Sam Rankin / Daily Nexus

The University of California, Santa Barbara: a campus where students enjoy the warmth of the sun with the cool breeze, go to the beach on weekends with friends and enjoy time outside. Well, it will not always be this way unless we take care of our home.

Everyone wants to be able to enjoy living in a safe and clean environment — it should be considered a basic human right. A lawsuit filed in 2015 against the U.S. government in the U.S. District Court in Oregon, Juliana v. United States, will be brought to court this June in Portland, Ore.

The plaintiffs in this case, 21 youths from across the nation, argued that by willingly continuing to use fossil fuels as a source of energy, even though they are aware of its consequences, the United States government has violated future generation’s constitutional right to participate in a “climate system capable of sustaining human life.” In short: the U.S. Government has violated our right to life, liberty and property.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Coffin officially confirmed the date of the hearing last year on October 29, 2018 after continuously being pushed back to further dates.

At the beginning of March, many different groups,including members of U.S. Congress, legal scholars, religious and women’s groups, businesses, historians, medical doctors, international lawyers, environmentalists and more than 32,000 young people, pledged their support for the landmark case.

I am going to be honest: I had never heard of this court case until recently and am surprised that I am barely hearing about this case now because I consider myself well educated on the issue of climate change. Climate change is not just a predicament that will affect me; it is an issue that will harm you, your friends and family and future generations to come. It is frustrating when the media portrays this issue as a debate when the scientific community has already come to a consensus about the science backing it up.

The push for our government to take action against climate change has picked up speed and will hopefully continue to do so throughout our lives. There are people out there everyday who are fighting for our government to alter our economy to and provide us with a better future.

Many Democrats are pushing for the Green New Deal, which calls upon switching from an economy fueled by non-renewable energy sources to renewable ones which will not pollute our planet and release the toxic fumes that are changing it in devastating and irreversible ways. Generally, it is young people — both citizens and politicians such as Democratic representative of New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — who have spearheaded or vowed their support for the Green New Deal.

Climate change is not just a predicament that will affect me; it is an issue that will harm you, your friends and family and future generations to come.

We have to keep the conversation going and do everything we can as a community to limit our contribution to climate change. Eating one Big Mac cheeseburger is equivalent to adding 4kg of CO2 to your carbon footprint. Chicken, pork and other meats contribute to carbon emissions as well, but the effects are not as damaging compared to those of beef consumption.

I used to eat a hamburger every single day for a whole quarter when I went to De La Guerra for lunch. Imagine how much my carbon footprint has grown from this.

I’ve gone vegetarian now and will most likely go vegan in the following year. Giving up certain foods that I loved was difficult, but I made this choice because it was important. The horrible treatment of animals and the destruction of our planet caused by our lifestyle choices was more than enough for me to put down the burger and go eat some beans and rice.

Now, I do not want our meat-eaters out there who love to dive into their chicken fingers or devour steak to give it up, but I do want you all to be aware of the environmental cost of eating meat.

Food is not the only major contributor to our carbon footprint: driving when you could bike or take public transportation, taking longer than a 10-minute shower and using plastic items like straws and bottles are all actions that contribute to CO2 emissions.

It’s okay, though, because we can all change! I am still learning so much more about climate change and making adjustments in my life as I become more educated on the issue. Not only does this benefit me, but it also helps UCSB, I.V., the state of California and the larger world — both people and our furry, scaly and marine friends.

Even students like you and I are making an effort to push for change. The Sunrise Movement, an organization that is aiming to stop climate change and create millions of jobs, recently started up and is doing everything it can to achieve a brighter future. There are many chapters throughout the country, including one here at UCSB!

I believe in a cleaner planet, and I know we can accomplish this goal. It will just take a lot more education and the continuation of challenging authorities to ensure that they’re creating policies that will change our world for the better.

Grant Jamison is a first year who wants to you to eat beans and rice once in a while.

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