severe impacts on our future. Voting for candidates who support policies to mitigate climate change is of utmost importance to preserve the lifestyles we enjoy now. I urge you to research the environmental platforms of candidates before voting on November 6th. If New York truly wants to be a leader in addressing the climate crisis, we must elect representatives who will support climate legislation next year. Doing so will have immense positive effects on the people of this state and will demonstrate New York’s commitment to protecting the future of its citizens.

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