Bernie Sanders talks climate crisis at Des Moines event


Columnist Olivia Rasmussen argues Bernie Sanders has been a candidate who has consistently stuck with their goals and beliefs. Rasmussen uses direct quotes from Sanders to support her point. 

Anna Olson

People crowded into the Bell Center at Drake University for the Climate Crisis Summit hosted by Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign Saturday.

This event featured a “Unite Behind the Science” presentation on the scientific evidence for climate change, a group of panelists and keynote addresses by Rep. Jeff Kurtz, D-Fort Madison; Naomi Klein, a social activist; Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; and Sanders.

Some of the individuals in proximity to the event were self-identified supporters of President Donald Trump. The Trump supporters occupied space outside the entrance with pro-Trump flags and signs.

“Climate change is a hoax,” said Marcia Hora, a co-founder of the Iowa Grassroots Coalition. 

Hora said she came to the event not only because of her beliefs on climate change but also because of the Green New Deal.

“They’ve come out full-blown with this Green New Deal,” Hora said. “And nobody says how they are gonna pay for it.”

Inside the event, Ocasio-Cortez said otherwise.

Ocasio-Cortez said with problems happening all over the world, there is already money being put towards paying for the Green New Deal.

The Sunrise Movement, a national movement whose Iowa branch is urging people to commit to caucus for candidates supporting the Green New Deal, also had representatives attending the event to advocate for the issue.

“I am passionate about change [on the climate issue] and hope to see that in the 2020 election,” said Daniel Loes, senior in management information systems. “It’s real and it’s now and everyone needs to do what they can to fight it.”

Sanders said the climate issue is important, as scientists have said there is less than 12 years to turn away from fossil fuels before some effects of climate change become irreversible.

“We cannot turn our backs to future generations,” Sanders said.

Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, said he came to the event because of the urgent need to act on climate change.

“It’s already hurting us today,” Hogg said.

This issue has many solutions that work but everyone needs to come together, Hogg said.

“Bring Americans together for strong national policy,” Hogg said. “There is something for everyone to do on this issue.”

The world must be brought together on the issue, Sanders said.

“We’ve got to pool our resources against the common enemy, which is climate change,” Sanders said.

Loes said “overall” the event was a good way to bring people together.

“It’s great to see so many people in the same room for a great cause,” Loes said.