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Time for action on climate change

Although the weather outside this week may be frightful, UI environmental leaders came together this past weekend to talk about the dangers of climate change. While snowy winds blew outside Old Capitol mall, conversations inside the summit were hot. State and student senators came to the table to join business and environmental-science majors to discuss the importance of climate disruption.

The verdict: Time for talk is over. All parties agreed that the issue of climate change has moved beyond the stage of debate and to a time of action.

Last year alone, our nation spent $480 billion to clean up from storms that 97 percent of climate scientists agree were caused by climate change — imagine if we could have used that money to lower tuition costs.

The League of Conservation Voters Student Coalition is organizing a grass-roots network of college students and young professionals to spearhead a national movement to tackle this issue. Iowa holds a unique political power. Our caucuses set the stage for the national conversation of elections. Here, we have the power to launch the effort that will create substantial change, because if Iowans demand action on climate change, so will the nation. With the University of Iowa as our home base, the conservation coalition aims to take charge of this conversation and create the national movement on climate change that we so desperately need.

As millennials, we know the importance of taking action. Our generation has accomplished victories in other movements such as the striking down of Defense of Marriage Act and electing the first black president; our generation has shown that it has the power to tackle this crucial challenge. As Iowans, we understand that partisan parties lead to political gridlock and that Washington cannot make the change we need unless it is our voice that pushes them. The summit shows that our voices at the University of Iowa are united: Climate change is happening. Look at Katrina, at Sandy, at Haiyan.

It’s not a question of is it real but a question of what will we do to solve it?

Caroline Allen and Evan Wolfe

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