In 2020, vote your climate-chance conscience |

In 2020, vote your climate-chance conscience

Last week, Venice, Italy’s tides reached 6 feet above sea level, flooding 70% of the city. An “arctic blast” broke hundreds of records across the eastern U.S. This month California burned yet again, suffering an annual wildfire season that is two months longer than it was just 50 years ago.

Climate change is real, and it’s here.

Last winter in Colorado was a relief. We had above average snowfall. It was almost enough to breathe, to pretend that maybe it’ll all be OK. Except that average snowfall shouldn’t be a relief — and we still had abnormal conditions that triggered record avalanches across the state.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has given us 12 years to figure this out, to mobilize and save ourselves. Twelve years before chain reactions amplify the disaster we’ve put in motion and nature’s wheels start turning at rates beyond our control.

Twelve years.

I don’t intend to depress you, scare you, imply we’re doomed. But it’s important to recognize that it’s not enough to “do what you can” in your daily life anymore.

I’ve spent nearly a decade studying and working to mitigate climate change at local and regional levels. And here’s what I now understand: The level of action needed, the speed that’s required, can’t possibly happen at a local or even regional level. The systemic change we need to solve the climate crisis will only occur if we revolutionize our leadership, transform our politics.

I won’t tell you who to vote for in 2020’s coming elections, but I implore you to research their climate policies, to pick someone who is ready to take on this challenge. Then fight for them with your vote, your voice, and your time.

Because the climate fight is now at the polls — and 2020 is our only chance.

Emily Golden