Youth Visit Capitol Hill to School Lawmakers on Climate Change

A young marcher at the People's Climate March in New York City in September 2014. (Photo: Our Power Campaign)

Youth Visit Capitol Hill to School Lawmakers on Climate Change

First national poll of children on climate change found that 90 percent believe it is a man-made crisis

When asked if humans are the primary drivers behind global warming, nine out of ten kids responded: "Duh!"

The first-ever national poll of children about climate change, the results stand in stark contrast to the nine out of ten Republican senators who in January voted against an amendment which acknowledged that the crisis is man-made.

"Nine out of ten kids across America know that catastrophic climate change is impacting the air they breathe, the food they eat and the future they will inherit. And they know this is a crisis we're causing and can do something about it," said Terra Lawson-Remer, campaign director at global advocacy group Avaaz, which conducted the survey along with Ipsos.

"On the other hand," Lawson-Remer continued, nine out of ten Republican senators "are not only failing science class, they are failing our children."

Hoping to teach their lawmakers a thing or two about planetary science, six teenagers are going to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to visit with a dozen climate-denying senators including Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

"Scientists have noticed that this was a problem for a really long time, like, maybe 20 years ago? Longer than I've been alive," 16-year-old Nadia Sheppard told the New Republic.

And Bailey Recktenwald, 17, of Durham, N.C. agreed, adding: "As we release fossil fuels that have been trapped under our earth for millions and millions of years, we're going to warm the planet, and that's just from a 6th grade science level. It baffles me that these senators can't grasp that."

In January, the GOP-led Senate voted on a series of climate change amendments which addressed climate change. The most strongly worded, introduced by Hawai'i Democrat Brian Schatz, stated that climate change is real and that human activity--such as burning coal and oil--significantly contributes to it. Only five Republicans--Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), and Susan Collins (Maine)--joined all 45 Democrats in backing the measure.

"When our world's top scientists at NASA release information stating that humans are impacting the climate, I tend to believe them more," said Jack Levy, an 18-year-old student from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Avaaz along with AJ+, part of the Al Jazeera news network, will be documenting the teenagers' visit to Capitol Hill and produced this video on their mission.

Join Us: News for people demanding a better world

Common Dreams is powered by optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter makes the difference.

Your contribution supports this bold media model—free, independent, and dedicated to reporting the facts every day. Stand with us in the fight for economic equality, social justice, human rights, and a more sustainable future. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.