How North Carolina Just Proved It Is Not Smarter Than a Fifth Grader

A North Carolina bill was recently introduced (and shot down) that limited projected sea level rise to only represent linear growth. Basically, the bill said that “the sea level has risen x inches in the past 50 years, so it’ll only rise x inches in the following 50 years.” Right. 

Following this logic, I’ll be 14’ 5” tall by 68. Start retrofitting retirement homes, North Carolina. Humor aside, this bill is indicative of an alarmingly nonchalant approach to climate change that has been trendy in politics and American culture. Americans are notoriously wasteful. While we only make up 4% of the global population, we contribute 25% of CO2 emissions.

Yet for some reason there’s still doubt that climate change is an issue, at least for now. A recent study of American voters (there’s the caveat, only about 60% of Americans vote) shows that only 52% of Americans identify climate change as a problem, with a 3% margin of error. There’s an unfortunate correlation between views on climate change and political allegiance, which is only magnified by our representatives. The polarization in congress is mimicked by the less informed—data shows that the less one knows about an issue (specifically climate change), the more likely one is to blindly back their representative.

The fact that climate change is a political issue is ridiculous. Fact: It is getting warmer. There is an overwhelming amount of science that underlines this. However, money matters, and 3 of the top 10 Fortune 500 companies are big oil. Oil is one of the leading industries in America, and the world. That by itself is what gets climate change wrapped up in political rhetoric. They’re defending the status quo without looking forward. Looking forward, I guess, is our job.

So this is my cry to millennials, to Gen X’ers who want a change, and to anyone with beachfront property. To make a change, to be a leader in the global community, climate change can’t be stuck in committee. We can’t let our political system slow us down on our path towards green living. We’ve already reached record levels of CO2; what other records do we have to break before we are satisfied? Look past the politics and at the facts, the numbers, and the statistics. It’s getting hotter, and now it’s time to put our nation to the test. A truly united United States could lead the charge in climate change, but we just have to lead our politicians first.