Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 4
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Climate change brings students to the polls

The final push for one million votes is on. But it’s not Obama, McCain or even Nader gunning for the votes: this time it’s all about climate change.

Whitman students have teamed up with Power Vote, a national organization linked with Campus Climate Challenge, to try and get young voters to make climate change a top priority in the election.

“We’re trying to get 900 people to sign on here,” said sophomore Ari Frink as he peddled bright green postcards emblazoned with white windmills to potential signees.

“The big goal, nationwide, is one million youth voters, age 18 to 29, to fight for green jobs, clean and renewable energy, climate change solutions and to pressure the government to carry out those solutions.”

For the past several weeks, students working on the Power Vote campaign have stormed dorms, tabled in Reid and spoken in classes to help gather pledges and raise climate change awareness. When voters sign one of the green postcards they “pledge to make clean, just energy a top priority in [their] vote this election.”

Despite the fact that environmental concerns and climate change solutions have traditionally been more aligned with the Democratic Party, organizers deny that Power Vote prefers one candidate over another.

“Power Vote doesn’t endorse any candidates,” said Frink. “Both presidential candidates have climate change plans. It doesn’t assume people will vote Democratic. So long as climate is an important issue to them and so long as they’re willing to push whoever’s in office to find solutions: that’s what Power Vote’s all about.”

Power Vote organizers were adamant that the campaign is about putting climate change solutions and youth empowerment, not political finagling.

But can Power Vote actually influence the outcome of the election or is it simply the same people who would be involved either way?

“If the citizens of the United States don’t say anything, it’s going to be a lost opportunity, and Power Vote is all about seizing that opportunity and putting pressure on the government,” said senior Page Taliaferro, who volunteers with the Power Vote campaign.

“We’re at one million more people than the baby boomers, and here’s something that our generation can really care about,” said Frink. “It just means we really have to speak up, send letters, show politicians that they’re accountable.”

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