There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.
When responding to a question about federal subsidies to the fossil fuel companies Yang said, "I propose a Constitutional amendment that makes it a responsibility of the United States government to safeguard and protect our environment for future generations."
This is maybe the first admission by a major party candidate that slowing climate change will require an extreme paradigm shift in the way the economy is run and by extension much of our lives, and that it needs to be backed by law.
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This is not a new idea, back in October of 2018 New Jersey's legislature passed an amendment to its Declaration of Rights to include environmental law, which set the precedent for these kinds of ideas to be discussed on the national stage.
Simply speaking, a 'green' amendment to the constitution would enshrine proposals like the "Green New Deal" into the law of the land. The "Green New Deal" is a set of ideals introduced by New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and endorsed by many progressives, to overhaul the nation's economy to meet the challenges that global climate change poses to humanity.
Andrew Yang is a successful tech entrepreneur turned candidate whose big campaign idea up until now was the UBI, or universal basic income, a not so novel economic concept where a government guarantees a minimum amount of money to every citizen. In Yang's case it's $1,000 dollars every month to every eligible person. Learn more about the history of the concept here.
However, despite scoring a pretty sweet endorsement from futurist and part-time blowtorch enthusiast Elon Musk he is still seen as a long shot ever since entering the race in November 2017.
How weird that this should be a somewhat novel thing to say. https://t.co/KrClbraCbu
— Dan Carlin (@HardcoreHistory) August 10, 2019
According to FiveThirtyEight.com, polls show that he is currently hovering at just around 5% nationally, well behind front-runners like Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. So let's not rev up our hope-fueled fantasy engines just yet.
But that doesn't mean that the ideals that Yang and other candidates stand for, like the green new deal, are unpopular.
According to an NPR/Marist poll conducted recently it looks like 63% of national adults support it, while 86% of Democrats and 64% are in favor.
That's a decent majority of people in support of change despite conservative attacks on how it will take away our hamburgers. (it won't take away our hamburgers, btw)
With the wild fires and marked increase category 5 hurricanes we can no longer ignore the threat of climate change to us and the planet.