<b><font color="#008000"><center>The Quest for Climate Justice</font>
Somebody once told me that in order to live life to its fullest, you need to "be the buffalo." A buffalo will run towards a thunderstorm. It stays alongside its herd, when other cattle scurry away in fear and leave their sick to die. Being the buffalo means taking strides into the unknown for the benefit of all. This is why I am an environmental activist — we have to take that first radical leap towards the storm, and we need to include the entire herd, if we are to repair the [[Earth]].Climate justice is a multifaceted endeavor to dismantle the tyranny of fossil fuel tycoons. We owe the Earth our utmost gratitude for her hospitality, but the plutocratic elite keep abusing our planet and her people for profit. The economy of the United States has been rooted in the fossil fuel industry since the 19th century, and consumption of fossil fuels has increased in recent years. In fact, American dependence on oil imports grew from 24% in 1970 to 65% by the end of 2005 <a href="http://www.forbes.com/home/energyspecial/2005/11/15/energy-oil-exxonmobil-cx_pt_1116energy_tertzakian.html"> ^</a>.
Our dependency on oil and other fossil fuels for energy generation continues to compromise our democracy in the interests of billionaires, and continues to destroy our planetary ecosystem. The United States has pursued an imperialistic agenda within the Middle East for oil, waging war to seize [[fossil fuels]] from foreign countries <a href="http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/308-12/16561-focus-cheneys-halliburton-made-395-billion-on-iraq-war"> ^</a>.
Fossil fuels are suffocating our planet, however they are not the only cause of anthropogenic climate change. Animal agriculture is responsible for the majority of our climatic and environmental catastrophe. The industrialization of cattle for meat and dairy production wastes ⅓ of the planet's fresh water <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/110/52/20888.full">^</a>. Here, in the United States alone, livestock accounts for 55% of [[water waste]] <a href="http://www.cspinet.org/EatingGreen/pdf/arguments4.pdf">^</a>. Compare this to domestic usage, which is only 5% of water waste <a href="http://www.cspinet.org/EatingGreen/pdf/arguments4.pdf">^</a>.Water isn't the only type of problematic waste. Nitrous oxide, for example, is 296 times more destructive than carbon dioxide, and animal agriculture is responsible for 65% of nitrous oxide emissions <a href="http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e00.htm">^</a>. Cattle in the United States collectively produce 7 million pounds of excrement every minute <a href="http://www.epa.gov/region9/animalwaste/problem.html">^</a>, alongside 150 billion gallons of methane per day <a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/cow-farts-have-larger-greenhouse-gas-impact-previously-thought-methane-pushes-climate-change-1487502">^</a>. In fact, livestock account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide <a href="http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6294">^</a> per year, which equates to 51% of greenhouse gas emissions. This number has a very straightforward consequence: animal agriculture is the leading cause of climate change <a href="http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6294">^</a>. To enact climate justice, we must reduce our meat consumption on a global scale — and it starts with the [[individual]]. We must not forget that climate change is met with a myriad of intersectional injustices. Without a viable planet, we have no battlefield to tackle these intersections. Environmental racism, for instance, continues to be an epidemic, as illustrated by the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan. People of color, indigenous people, and folks living in low-income communities are most vulnerable to environmental injustice. When corporations and governments plan where to designate pipelines, landfills, and waste treatment plants, they tend to select the least affluent neighborhoods with higher populations of black, indigenous, or Latinx folks. Corporations like Nestle, whose CEO has declared that <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gfy6LL-8sTg">water must not be a human right</a>, profiteer exponentially from selling bottled water to cities like [[Flint]], while our government continues to poison the water supply within communities of color. We must enact environmental justice from an anti-racist, anti-colonialist, and anti-classist perspective.
In the case of Flint, Governor Snyder was complicit in switching the city’s water source to the toxic Flint River because it was more affordable, and as a result, families became sick with lead poisoning <a href="http://michaelmoore.com/10FactsOnFlint/">^</a>. Flint’s population is predominantly African American, and [[the government’s]] actions demonstrated that saving money is worth more than black lives.Our government prioritizes profit over people by serving the interests of billionaires and fossil fuel tycoons <a href="http://grist.org/climate-energy/how-citizens-united-paved-the-way-for-big-oils-bribes/">^</a>. Politicians enable corporations to capitalize at the cost of our planet's longevity and that of her residents. We are living in a plutocratic republic in which the State has become synonymous with the Corporate Elite.
Indeed, it is capitalism, by nature, that institutionalizes racism, classism, xenophobia, and misogyny while destroying the very biosphere of our planet. Ecosystems are deforested for animal agriculture and watersheds are contaminated with toxic waste — all while the media blindfolds the masses under a shroud of shadows in a process called 'greenwashing'. Nations wage genocidal wars across the world, profiting from colonialism and imperialism to steal fossil fuels from foreign lands <a href="http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/308-12/16561-focus-cheneys-halliburton-made-395-billion-on-iraq-war">^</a>. We poison our planet and our democracy, watching blood drench the soil for oil.
It is time to say, "enough!" and abolish the institutions that engender anthropogenic climate change. We can have climate justice, intersecting with feminism, anti-racism, and ecocentrism. People of all genders, ethnicities, races, and religions: it is time to stand in solidarity with communities across the planet. Let's recognize our common humanity, and reclaim power for an equitable and sustainable world. [[The revolution]] will begin when we want it to.Historically, college campuses have been the platform for igniting social change. Activism on campuses has lead to monumental changes in the United States — and the world at large — from calling an end to the Vietnam War to challenging a zeitgeist of segregation in the 1960's. 2016 is no different. Our generation is challenged by fundamental problems in our society, with climate change as the foremost dilemma facing the world today. It is up to us, as citizens of the world, to unite in solidarity and tackle environmental destruction. College campuses are the academic and social powerhouses for enacting paradigm shifts. Students have an arsenal of intellectual resources at our disposal, and we need to use them. We must collaborate with one another, on both intra- and inter-campus scales, to catalyze national momentum. Once we recognize that every student has the ability to become an activist — to whatever extent one is able — then we can collectively [[change the world]]. It begins with you! Every student has a special skill that can be utilized for a larger cause: some people are more comfortable with organizing protests, whereas other people are more comfortable with communicating the revolution through art. Whatever your interest or ability, if you think creatively and imaginatively, you can apply your skill to supplement larger momentum. We need to empower one another with empathy; only then can we turn our dreams into reality.Change happens when ordinary people tune into the very passion that churns within their entire being. Change happens when we educate each other, unite, and take action to heal our planet from destruction. We have the power to transform the world and change the course of history. We can dismantle climate injustice by transforming our communities into microcosms of the world we wish to inherit — but we need to mobilize today. Sometimes we may underestimate the power of our own voices, but it's important to recognize that [[the world is still beautiful]].On days when I feel disempowered, I remember to be the buffalo. Max Ehrmann, a Depression-era poet, said it best: "With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful; Strive to be happy.<a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=2Tu3bScwKKAC&pg=PT237&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=false">^</a>"