Bernie Sanders’ National Town Hall On Climate Solutions Featured Young Mountain West Activist

Roughly a third of Americans said climate change played into their voting decisions in the last four years. Other than Colorado, voters in the Mountain West are even less interested in the issue. Bernie Sanders is trying to change that. He hosted an online town hall on the topic Monday night.

The conversation between scientists, politicians, and activists about climate change solutions was live-streamed from the halls of the Senate. It included an appearance from Colorado indigenous youth activist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez.

18-year old Martinez is a plaintiff on two ongoing lawsuits, one federal and one state. The suits argue that the government is violating the rights of young people by failing to curb climate change.

Martinez pointed out that, “historically it has been politically risky to stand up to the fossil fuel powers.” But he said, “Young people in the world today have a different understanding and perspective on the world, the perspective of pushing the agenda so that it is politically risky to not stand up to the fossil fuel powers.”

Martinez also echoed one of the other panelists, incoming Senator Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, about the need for what they’re calling a “Green New Deal,” which would be an effort to create good paying jobs in the clean energy industry.  

According to the Yale Program on Climate Communication, the breakdown of voters in the Mountain West region who say global warming is very important to their voting decisions is as follows:

Colorado - 36%

Utah - 32%

Montana - 30%

Idaho - 28%  

Wyoming - 27%

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.