If you’re not familiar with the Sunrise Movement – a “youth-led political movement…that advocates political action on climate change” – you definitely should be. Recently, NY Times columnist Michelle Goldberg wrote about Sunrise and the Green New Deal (bolding added by me for emphasis):
“When Representative Joe Kennedy, a rising star in the House, entered the Senate race, it looked as if Markey would lose. No Kennedy had ever lost an election in Massachusetts…But the young environmentalists of the Sunrise Movement — who’ve championed the Green New Deal more than any other organization — made saving Markey a major political priority…So Sunrise members, in concert with other young progressives, embarked on one of the most successful branding exercises in recent political history, turning a fairly establishment 74-year-old into a youth culture icon…The success of this endeavor demonstrates both Sunrise’s growing political power and its pragmatism…In boosting Markey, Sunrise sent a message to Democrats, especially those in blue states. You don’t need an impeccable record — if you champion the Green New Deal, the movement will have your back. And that support can be priceless.”
Great stuff! And now, the Sunrise Movement has endorsed climate champions running against climate science deniers, including Qasim Rashid for Congress in VA01, who’s taking on the anti-environment, right-wingnut Rep. Rob Wittman (R) in a “red”-trending-“purple district. This afternoon, Sunrise is holding a conversation with Rashid, which you can see below. In his intro, Rashid had the following to say:
“This conversation about climate justice can’t be overstated…right now, the sky is literally the wrong color, we can’t see the sun...economies are being destroyed, lives are being destroyed. And even now, there are people out there saying a Green New Deal is too expensive or this is all a hoax…The youth understand more than most the impact this is going to have on their futures and on our futures…if we don’t act immediately…Keep an eye on what the meaningful and tangible solutions…are, because those who would want to deny climate change…aren’t willing to provide any kinds of solutions…They see these once-in-500-years storms happening every year, these once-in-100-year fires happening every year, and they don’t actually offer solutions. So what this is about at its core is having tangible solutions to save our environment and our economy for generations to come and make it sustainable.”
Great points by Rashid, also a strong way to frame this, which is that “if we don’t change the way we consume energy…then not only are we devastating our environment, but we’re engaging in behavior that will be destructive to our economy as well.” In other words, there’s not a “tradeoff between economic growth and the environment,” as climate science deniers love to spew out, but actually there’s a direct connection between a strong economy and a healthy environment. Because, the fact is, it’s pretty hard to have a strong economy when you’re under water, or when your neighborhood’s on fire, or when you’re running out of water, or when the air isn’t safe to breathe, etc. And no, this isn’t difficult to understand, unless of course you have a financial interest in making sure that people don’t understand this.
P.S. Rashid also pointed out, correctly, that “the current fossil fuel model has an expiration date.” And on the importance of this election, Rashid said: “The next 52 days are going to be either the best 52 days of our lives or they can be catastrophic…We have to understand, this is not like other elections; this is truly a referendum on what kind of future we want. This president has made it explicitly clear that he doesn’t care about the environment, he does not believe climate change is real, he called it a Chinese hoax, and he will stop at nothing to decimate our environment, our natural resources...” So, get involved, engaged, and fight for the future you want to see!