“Everything needs to change, and it has to start today.”

Dear Friends,

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“Everything needs to change, and it has to start today.” Those are the words of 16-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden. If even 1 percent of the 8,500 people receiving this email watch Greta’s speech and embrace her call to “change everything,” we’d have another 85 people committed to tackling the climate crisis. What an impact that would have!

So please, invest eleven minutes and eleven seconds RIGHT NOW in this simple ask. Watch Greta’s TED talk. And if you’re as inspired as I was, share it personally with five others. Ask them to take action. Then take action yourself and help us move forward on the path toward climate sanity.

The first challenge is to stop talking about climate as if it’s an issue. It’s not an issue, it’s a crisis, and one that is already wrecking havoc. You would think our leaders would understand this. Yet of all the candidates running for president, not one has made climate change their top priority.

Case in point, watch Congressman John Delaney’s response to my question. Delaney is defensive, saying in so many words that climate change is just another issue. Yet he then outlines a commendable plan to address the crisis. The disconnect is confusing. If Delaney truly understands that climate is different than other challenges, why is it so hard for him and other candidates to take the next logical step and make it the centerpiece of their campaigns?

That’s a question that Greta Thunberg — and the thousands of young people around the world who have embraced School Strike for Climate  — would love to have answered. In Iowa, we have both an opportunity and an obligation to convince people who aspire to the presidency that they must prioritize climate change. Sure, they need to talk about issues like health care, education, money in politics, etc. Yet if climate change renders Earth uninhabitable for our species and most others (yes, that’s the direction we’re headed), issues won’t matter a hill of beans.

For the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and the many species threatened with extinction, let’s compel the candidates for president to prioritize climate. Perhaps then the mainstream media will stop ignoring climate change. Perhaps then other political, business and academic leaders will unite to speak up forcibly and demand immediate action.

Eighty-five people. One percent of those receiving this email. Tell me you’re in, that you’re ready to embrace Greta’s challenge to “change everything,” that you’re willing to join the 91 other Iowans who have already committed to being a Climate Bird Dog (sign up here). Let’s hold the presidential candidates’ feet to the fire, before we pass the small remaining window of opportunity to solve the climate crisis.