DES MOINES, Iowa — Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders brought the heat Saturday at a climate change summit in Des Moines, firing up a crowd of roughly 2,000.
“We have a major global crisis,” Sanders said. “We cannot turn our backs on future generations, we have a moral responsibility.”
The Vermont senator was accompanied by a “Democratic celebrity,” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. While the crowd was “feeling the Bern,” Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez also brought on the heat.
“This movement is real. This movement is growing,” she said about addressing climate change.
The freshman Democrat attracted an audience of her own, too. Many students said they had seen Sanders before, but wanted the change to see Ocasio-Cortez in person. This was her first trip to Iowa ever.
“I have a ton of respect for AOC as well. I think she`s amazing,” said Drake student Emilyn Crabbe. “Her documentary on Netflix changed my life.”
The two self-proclaimed Democratic Socialists have joined forces over Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal.” The $1.7 billion plan aims to attack climate change by weaning the United States off fossil fuels and creating high-paying jobs in clean energy industries.
However, many Democrats are not all in with the plan, calling it too costly and ambitious; including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has previously distanced herself from the plan.
The Vermont senator acknowledged that his “dream” might be “unrealistic,” but said the stakes are too high to avoid addressing the climate crisis immediately. Quoting scientists, Sanders said Iowa can expect the number of days above 90 degrees to triple by the year of 2050.
“We have fewer than 12 years to act boldly,” he said.
While many criticize the Green New Deal for being too costly, Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez argued climate change is already costing the world as is, especially right here in Iowa.
“These floods are already causing serious economic pain to Iowa farmers,” Sanders said. “We must save this planet for our children and our grandchildren.”
This was something that resonated with all ages in the crowd.
“It’s really scary to think about how the planet is crumbling around us,” Crabbe said. “We don`t have the luxury to think we can deal with it in a couple decades. It`s time to act now.”