Letter: Vote for climate action | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Vote for climate action

I’m privileged to live in such an active, engaged and beautiful community, where discourse and dialogue are still facilitated through printed media that nearly everyone reads and contributes to. Over the past several weeks, editorials and letters to the editor have focused around climate change, fueling the “debate” on the reality of the issue. But the fact is that there is no debate. Denying the validity of climate science is to deny the history of the field of science as we know it.

Being in my mid-20s, I’ve recognized the imminent threat to our generation of increased fossil-fuel consumption, sea-level rise and, more frequent, extreme weather. I cannot believe others not only refute scientifically based arguments but rebut them with piecemeal, raw statistics to deflect their ownership of the problem at hand. They keep denying — it’s obvious they will take no action.

So, we will.

The People’s Climate March last month in New York City is only a testament of our commitment to resolve this matter. Unfortunately, rallies alone don’t push public policy; well-funded politicians with special interests do. We need congressional leadership that represents our generation’s interests and understands the urgency of addressing climate change now. I will not stand by debating the reality of the problem when we need to be debating solutions.

From 1996 to 2012, 18- to 29-year-olds have represented 21.2 percent of eligible voters but have consisted of only 15.4 percent of the actual voting population. Our interests have simply been overlooked and underrepresented. We need to get out the vote. We need to demand representation. Voter turnout of 18- to 24-year-olds hasn’t been above 50 percent since 1964. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau.) We have a responsibility to take urgent action, and we can do that this fall.

I will continue contacting voters in the Roaring Fork Valley to bring climate change to the forefront of this election and future elections, because this is the single largest challenge we will face in our lifetime. We need representatives who not only believe in this issue but also agree on the imminent need for action. Supporting Sen. Mark Udall’s re-election is in our best interests, as the senator understands climate change to be a severe and urgent threat that must be addressed now.

His opponent, Congressman Cory Gardner — ideologically and financially supported by the oil-tycoon Koch brothers — would only serve the interests that elected him. The congressman is a staunch climate-science denier and doesn’t believe that climate change is as harmful “to the extent that is has been in the news.” That does not reflect Colorado’s position as the progressive national leader it is today.

I cannot support candidates who deny 97 percent of climate scientists, NASA and 18 other scientific associations that unanimously agree that greenhouse gases emitted by humans are the primary driver of climate change. There’s no more time for our leaders to deny, deflect and fail to act on this calamity.

I plan to vote for climate action this fall. I encourage you to do the same.

Peter Ward


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