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Column: Democrats Offer Solutions To Dire Environmental Issues

This story was written by Claire Rydell, Badger Herald

There is a unique urgency in the right here and the right now. Today, the arduous task of fixing Americas problems seems more crucial than ever. We cannot afford to suffer through another four years of the politics that have bankrupted our economy, led us into Iraq indefinitely and wreaked havoc on our planet. Our country, our fellow citizens and our environment most certainly cannot take another four years of Bush politics. This November, more is at stake than merely our country or the international community. Our planet is in peril, and we need to take action to stop global warming.

The world cannot wait another four, eight or twelve years to combat global warming. If we continue our current habits, the arctic region could have its first ice-free summer before the year 2040. Unless we combat the emission of heat-trapping gases, they could increase an additional 90 percent by 2030. Without action, deaths resulting from global warming will double to reach 300,000 annually within the next 25 years.

As individuals, we can begin to change the world right now. We can drive fuel efficient cars, buy local food and recycle. We can switch to energy-saving light bulbs, unplug our unused electronics and plant a few trees.

As voters, we can start this very minute. Although individual action is important, we also need elected men and women in office to pass environmentally conscious legislation while also encouraging their constituents to go green.

Sen. Barack Obama has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 through a cap-and-trade system that would auction off pollution credits with the proceeds funding green energy programs. Obamas plan which includes creating 5 million new green jobs, converting 25 percent of Americas electricity to renewable sources by 2025 and putting one million plug-in hybrid cars on the road by 2015 will drastically reduce the amount of oil we import from the Middle East and Venezuela within 10 years.

In addition to these domestic changes, Obama will provide leadership around the world for combating global warming. If the largest industrialized nation in the world is reducing greenhouse gas emissions, other countries will follow.

If we dont act to stop global warming, we will be left with a planet unrecognizable to future generations. By electing Democrats who will work to combat global warming, this November we can make a positive change in the world.

We cannot afford to sit back and let the environment be ruined for our children and grandchildren. The warming of our planet and the degradation of the natural world are current issues but are also relevant for the future. Four years from now might be too late to make a difference.

I ask each and every one of you to recognize the necessity of protecting the environment sooner rather than later. I encourage you to come and find out how you can help make a difference in your community, country and planet. Come check out the College Democrats at our kickoff meeting this Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. in 3650 Humanities.

Claire Rydell (Claire.Rydell@wiscollegedems.org) is the chair of the College Democrats.