Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

ISU students feel optimistic after a trip by climate change lobbyists to Washington

By meerna Jun18,2024
ISU students feel optimistic after a trip by climate change lobbyists to Washington

Three Illinois State University students traveled to Washington, D.C. to talk to members of Congress about ways to reduce the effects of climate change.

The Citizens’ Conference of the Climate Lobby was attended by over 1,000 students from high school to college and from all over the country. One day was devoted to learning about the value of the climate conference. Then it was a day in the lobby. Hundreds of meetings have been scheduled with members and staff of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.

Rebecca Blood, an ISU senior from Aurora studying political science and anthropology, attended three meetings with Illinois representative staff.

“Overall, it was a really great experience,” Blood told WGLT’s Sound Ideas. “It was a little stressful to be in such an official place and it was my first time lobbying, so the first time I lobbied to be in DC it was a little scary, but it was a very good experience.”

Conversations with these employees included details of the Prove It Act. The bill would direct the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct and report the results of a study that would identify the greenhouse gas emissions of certain U.S. products and then compare them to products manufactured abroad. The bill is sponsored by Senator Christopher Coons, a Democrat from Delaware. The bill, which was filed last year, is still pending in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

According to Shya Whiting, a political science and pre-law student from Markham, a Chicago suburb, even though it was a Democrat-sponsored bill, Republicans also left the door open to students.

“It showed that this is not a divisive issue,” Whiting said. “It’s something that will impact everyone.”

A diverse group of people standing in front of a desk with many flags behind them, including several American flags



Mateusz Hartman

A gathering of students (left to right), including Andra Pligavko of Oakland, California, Ben Nagy of Chicago, Kyleigh Weir, Rebecca Blood and Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteer Matt Hartman of Bloomington, met with Legislative Director Greg Warren of the office of U.S. Representative Darin LaHood (third from left) during his trip to Washington

Bipartisanship is one of the values ​​that the climate lobby wanted to convey to students during their visit. This impressed Blood so much that he believes it could lead to more fruitful climate discussions on the ISU campus.

“I think it would really resonate on our campus if it showed that we can talk about what’s going on with the climate crisis in a way that speaks to both sides, and we can come together and find solutions that way,” Krew said.

Whiting also left Washington with optimism. She said many of the workers she met were excited that young people were lobbying on behalf of their districts. She added that the event showed her that there are others who are willing to make an effort to protect the climate.

“We don’t feel as hopeless as we did before because there are actually people out there and we’re not alone,” Whiting said.

ISU student Kyleigh Weir, a pre-law major, also attended the conference.

By meerna

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