(Posted November 10, 2017)

Eleven Juniata College students will travel to Washington, D.C. on November 13 and 14 to join with hundreds of volunteers from Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) to press Congress to enact policies that reduce future risks of climate change.

 

“I may be studying chemistry, but at Juniata I am also learning how to be a better citizen. Learning how to engage in meaningful conversations and find common ground about tough subjects like climate change with my representatives is a tremendously valuable skill.”  --Kaila Topping '19.

The Juniata CCL volunteers will travel to Washington for an event titled “Congressional Education Day” (Nov. 13-14). The volunteers will attend a training session on Nov. 13 and then team with other CCL members to visit to Capitol Hill on Nov. 14 to meet with Senators and Representatives.

 

At the top of the volunteers’ agenda is asking congressional leaders to support a carbon-pricing system known as Carbon Fee and Dividend. This policy places a steadily-rising fee on the carbon-dioxide content of fossil fuels, creating the economic incentive to accelerate the transition to cleaner energy and transportation. Revenue from the fee would be returned to all households in equal shares, thereby shielding families from the economic impact of rising energy costs associated with the fee.

 

“Recycling and composting only gets you so far. We need real legislative action in order to protect our environment,” says Elisha Serotta, a Juniata sophomore from Illinois. “We have gotten to the point that individual waste reduction is not enough. We need to stand united as a country in pursuit of decreasing our carbon footprint.”

 

“I may be studying chemistry, but at Juniata I am also learning how to be a better citizen. Learning how to engage in meaningful conversations and find common ground about tough subjects like climate change with my representatives is a tremendously valuable skill,” says Kaila Topping, a junior from Harrisburg, PA.

 

“We think this is the solution both Democrats and Republicans can support,” said CCL Executive Director Mark Reynolds. “In particular, Republicans will find this proposal appealing because it relies on the power of the free market rather than regulation to achieve its goals. Returning all the money to households, making it revenue-neutral, prevents it from making the government bigger.”

 

The CCL volunteers note that one encouraging development for climate legislation is the formation and growth of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in the House of Representatives, which now includes 60 members, 30 Republicans and 30 Democrats.

 

“It’s time for Republicans and Democrats to set aside their differences and address the climate problem head on. Climate doesn’t have partisanship; every individual is affected by climate change, ” said Kayla Shellenhamer, a sophomore from New Oxford, PA. “If they don’t, we’ll reach a point where we are unable to adapt to the changes that are happening.”

 

Aislinn Olthoff, a sophomore from Silver Spring, MD, summed up the hopes of these young advocates: “On a weekly basis, I see devastating reminders of the effects of climate change in the news. I’m hoping that our actions can help bring about the meaningful change that is so urgently needed.”

 

The Juniata Climate Advocates, a  registered student organization connected to the State College, Pa., chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby, is supporting the students’ activities in Washington, D.C. 

Contact Gabe Welsch at welschg@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.