This 28-Year-Old Just Shook Up The Primaries — Here's Where She Stands On Climate Change

mbg Sustainability Editor By Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability Editor
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care."

On Tuesday, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated a 10-term congressman to clench the Democratic nomination for New York’s 14th Congressional District, a historically Democratic area that spans parts of Queens and the Bronx. The 28-year-old is now one step closer to becoming the youngest woman ever to be elected to Congress.

Ocasio-Cortez represents a new perspective in many ways: She's a self-identified socialist; she's a Latina; and she doesn't come from a high-profile political family. Though she's long served as a staffer and campaigner (in addition to a waitress and children's book publisher), she didn't have aspirations to run for office until recently.

"I felt like the only way to effectively run for office is if you had access to a lot of wealth, high social influence, a lot of high dynastic power, and I knew that I didn’t have any of those things," she recently told New York Magazine. It was a trip to Standing Rock in 2016 that ultimately pushed her to take the chance and run in her longtime district. "I saw how all of the people—particularly the Native people and the Lakota Sioux—were putting their whole lives and everything that they had on the line for the protection of their community... I just felt like we were at a point where we couldn’t afford to ignore politics anymore."

One of the ways she's hoping to protect her community once elected to Congress? By aggressively campaigning for climate change policy reform.

According to her campaign website, "[c]limate change is the single biggest national security threat for the United States and the single biggest threat to worldwide industrialized civilization." Not to mention, Ocasio-Cortez is one of the first American politicians of any party to propose a plan that would keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. And it seems like she's ready to take action—here are just a few goals and action steps her platform calls for:

  • The United States needs to reduce its emissions by approximately 75 to 125 percent (which would mean we'd actually start to draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere) by 2035. The country should run on a 100 percent renewable energy system by that same year.
  • The government should support the electrification of vehicles, sustainable home heating, distributed rooftop solar generation, and the conversion of the power grid to zero-emissions energy sources.
  • The United States should implement a "Green New Deal," which would introduce structures that make going green more lucrative for big business.

Regardless of politics or ideology, most of us can (hopefully) agree that our planet deserves our care—now more than ever. Here's hoping these ambitious targets begin to shake up Washington come the midterm elections.

As Ocasio-Cortez told an effusive crowd during her victory speech, "What we proved tonight is that this nation is never beyond remedy. It is never beyond hope. It is never too broken to fix. This is not an end—this is the beginning... We are going to rock the world in the next two years."

Looking to encourage climate policy in your district? Here's the most effective way to mobilize your government.

And are you ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.

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