The first night of the Democratic National Convention was truly a mixed bag for the climate movement.
On one hand, we saw aggressive protests from the beginning against the TPP, coming on the heels of Tim Kaine’s quick reversal of his support just hours after being added to the ticket. We also saw progressive heroes Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders rail against the impacts of fossil fuel money in politics and stress a need for change.
However, before being able to hear Representative Keith Ellison use the phrase “climate justice” in his speech – which was notable – I sat through about six hours of speeches that all but ignored climate entirely.
The climate movement has taken serious strides this primary cycle. We shifted the Democratic nominee sharply left on our issues, and we’ve forced the Democratic Party as a whole to do a functional 180 on issues like fracking, which Obama bragged about expanding at the convention 4 years ago in Charlotte. The Democratic ticket opposes the TPP, wants to heavily regulate fracking (and hopefully ban it), and opposition to fracked gas pipelines increases every day – but we still have a long way to go.
As a student at the DNC, I want to see action. Even as progressives rail against fossil fuel money in politics, they share a stage with those who propagate the industry’s control over our politics by continuing to accept contributions. In 2016, we need to show Democrats that accepting money from the industry that destroys our planet is unacceptable.
Drew Shannon is a student at the University of Mary Washington and a fellow with 350 Action.