The leader of the local chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Ellen Berkowitz, urges others to speak out against climate change before it’s too late.
“Worldwide, climate change has implications for increased migration, civil unrest and decreased food and water availability,” Berkowitz said. “We need to act now.”
According to Berkowitz, the effects of climate change can also be seen on a statewide level.
“We’re the sixth fastest warming state in the country, based on average annual temperatures since 1970,” Berkowitz said. “Sea level rise on the [New Jersey] coast is double the national average.”
Citizens’ Climate Lobby is an international climate group that prioritizes environmental issues.
The organization believes that the best solution to the issue is the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. This act would put a price on carbon, starting with a small fee that increases over time.
Berkowitz admits there are other similar bills, but believes that the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is still the best solution.
“There are other carbon pricing bills in the House and Senate,” Berkowitz said. “We support this bill because we feel it is the most effective, transparent and fair. It is the only one with bipartisan support and has the most cosponsors of any bill.”
The bill now has 80 cosponsors. Mikie Sherrill who represents part of Montclair, New Jersey still has not cosponsored the bill.
The group is still trying to gather more support through meetings, phone calls and letters. Berkowitz believes that college students play a crucial role in solving climate change. She shared some ways Montclair State University students can get involved.
“Speaking up is critical and then amplify your voice by joining a group,” Berkowitz said. “With others you’re louder, more effective and supported. You’ll meet like-minded people and will probably have fun. Young people are on the front line. You and your descendants will be affected by what will come.”
She also recommended writing or calling representatives, tweeting, writing a letter to the editor of a local news organization or calling a local radio station.
Sam Milone, a freshman television and digital media major, argued that citizens need to take responsibility for the climate crisis, rather than viewing it as a government issue.
“I think we should put less emphasis on what the government should do for climate change and focus on what we, as individuals, can do to solve climate change,” Milone said.
Bettina Rosario, a freshman English major, stressed the need to work together to fight climate change.
“My actions alone aren’t enough to help prevent climate change from worsening,” Rosario said. “We need to take care of our planet because as cliche as it is, there is no planet ‘B.’ This is all we have.”