A diverse panel of climate activists agreed bold action and bilateral collaboration are necessary as the United States takes its first steps in reclaiming climate change leadership amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has highlighted the severity of the climate change crisis, said representatives from three climate activist organizations during the virtual America’s Role in the World conference held by Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies Dec. 1-2.
They agreed the Biden administration should take more ambitious action with regards to the fossil fuel industry, the root of the climate change problem, to avoid a “climate catastrophe,” but differed on what steps to take next.
“I think that there is a greater understanding of how dire this issue is, and we’ve all gotten a little taste this year of what it looks like to experience a full-scale societal existential emergency,” said Katie Eder, co-founder and executive director of Future Coalition. “I think as a society we need to look around, and it’s not just about the government. It’s about every bad actor who’s continuing to enable the fossil fuel industry and calling them out for what they are, as villains of this story that are funding and are continuing to enable the destruction of our future.”
Eder discussed the future of climate activism during the Biden administration and beyond with co-panelists Catherine Coleman Flowers, founder of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice, and Kiera O’Brien, founding president of Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividends. The discussion was moderated by Janet McCabe, professor of practice at the IU McKinney School of Law and director of the IU Environmental Resilience Institute.