As a generation, we are incredibly fortunate to be living in this time filled with great technological advances. This technology has created many benefits, but it has also given us the power to destroy our environment as we know it.
Climate change is upon us, and we must engage and confront this problem. Currently, in Durban, South Africa, the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference is taking place. One of the main focuses of this meeting is to create another worldwide plan on reducing emissions in order to control climate change. The current agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, ends in 2012. If meaningful change is going to happen, a more binding and powerful agreement must be made.
Countries must work together to come to an agreement. The U.S. is among Afghanistan, Andorra and South Sudan as the only nations yet to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. As the second largest contributor in the world to greenhouse gas emissions, it’s very critical that we cooperate with other countries and set a worldwide example in cutting our emissions.
One of the major reasons why the U.S. has yet to do this is the effect of corporate special interests in our political system. Our politicians are allowed to take absurd amounts of money in campaign donations. Many of these donations come from corporations like British Petroleum, Exxon Mobile and Chevron. When these same politicians refuse to cut emissions, it’s not too hard to follow the money trail.
These corporations seem intimidating, but we as citizens can work to change their impact on politicians. We should fight for clean and fair elections so our politicians work us, not the special interests of corporations. If you’re interested in getting involved with fighting for the people, Democracy Matters is a student group on campus that works to fight against big money’s grip on our political system.
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