By Opinion & Editorial Editor James Mellen
On September 21st 2019 representative of Massachusetts 4th congressional districts Joe Kennedy announced his decision to run for senate against incumbent Massachusetts senator Ed Markey. Only minutes after Kennedy’s announcement of his senate race, Ed Markey challenged Kennedy to a climate debate, Kennedy has yet to respond to this challenge.
Not only should Kennedy and Markey have a climate debate, but they should have it here at Umass Dartmouth.
For context, humanity has ten years to stop climate change before there are tremendous consequences for the human race. In a good world, this would be enough to prompt the major political parties of the world’s wealthiest country to debate fiercely the way that they are going to combat climate change. Unfortunately we live in hell, and as a result one political party is debating about if climate change is real and the other is debating on if they should do anything about it.[Text Wrapping Break]Ed Markey wasn’t the first person to mention a climate debate, the Sunrise movement pushed for a presidential climate debate earlier this year. The DNC decided against hosting one for their primary candidates, and during the fourth DNC primary debate not a single question was asked about climate change (luckily there was twenty minutes dedicated to discussing friendship).
Climate change is an impending threat to the American way of life, voters who are concerned with climate change have a right to know where the candidates they are going to vote for stand in regard to climate change. The integrity of our democracy is based on the civic engagement of an informed voting block. The best way to have a voting block that is informed on where Kennedy and Markey stand on climate change is to have a climate debate. So that they can explain where they stand on climate change, and why that position is better than their opponent.
Since the introduction of the Green New Deal, climate policy has been married to labor policy. The Green New Deal promises to create millions of new jobs, while transitioning to a green economy. There are many Americans who are either jobless or are in need of a job that pays more. This is another reason why there should be a debate over climate change between Joe Kennedy and Ed Markey.
Umass Dartmouth is the perfect place to hold this debate. UmassD is located between Fall River and New Bedford, two Massachusetts cities that are very economically depressed. Policy like the Green New Deal would fix this by creating thousands of jobs in the region.
It goes deeper than just jobs, New Bedford is one of the biggest ports in the country, and fishing dominates the local economy. In the coming years climate change is going to destroy this entire industry. Moreover, as glaciers continue to melt the shore line is going to rise, this will be completely devastating for the south coast. Within the past month a massive rainstorm temporarily put out the power grid and Umass Dartmouth was left without electricity. Events like this are going to continue to happen as the effects of climate change continue to affect weather cycles.
Finally, the culture at Umass Dartmouth fits in with the climate debate perfectly. Sustainability is the most popular minor here on campus. There have been multiple different clubs that focus on a green future here on campus like The green navigators and the Sunrise hub on campus. Joe Kennedy and Ed Markey need a place to debate, why not debate in the region of the state which is in the most need of hard climate action.