The U.S.’s dependence on oil and natural gas, which not only are a great harm to the Earth, but are also finite resources, is incredibly harmful for our long-term future. A sizable portion of California’s economy still relies on the extraction and refinement of fossil fuels and nonrenewable resources and we cannot consciably continue to rely on these harmful energy resources. Refineries and greenhouse gas emitting facilities are too often located in close proximity to communities of color and disproportionately puts poor Californians in harm’s way. Reliance on nonrenewable energy sources like coal and natural gas not only is detrimental for our communities’ ecosystems but puts unnecessary and preventable strain on our healthcare system.

As a coalition of young people who are deeply invested in combating the harmful effects of climate change, California College Democrats believe that ensuring a clean and energy-efficient future is one of the nation, and California’s top priorities. As the eighth-largest economy in the world, the onus is on us citizens to drive the discussion toward a more equitable and sustainable energy system. It is often said that so goes California, so goes the nation, and so goes the world. Therefore, establishing a more environmentally-sound energy program to power our homes, cities, and economy, will create an example for the world to follow.

Yet another concern for us, as young adults, is the designation by the State Department that climate change is a top national security concern. Californians know all too well about the circumstances of drought and dwindling natural resources, however, we can’t imagine the harm should such conditions occur world-wide. Ensuring that we do not deplete our clean water sources, pollute our air, and extract fossil fuels, will ensure that our state and our nation does not descend into conflict over scarce resources and endanger life on this planet for decades and centuries to come.

Because of this, finding alternative energy sources is a must for the United States’ long-term economic and national security future, and because of the large start-up costs of this sort of business endeavor, it is necessary for the government to heavily invest in green energy. We are committed to ensuring not only that California plays its part in meeting the challenges of climate change, but also fighting to ensure that our universities and schools are funded well enough to produce the experts and scientists that are trained to face such global challenges.