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As A Climate Activist, I’m Urging You To Vote For Our Earth This November

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Every year, Earth Month provides an important opportunity to recommit ourselves to the fight to save our climate. This year, it’s an even more important reminder that the very future of our planet is on the line this November. 

I was 12 years old when I first witnessed the devastating consequences of the climate crisis: I was visiting my parents’ home country of Iran when I looked up into the summer sky to count the stars. But instead of stars, I saw a veil of smog. It wasn’t long after that I learned what I saw in the sky that night was one of the many consequences of a human-manufactured crisis — a crisis that my generation is now forced to pick up the pieces of. 

As the founder of Climate Cardinals, a nonprofit that has grown into the world’s largest youth-led climate organization, I’m trying to do my part. Since that summer night, I’ve mobilized thousands of young people across the world to make the climate movement more accessible to everyone. In the process, I’ve learned a lot about how crucial it is for the United States to lead the way in the fight against climate change. And that requires the kind of leadership who can tackle the climate crisis head-on. 

Sophia Kianni?width=1024&height=1024&fit=cover&auto=webp
Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images for We The Planet

The stakes have never been higher. Right now, our generation faces quite literally an existential threat to our future: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his climate-denying cabinet. If you want to know what a second Trump presidency would be like, just look at his record: He calls climate change a “hoax,” slashed critical environmental protections and regulations, and sat idly by while leading scientists urged him to act. Trump and his supporters have actively railed against efforts to combat the climate crisis, all while cozying up to special interests like Big Oil and Big Gas — prioritizing profits over the health and safety of our planet and its people. 

If Trump wins this November, his track record makes it clear he’ll sabotage our country’s progress combating climate change. We’re running out of time to meet critical climate targets, and I believe re-electing President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris is our only hope. 

Although I don’t agree with every decision made by Biden and Harris, it’s crucial to acknowledge their substantial contributions to environmental legislation. From rejoining the Paris Agreement, a critical international accord aimed at addressing global warming; to prioritizing environmental justice, aiming for 40% of the benefits from federal investments in clean energy go to disadvantaged communities; to establishing the American Climate Corps, which offers thousands of young people the opportunity to work on environmental and conservation projects across the country — the Biden-Harris administration has enacted some of the most ambitious environmental and climate policies in U.S history. 

Biden Climate Summit?width=1024&height=1024&fit=cover&auto=webp
Photo by Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images

We stand to shatter substantial bipartisan progress if there is a shift in administrations. For example, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), passed under Biden-Harris, represents the largest bipartisan investment in clean energy and climate action ever. This lays the foundation for the future that our generation — and those who come after us — deserve, one that is sustainable, equitable, and affordable. But Trump will try to gut the IRA and roll back all this progress.

In the end, it is up to us. We have the power to build a brighter future for ourselves and for the generations that will follow by reelecting the Biden-Harris administration, leaders who are committed to confronting the challenges of our time with courage and determination. The stakes are too high for any of us to sit on the sidelines.

Sophia Kianni is the founder of Climate Cardinals, a Stanford University student, and one of the winners of this year’s Her Campus e.l.f.ing Amazing 22 Under 22 Awards.

Main image courtesy: Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images for We The Planet, Pexels

Sophia Kianni is an Iranian-American social entrepreneur and activist. She studied at Stanford University and is the founder of Climate Cardinals, the world’s largest youth-led climate nonprofit, with 10,000 volunteers in 80+ countries. She is the youngest United Nations advisor in U.S. history. She was most recently appointed to serve on the EPA’s National Youth Advisory Council. She has been named VICE Media's youngest Human of the Year, a National Geographic Young Explorer, on Business Insider’s Climate Action 30, among the BBC’s 100 Women, and to Forbes 30 under 30.