I am a female, I am a young Republican, and I believe in climate change. There are conflicting stereotypes in the preceding sentence and that’s the point of this article.
Recently, I find that my party is the focus of criticism, both from Democrats and the media wishing to categorize all people of my party as part of the problem, not the solution concerning climate change. Many dismiss my voice simply because they view my party affiliation as archaic in thought and dismissive of scientific facts. And President Trump’s exit from the Paris climate pact certainly hasn’t helped my party’s reputation on climate change. However, as a Republican, and more importantly, as a human being living on this Earth, I recognize that our planet is experiencing a rapid change in climate and this change demands our immediate attention.
Time is unforgiving and time is not on our side. Our inability to listen and effectively communicate with one another eliminates much-needed solutions and divides us. But, climate change sees no division. It does not target individuals based on their party affiliation, race, gender or access to wealth. It affects all who live on this Earth and the fact remains the same: climate change means more than politics.
The first step to solving a problem is to recognize that there is one. Many would argue I have no basis for these claims, and that Earth has undergone numerous changes in climate since its creation. However, scientific studies, including those from NASA, outline in clear terms the unprecedented climate change our Earth is experiencing and the vast majority of reputable scientists agree with these findings.
We trust scientists to tell us when the sun and moon are in perfect alignment for a solar eclipse. We trust their successful efforts to put a man on the moon. We depend on scientists to develop cures for disease, immunizations for our children and to map the course of a hurricane. But, we ignore them when they provide concrete evidence proving our planet’s rapid change in climate. Maybe we pay attention to their findings when the result is advantageous, interesting or immediate to us. Perhaps we struggle with climate change’s truth because it means sacrifice, hard decisions and change. It’s easier to ignore a problem rather than address it, but this inability, or fear, to work towards solutions will create permanent consequences.
I’m proud to be a Republican. Traditionally, my party has fought for a strong military and limited government. We preach fiscal responsibility because we don’t want today’s debts to become tomorrow’s burden. But the most important legacy we can leave for future generations is a healthy planet.
For years, Democrats and Republicans have stood firm against one another. Some of this posturing seems to be for the sake of making things harder for the opposing side. Neither party has compromised nor listened to what the other has to say with an open mind. From where I sit, winning seems more important than solutions. But, we must work together to address a problem that affects all of us, not only Republicans and Democrats, but anyone who calls Earth “home.”
We must act now so that our children’s children may enjoy a world that is healthy and hopeful. But in order to do so, we must listen, we must learn, and we must change.
You can follow Lizzie on Twitter @LizzieMesser