Done with “Debates” on Climate

Helena, MT, wildfire
Smoke rises from a wildfire outside Helena, MT

The global movement to save our children’s future doesn’t have time for political games, or politicians calling for lukewarm, so-called “common sense” solutions.  

Students across the globe who are rising up and demanding the right to a future, are more informed and ready to lead than many centrist politicians, who seem to lack a basic understanding of the facts of the crisis–or if they register the facts, lack the passion and grit to fight for justice and a livable future, resting instead on the comfort of their mediocre talking points. To be fair, Republican leaders at this point don’t even have a pulse on the matter despite growing rumblings of Republican youth who are waking up to the fact that ideology doesn’t actually count for reality. More power to them. But back to the people we should count as ready to take action.

In a September 18 article in the Missoula Current, Senator Jon Tester offered that the global climate movement was “‘good for the democracy’ and said it could have a cumulative effect by pushing reluctant lawmakers into action….’We need to sit down and have a debate and figure out some common sense policies that will deal with climate change,’ Tester said.”

With all due respect Senator Tester, are you truly suggesting that your best first step–in addressing the greatest existential threat humanity has ever faced–is to call for a debate?

It’s an understatement to say that the time for debate is long gone. I am not really sure what the debate would have covered anyway. There’s no debate on the science of the climate crisis, and, while implementing them will take hard work and cooperation, the solutions are crystal clear. The only debate is who is willing to lead by telling the truth about the global crisis to the American people, and to Montanans in particular–we are a hotspot in the crisis after all–and our ways of life are set to go up in smoke. You know it and most of your fellow agriculturalists know it too.

The Current comments come some months after Tester was challenged by Sunrise Movement organizer Sara Blessing on whether or not he supported the Green New Deal. At a town hall meeting in April, he responded, “I support the fact that we need to have a debate on climate change…I tell people I still farm and when I pull up to that fuel tank I don’t like pumping 200 gallons of diesel fuel into my truck… but I don’t have other options, give me options.” He should read the resolution, it’s vision for public investment and leveraging existing technologies is thorough. Give him options? Dear sir, give US options! Have you not read Jay Inslee’s efforts to translate the Green New Deal resolution into policy? Aren’t you charged with stewarding good ideas into law? 

Senator Tester, these soft-serve calls for a debate are wasting precious time. We are all called at this point in history to absorb the science and then lead from a place of truth; to be brave and stand for our country, our flag, our vision for a free people with the constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Don’t stand by with the Republican leaders and watch our Republic burn. Step up Senator, we all just worked very hard to re-elect you, the future rests in your hands, and your willingness to lead, not be afraid of the questions.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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About the author

Winona Bateman

Winona Bateman is a concerned Montana voter, founder of Montana group Families for a Livable Climate, wife, and mother to Ellis, who she hopes has a livable future.


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  • If one reads progressive articles, there is no need for a debate. However, if one goes to conservative sites, climate change is almost never mentioned, or if it is, it is to denigrate the individuals showing the impacts of climate change.

    What is needed is a multi-hour DEBATE, yes that word, on all tv channels and radio stations at the same time. When I say all, I mean the listeners of Fox, OAN, Rush and their ilk having to listen to facts about climate change.

    Some of the participants could be farmers fro Eastern Montana describing how they are now planting their spring wheat in the fall, though yields are done, but to insure that they get a harvestable crop.

    The case for climate change should be made by entities that are being affected. Use the droll scientific facts to challenge the opinions, or as they would say their facts, as having no basis.

    Climate change facts must force those individuals who do not want to believe into accepting that science trumps opinion.

    If scientists are speaking, their qualifications concerning climate education MUST be identified. Trying to separate the wheat from the chaff.

  • Great piece, Winona. Yep
    We are way past “debate”. The science is clear and the evidence is overwhelming. Anyone who is still in denial will not be convinced by any number of debates, however long. The window for action is very close to closing and politicians who say otherwise are more focused on the short term, myopic interests of their donors than they are the urgency to act. The “ten year” deadline is z deadline to get it done, not to get started. Since that timeframe was announced there have been several events that indicstd things are moving faster than predicted.

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