By Chanel Ward
The Metropolitan State University (MSU) of Denver hosted, Planet in Peril: Call to Action forum, where Colorado US Senatorial candidates debated in the Tivoli Ballroom, last Saturday afternoon; and all are in agreement that the climate crisis is an extremely serious issue.
About 300 people attended the forum throughout the day, some students, others from the community and most Colorado Senate candidates, with the exception of candidates John Hickenlooper and Michelle Ferrigno Warren.
Dr. Vincent Piturro, Professor of Film and Media Studies at MSU previewed a clip from the documentary, Before the Flood, produced and featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and explained, “he [DiCaprio] travels the world and see’s first-hand the effects of climate change, where he interviews world leaders and then tries to influence world leaders.”
Dr. Piturro believes we can all do our part, in our own way. “The thing I can do in life for climate change – we can all do something different – the thing I can do as a film professor, is screen these films to my students so that they can become aware and they can go out and do something about it. But also, share that film with other people,” said Dr. Piturro.
Colorado Water and Climate Organizer for Green Latinos and Co-Chair of the Colorado Latino Forum, Ean Thomas Tafoya moderated the Senate forum with Diana Bray, Clinical Psychologist; Trish Zornio, Scientist; Lorena García, Executive Director of the Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition; Andrew Romanoff, former Speaker of the House; Stephany Rose Spaulding, Senior Pastor for Ebenezer Baptist Church; Critter Milton, Financial Advisor; Dave Goldfischer, Professor at the University of Denver; and Erik Underwood, Media Tech Entrepreneur, participated in the forum.
“Climate justice is one of the most intersectional issues of our time,” stressed Tafoya. “Indigenous people, people of color and Latinos are at the frontlines every single day, whether from air pollution, the water toxicity, which are all directly related to what’s causing the climate crisis.”
Tafoya also noticed some missing key players, “Cory Gardner and Hickenlooper missing here [forum] are skipping out on Indigenous and Latino people,” expressed Tafoya. “We want to hear their accounting and what their ideas are for the problem.”
“The climate crisis represents the fundamental moral test of our time and if we don’t move as quickly as possible to end our reliance on fossil fuels and create a clean energy economy, we’re cooked, literally and a lot of the damage is already baked in,” Romanoff told The Weekly Issue/El Semanario. Romanoff serves as the President and CEO of Mental Health Colorado and his platform for Senate is based around science and reason to prevent the climate crisis.
“To me, if you want to serve in the US Senate, if you want to be paid to represent Colorado in this capacity, the least you can do is show up,” he said. “If we wanted a senator that didn’t show up or answer questions, we already have one, by the name of Cory Gardner.”
“I decided to run for this office because I am a scientist by training and there are currently zero scientists on the United States Science Committee, Cory Gardner’s on that committee though; perfect swap opportunity,” commented Zornio.
“I think Coloradans are not having the opportunity to hear those stances and unfortunately what we do know, is that those stances are pretty different,” said Zornio. “So, I would love to challenge my candidate to show up to a debate and actually be willing to debate a scientist on the issue of climate change, it is the defining scientific challenge of our generation.”
US Senate candidate Lorena García shared her message to voters.
“I think that as voters are evaluating which candidate they want to support, for me, if I wasn’t running, I would be looking at the candidate that is going to be aggressive, because we’ve already missed the boat on incremental change and we have already missed the boat on even incentivizing. We need to start mandating and be aggressive,” stated García.
To make your voice heard, stay involved and vote. The Presidential Primary is March 3, Precinct Caucuses are March 7, the Colorado Statewide Primary is June 30 and General Election for Federal, State and County is November 3.
Chanel Ward is an Independent Reporter for The Weekly Issue/El Semanario.
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