A rebuttal of consumer-based environmentalism

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This Earth Day, we at the Virginia Youth Climate Cooperative’s Science Research Team want to challenge some commonly-held beliefs about individuals’ role in saving the planet from the perils of climate change.

From childhood, many of us are told that we have the power to save the planet just by reducing, reusing, and recycling, and that it is up to us to save the planet. Environmental problems are, after all, the fault of certain people — litterers, people who leave the faucet on while they brush their teeth, etc. — who are apathetic and/or evil.

Of course, I’m exaggerating a…

Shweta Varandani

Growing up as an Indian-American in Virginia took a significant toll on my personality and the way I see the world. Surrounded by Ugg boots, Vineyard Vines, and Jeep Wranglers, limited my scope to things my classmates enjoyed.

Northern Virginia is a relatively diverse part of the state, and I’m thankful I grew up in this region, but most of the diversity was whitewashed diversity. It caused me to have internal conflicts on a daily basis.

I changed my personality depending on who I was with and where I was. With my friends, I spoke English with my…

Isabel Brittin

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Leading into the November elections, and even the weeks following, America’s political climate was tense as voters anxiously waited for results to be declared. However, with all states having finalized their votes, former Vice President Joe Biden has clinched the Presidency with a total of 306 electoral votes.

Already Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have outlined their four of their top priorities: tacking COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity, and climate change. …

Lauren Lukacs

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Through the rise of COVID-19, it is no shock that the sales of medical masks have increased 319% from March 2019 to May 2020. According to a webinar hosted by the Green Party in July, we are disposing of 129 billion face masks and 65 billion plastic gloves per month. This was not always the case.

Before the 1980s personal protective equipment or PPE was made to be reusable and sustainable. Production companies soon switched to making PPE single-use to increase sales.

By making PPE single-use, it meant it had to be purchased more often and in bulk. Due to…

Shweta Varandani

Photo by Dave Hoefler on Unsplash

Recent legislation passed by the Indian government has rattled New Delhi and other states all across India. Such bills were passed that turned millions of people’s lives around and have caused immense heartache across the nation.

The problem with these bills is that farmers lose their guaranteed minimum support price for produce and the government isn’t accountable for regulating those prices anymore. India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and his party have also made the closely-knit agriculture sector that protected farmers’ rights, openly available to free-market sources.

The government working directly with private market setups to set prices on food will…

Keiko Tani

As fracking has become more prevalent in the media, President Joe Biden’s plans around the subject have become a topic of discussion among Democrats and Republicans alike.

Fracking, the process of extracting oil or gas from the Earth by injecting high pressure, has become a heavily debated topic as it encompasses bipartisan issues like climate change, pollution, sustainability, and more.

Biden has expressed multiple times that he doesn’t plan to ban fracking, but the question arises- is that an effective stance to take with the increasingly substantial threat of climate change?

In order to break down this matter more considerably…

Vivian Klosk

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One of the most pressing climate issues we face as a nation and as a state is the management of resources in comparison to how the use of these resources affects different communities. Within Virginia, one of the unique challenges we face in maintaining that balance is within the coal industry.

Although the Virginia coal mining industry brings in almost 2% of the national total each year, it only generates about $22 million in revenue for the state, and employs less than 3000 people. In contrast to the approximately 45.9 million tons of coal mined in southern Virginia 30 years…

Caroline Moore

When talking about Progressive policies, the Green New Deal, or GND, often comes up. Many see it as the best policy to halt the detrimental effects of climate change, while others see it as an expensive solution to a problem that’s not real.

Whenever people say Green New Deal they are usually referring to a bill in Congress that was introduced by Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Markey. It was inspired by a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC called “Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius”. …

The Virginia Youth Climate Cooperative (VAYCC) is an intersectional youth organization focused on achieving climate justice through direct action, legislative justice, education, and divestment. It is our goal to work with the people and the representatives of Virginia to fight for climate action in order to combat the ongoing climate crisis. The Policy Director of our organization, Tallulah Costa, has worked with her legislative assistants (Mrudula Rapaka, Ananya Rajesh, Abigail Connelly, and Mahima Suresh) as well as the Science Research Co-Directors, Lalitha Aiyar and Nouran Alim, to develop five new policy proposals for the Virginia General Assembly to consider for…

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Henry Haggard and Akshara Santoshkumar, VAYCC student ambassadors, have interviewed the former director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Virginia, Claire Gastañaga as part of VAYCC’s voter education initiative.

Accessibility has become a major issue during the pandemic due to the shift from mainly in-person to absentee voting and the subsequent USPS controversy. According to Gastañaga polling locations have disproportionate access where many counties in Virginia have only one absentee ballot box. Many of the economically disadvantaged and minorities are forced to travel up to three hours by bus to vote! …

Virginia Youth Climate Cooperative

A Medium Publication by VAYCC, an intersectional youth-led activism organization fighting for climate justice in Virginia.

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