Politicians are elected by the people and must represent their interests. As engaged students and individuals within our society and communities, we all must call on our representatives to act in the best interest of those that they represent. People communicate with their representatives by writing letters, calling their office to support legislation or to dissent, and even meeting (both in-person or virtually) with them (or assistants within their offices). The true defining characteristic of a representative is the way they engage with their constituents and whether they push the action items that the majority demand. Climate change is one of the most important issues facing our country, and a vast majority of Americans want to see concrete actions now. I believe that our current elected representative has failed in his job to address climate change, so I support the election of Kara Eastman for Congress.
My current representative, Don Bacon, has a difficult time incorporating the wishes of his constituents or even responding to their requests of him. For example, I met with someone from his office on a legislative visit a few years ago to discuss environmental degradation and legislative pieces meant to aid in solving the climate crisis. There was little to no follow up from his office about the representative’s actions on this issue or what Don Bacon would do to push and/or write legislation to help solve our climate crisis. The only thing that my group received was a generic letter written by an assistant, which does not classify as engagement with constituents. True consideration of a representative should be shown through consistent outreach and support of other organizations in the community that you were elected to represent.
As Creighton students, we are called to create change in our world and advocate for justice. As women and men for and with others, we must advocate for those that live within marginalized communities which are the most severely affected by climate change. These communities are disproportionately more susceptible to illness, extreme weather events (hurricanes, floods/droughts, desertification, and heat waves), and have fewer resources to counteract environmental changes.
The climate is changing, largely due to the use of fossil fuels which are increasing the levels of carbon dioxide within our atmosphere. If we allow our current society to run as it is, we will: run out of the resources (i.e. fossil fuels) that we so desperately crave and depend on, have caused significant warming killing millions due to extreme weather events, lack of water or food, and the wars that ensue over “necessary materials”, and we will have drastically altered the environments and ecosystems within our world. Severe warming occurred after humans began to burn fossil fuels during the industrialization of our world causing large releases of C02 in the atmosphere, but we never stopped to think about the harms we were having on the world.
Now we must reconsider our ancestors’ previous actions and recognize that our actions must support change to sustain the Earth, our common home. We can no longer let climate denial be a part of our society. One such denier is Representative Don Bacon who has been quoted as saying: “the evidence is clear that there has been an increase in temperature. It’s always a little bit debatable how much is the human element versus cyclical…I don’t like the hyperventilating, and all the anger out there.” Our generation’s fears for our futures are being realized but little to no action has been taken by our own representatives. With a current environmental scorecard of only 34%, Omaha’s environmental representation isn’t occurring more than half of the time. To give you the actual number, within his time in office, he has voted 14 times for the environment and against it 85 times. Our representative does not care about our future if he votes in such a way.
As a senior, currently completing my Environmental Science degree, an advocate for justice within our world, a constituent of Don Bacon’s, and as a supporter of politicians who support those within their community and world, I call on each of you to no longer support politicians like Don Bacon who do not have our best interests at heart.
In order to promote changes within the society and world we live in, everyone needs to get a proper education, especially in the science concerning environmental action and the current harms our world faces, significant reformation within our societal policies and legislation, and sustainable action must be implemented and habituated. If you support candidates like Kara Eastman, who have these goals in mind and our interests at heart, there is hope for our futures and for future generations. I know that her intentions are pure and for the people of Omaha because I have personally worked on her campaign. She made sure that every person within her office felt heard and would incorporate their ideas, acting as a true representative of Omaha. She has connected large organizations, brought hope to our community and wants to see change for everyone in our community, not only those that are rich or living within the suburbs. Change must occur in our community but that will only be possible with forward thinking individuals with an interest in bettering their community and themselves. Kara is a role model for students like us at Creighton and should be supported since she advocates for our futures and our future kids.