OPINION: Civil Disobedience Is The Way to Combat Climate Change

Humans have never faced a more universalizing threat to our existence than the effects of climate change; civil disobedience is the answer to this madness.

While the climate warms with every year we are alive, we are left to wonder: what can we do to prevent this human-caused apocalypse from happening?

Most people talk about recycling, going vegan, and using sustainable products to help lower the individual carbon footprints humans leave. The problem with this is that individual people aren’t the main causes of climate change. For example, the ban on plastic straws was a great step to help cut out the amount of waste by getting rid of an unnecessary product people use every day. However, according to a Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment article, plastic straws only account for less than one percent of the waste in the ocean. The article quotes Jim Leape, co-director of the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions, who said,

“The risk is that banning straws may confer ‘moral license’ – allowing companies and their customers to feel they have done their part. The crucial challenge is to ensure that these bans are just a first step, offering a natural place to start with low-hanging fruit.” 

While he is correct that this is a valuable first step, we cannot be satisfied with this step. According to the article, plastics will outweigh fish in the oceans by 2050 if we continue our current trends of waste. 

While our wasteful nature as humans should definitely be factored into how we should approach fighting climate change, the biggest thing that we should concentrate on in the climate change debate is our carbon emissions.

Carbon Dioxide is a gas that traps heat and is reradiated from Earth’s surface into our own atmosphere. This process is commonly known as the greenhouse effect and is crucial to Earth’s survival as it helps balance our temperature to an optimal level. However, like everything in life, moderation is key. When there is too much carbon in the atmosphere, more heat is absorbed from Earth’s reradiated heat and the planet warms.

Now, according to a LA Times article, there are approximately 253 million cars on the road in the United States in 2014. At the same time the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates the average car produces 4.6 metric tons of CO2 emissions every year. If you do the math it comes out to about a number slightly bigger than 1 billion metric tons of CO2 produced every year by American drivers. While this number is very staggering to look at, it pales in comparison to the 480 billion tons of CO2 that has been put into the air since 1965 from 20 of the top fossil fuel companies. This is the equivalent of 35 percent of all energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the last 54 years. While American drivers are responsible for a large chunk of carbon emissions, these fossil fuel companies take the cake for who are biggest emitters overall.

Source: The Hill

This is where civil disobedience comes into play.

According to Joseph R. Desjardins in, Environmental Ethics An Introduction to Environmental Philosophy,

“Civil Disobedience is the intentional refusal to obey a law on moral grounds as means of protesting or thwarting government policy. As a form of protest, civil disobedience often but not always protests the very law that one disobeys.” 

In this case, people shouldn’t protest because of a certain law that hinders progress; rather, protests should be about the lack of laws regarding carbon emission.

Last month a group of scientists at a protest in England stated that they endorse civil disobedience in an attempt to make governments take action against climate change because not doing so would result in “incalculable human suffering.” The 400 scientists that were in attendance at this protest have aligned themselves with a group called Extinction Rebellion, a British Civil Disobedience group. After this protest, nearly 3000 people across the world were arrested for doing peaceful protests later that day.

Source: The Guardian

In the end, major action needs to take place in order for our world to hopefully reverse the effects of climate change. While focusing on your own carbon footprint is a great way to start lowering emissions, we know who is really behind this ecological disaster. Mass protests and civil disobedience may be the only way to save the planet from becoming unlivable to most species on Earth, including our own.

Written by: Tom Derig

OPINION: What you need to know about U.S. Troops withdrawal from Syria

Trump ordered American troops out of Northern Syria who worked alongside the Kurd-led Syrian group known as the Syrian Democratic Forces.

This is an action that paved the way for Turkey to attempt to wipe out the Kurds in Syria who have allied with the U.S. in the war against terrorism, specifically with ISIS.

The Kurds were originally promised their own homeland in the agreement established in the Treaty of Sèvres after World War I, but then a following agreement spread them throughout Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran. In Turkey , Kurds are oppressed and are seen as a threat.

What happened since Trump called out U.S. soldiers? 

First, Turkey covered 125 miles in the North East of Syria. The invasion alone displaced at least 130,000 people and have a reported 100 civilian casualties; thus, prompting the Kurds to reach out to Russia and Syria for help due to the area’s airstrikes and lack of resources.

The Kurds now had to fight a Turkish invasion on one end and prevent fleeing ISIS prisoners on the other. In fact, because of the removal of American troops, ISIS families and supporters northeastern Syria had escaped from a detention center.

Trump’s “America First” foreign policy mentality has received critical comments from scholars, Republicans, Democrats, and even the military themselves. Retired Gen. Joseph Votel, former head of U.S. Central Command, said,

“abandonment threatens to undo five years’ worth of fighting against ISIS and will severely damage American credibility and reliability.” 

Taking it a step further, it was even announced in a nonbinding resolution that the House voted 354 to 60 in opposition to Trump’s decision. Putting it into perspective, this is over two-thirds of the House and includes many high-profile Republicans.

Supporters for the decision, like those at recent Trump rallies, draw on Trump’s campaign promise to bring the troops back home and an overall agreement of less U.S. involvement in the Middle East. However, looks can be deceiving as it has been known that troops have not been sent home, but are rather just dispersed throughout the region. 

As of October of 2019, officials have been meeting to come to agreements but the area is still at war and is considered to be a humanitarian crisis. 

Even thousands of miles away Trump’s decision impacts the world today.

Knowing this, I turned to the San Diego State University community to get some more opinions on the matter. 

Professor Allen Greb, an International Relations professor, said,

“This undermines U.S. credibility. No one will join us if we are just going to abandon treaties. This decision did not make sense and was not oversought by professionals, it’s as if it was as personal as a real estate deal.”

Greb said Trump pulling American troops is detrimental, “the area is much less stable and safe now. By abandoning our trusted partner in the fight against ISIS we have made Russia, Turkey, and Iran main players in the Middle East.” 

Taking America out of the mix as a major player in the Middle East has let autocratic regimes have more influence. Good or bad, one thing is for sure, humanitarian needs have drastically declined in the short time since the U.S. pulled out.

SDSU graduate student, Patricia Abella, said she had an overall shock about the whole situation calling it disappointing and a shame.

“This doesn’t seem diplomatic, which is not one of Trump’s strong suits. It concerns me how unsupported this decision was and there will surely be consequences from it.”

Tom Derig, Geography major, said he is embarrassed about the move out from Syria.

“We now have turned our backs on our allies that helped us beat them [ISIS]. The biggest shock to me is that the United States military took a stand and actually disagreed with Trump’s plan,” Derig said. 

Personally, the decision by Trump to pull out troops from Syria is not only misleading but also foolish. Our troops are not being sent home and our relations with the Middle East just became way more complicated. America looks unreliable and unstable to our allies and to the overall international community.

Ten steps back or 10 steps forward? Well, that’s up to you but what we can tell is that the crisis in the Middle East is not getting solved anytime soon.

Written by Ali Goldberg

OPINION: Students Should Pay Attention to Impeachment Inquiry

Impeachment is more popular than ever in this country, especially among college students. A recent study done by Collegereaction.com, found that nearly 76% of college students across the country support impeachment. 

Donald Trump has been a businessman far longer than most college students have been alive, and not many know much about his life pre-presidency. Yet college students have seen what he has done as President and have formulated their opinions about him from his first term in office. 

After 3 years and numerous scandals later involving the President’s taxes, an illegal payment of a pornstar, and Muller Report. More recently the nation is seeing a new scandal unfold involving his withholding of foreign aid to Ukraine unless they investigated the Biden family.  

In nearly every new poll that gets released, Donald Trump’s approval rating has been slowly decreasing since the beginning of his presidency. For example, according to FiveThirtyEight’s Donald Trump Tracker, Trump’s average approval rating across most major polls has dropped to 40 percent overall. The latest scandal with Ukraine has not only lowered Trump’s approval ratings by about 3 percent but also has people talking about the subject of impeachment.

On Oct. 31, the House voted for the impeachment proceedings and it seems many people share a collective misconception surrounding impeachment. The idea that once the President is impeached someone new will take over as President is not the entire case.

Impeachment refers to charging a high-ranking government member with misconduct and begin removing them from office. 

After impeachment is voted on in the House, assuming it is passed by majority, the next step is a trial in the Senate which needs a two-thirds majority to convict the President. 

The President isn’t the only official that can be impeached, other members of the Government have been impeached, but most of them have been federal judges. Impeachment is not a quick process and will take time for articles of impeachment to be drafted, and even longer to decide if he will be convicted of his crimes in the Senate. 

Donald Trump is being backed into a corner by this impeachment talk. On one hand, he needs to fight off this impeachment subject for as long as possible so that he can campaign for his re-election in 2020, but at the same time the longer impeachment is talked about, the lower his approval ratings will fall due to more facts coming out about his involvement to Ukraine.

On the night of Nov. 8, 2016, Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, and the course of American life would be dramatically shifted seemingly overnight. For the people that voted for him, there was rejoice, they had found an answer to the problems they were facing in their daily lives. They loved how he spoke freely and wasn’t afraid to challenge the political establishment. His claims of draining the swamp of Washington and returning jobs to the working-class Americans resonated with many people who hadn’t seen much change under Obama.

Yet, at the same time, there were many who felt that the election of Donald Trump would be disastrous to the social fabric of this country and immediately thought the election of this President would tear the country apart.

One area that people feared Trump would especially damage was race and race relations.

Senior Electrical Engineering Major Alex Martinez said,

“I believe Donald Trump has not improved race relationships but rather has damaged ally relationships. I think the approach and beliefs of his ideas towards some of the race relationship issues contradicts with not only the natural rights of human beings, but as well as the foundation previous governments have paved for him.”

One way you can see the immediate effects of Donald Trump’s election is the increase in attendance of HBCU’s due to tensions between white students and students of color. They have sought to find a “safe haven” from white supremacist propaganda and hate incidents that have become an alarming and increasing trend across college campuses. San Diego State is not immune to these hateful incidences such as the one that occurred early in the fall semester. 

Though there is no correlation to Donald Trump’s presidency to the rise of hateful incidences, in the last 4 years there has been a rise in the number of hate groups throughout the United States. 

While the results of Trump’s Presidency are still being debated, one thing is for certain, college students of all political demographics are beginning to turn against the President and his ideals. With the General Election almost a year away, Trump must find a way to connect with college voters or else he will have a problem swaying the younger vote in 2020. 

Written by: Tom Derig

They Did What? – Miley Cyrus

They Did What? is a series dedicated to what the media does not broadcast about your favorite musical artists. I present to you, Miley Cyrus.

“Everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days.” If you do not know where this quote is from then you have come to the right place. Who could have possibly said this? Well, it is Hannah Montana, a childhood icon from this generation, who happened to be played by Miley Cyrus herself.

If you do not know, Miley Cyrus was a childhood star who starred in her own Disney show, Hannah Montana, that started in 2006 when she was only 13 years old. The show revolved around a girl who was living a double life of being a famous pop star and living a regular life of going to school. This quote is one of her songs from the show called “Nobody’s Perfect.” If you listen to this song, the lyrics are actually a great lesson to teach everyone. Hannah Montana was obviously directed towards young children but this is a lesson that I think many people need to learn today. This song to me mirrors the life Miley has lived, yet it came out years ago before her career flourished. One lesson I took is that you learn from everything in life, even your mistakes and you can see that with Miley’s life.

Nobody’s Perfect.

Many people know Miley from her Disney days, her rebellious days, or know her for being in a long term relationship with Liam Hemsworth that recently ended. These are the things the media focuses on but there is more to Miley than what people may think. 

You may remember a time where Miley was twerking on stage at the 2013 VMAs and making lots of music about partying. People change and go through phases. Miley says, in “Carpool Karaoke” with James Corden, that who she was in the 2013 VMAs made her who she is today. It made her realize that if that many people will talk about her then she needs to bring good to the world so people will talk about that. Miley said that the VMA experience led her to become an activist. She does not think she would have even started her own foundation, which I will explain later on. She has learned to embrace her past because it is a part of her instead of running from her past like she was trying to do with this performance.

“I think when you are a teenager, young adult, you’re trying so hard to be cool or to prove something or to be something away from who you’ve been as a kid. And I guess as I’ve gotten older — even though it’s not who I am now, I’m not afraid of who I used to be.”

Miley Cyrus

The following year after her infamous 2013 VMA performance, Miley did something that touched the hearts of many. Instead of taking in all the praise and basking in the spotlight, Miley allowed for a formerly homeless man to accept the award she won for her song “Wrecking Ball.” The speech put into perspective how much money the music industry makes, yet there are so many homeless people right down the street, especially youth and young adults. Miley was making a statement to the world that we need to help those around us. Miley not accepting her own award shows her unselfish character and how big her heart is for others.

Being a Disney star comes with certain expectations and if someone acts “out of the ordinary” it will receive the attention that would not have happened if they weren’t a Disney star. In order to prove yourself, you have to step out of that box. Being Hannah Montana was the only way people knew Miley. Being this clean-cut teenage girl next door character. The minute she broke that stereotype, the world blew up. How can one expect someone to be the same their whole life or career? People change, people grow up just some people do it differently. Miley had to break the boundary of being just a Disney girl to being a singer, an artist who can make it in the industry.

There is more to Miley than the Disney star.

Miley Cyrus has a giving heart and truly cares for others. If you are not aware there were deadly fires in California this past year that took Miley’s house and many others Miley donated $500,000 to help other wildfire victims and asked for her fans and friends to donate to the Red Cross to help others. Miley could have put all her money into building or buying a new multi-million dollar home for herself. Instead, she was more concerned with helping others first. She knew that she had the money to buy a new home but some of these other people lost everything they had and may not be able to live in a real home for a while.

In 2014 she started her own foundation named Happy Hippie that is dedicated to helping the homeless youth of our country. She is dedicated to helping the homeless because her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, was homeless before he had his big break in the music. According to the website, The Happy Hippie foundation has a mission to rally young people to fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations.

“It is essential to our lives to do good for others! The only way we can truly be happy is if we are making others happy! That is this Hippie’s goal!”

Miley Cyrus

According to Happy Hippie, “1.6 million youth are homeless each year.” Furthermore, “40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, and family rejection is the most common reason LGBTQ youth experience homelessness.” To make matters worse, about one in every three homeless LBGTQ face rejection at homeless shelters solely because of their orientation. Miley wants acceptance in this world. Being apart of the LGBTQ community herself this is an important issue that Miley wants to fight. Miley has been criticized for being a part of the LGBTQ community. She likes to think of herself as pansexual, which means you are simply attracted to people no matter who they identify as. You like someone because of who they are not their identity.

People will hate you for being different but what you make of that hate is up to you. Miley has pushed past that and embraces who she is. As human beings, we like to put things in a box and give order to everything because that is how we make sense of our world. It is hard for us to understand that there needs to be no labels. Labels come with implications that you may not fit into. There are people in the world who are not just one thing but multiple. In reality, we may all fit into multiple boxes. The acceptance in this world of the LGBTQ world is something Miley is trying to normalize.

Miley explains that her perspective on life has grown since her young adult days. In her cover interview for Elle magazine this year Miley said,

“After the fire, I thought about how we helped more than 120 families who lost their homes. We’ve served nearly 1,300 homeless kids in Hollywood every year since 2014. And last year, we helped 270 kids find housing and provided 32,000 meals. That won’t burn down. That helped me become much more disconnected from things.”

Not only has Miley helped the world around her but she never forgets to advocate to be true to who you are.

Miley has made it a point that she does not care what people think of her but when someone comes after her character she will speak out. As you can see on her Instagram post below. People accused Miley of cheating on Liam when they do not even know what is going on with their lives or know anything of that matter. When there has been a couple like Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus that America has fallen in love with for almost a decade, it is hard for people to wrap their heads around on why anything like this would happen. Especially because not long after they got married is when they decided to split. People are so invested in the lives of celebrities but not in who they are as a person. How can you accuse someone of something if you don’t know who they are? The media is what prompted Miley to even have to write something to the world in the first place. There were false rumors being broadcasted that needed to be set straight.

Click here for Miley’s Instagram

While being in the spotlight Miley turns her hate into positive messages which I think is hard to do. Miley knows people have criticized her for her actions but she doesn’t really care much about herself. She uses that negativity to preach to the world that people need to put this negative energy into something good instead of criticizing her for things that don’t matter. In an NPR interview, Miley says,

“I’m doing what I need to do. I’m working in my community. I’m changing the way people view sexuality. I’m working with suicide prevention programs. I’m feeding people that don’t have food to eat. I’m doing my part as a human. You better go do your part if you’re gonna even have one little opinion about what I do. You better be doing some great things for your community.”

People only talk negatively about Miley because she is different than your mainstream artist. She is not afraid to show her true self to the world.  You have to remember that Miley grew up in the spotlight. Imagine all of the pressure that puts on a little girl. As you grow you are going to make mistakes but that is part of growing up. The whole world knew what Miley was doing and that is what is different from you to her.

Everyone needs to learn something from Miley. Being yourself is the most important thing you can do. If people put hate on you it’s only because they have insecurities about themselves. Do not let people tell you who you are or what to do. That is your own decision. If people are more accepting of others and their differences, our world could truly become a better place. Change is a good thing in which no one can be the same person their whole lives. Remember that “everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days.” No one is perfect and what you do with what you learn in life is up to you. If you spread positivity to the world as Miley has, you can help change this world for the better.

Written By: Adrienne Murdock