USA Today Excerpt: The penguin outfits were a response to a Yang quote from another campaign event where he said “people with financial struggles have the attitude that the penguins can wait in line.” Activists asked Yang to make climate change his top priority.
Link to original article: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/elections/presidential/caucus/2019/04/29/andrew-yang-penguin-climate-change-activist-iowa-president-2020-candidate-democrat-global-warming-ia/3616931002/
By Robin Opsahl with Des Moines Register, USA Today, Elections, April 29, 2019
Lots of people of all sorts ask questions at presidential campaign events in Iowa. Usually, the people aren’t be-penguined.
But half a dozen people dressed as penguins to ask Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang about climate change Sunday in Des Moines at a Franklin Junior High town hall event.
The penguin-costumed Iowans were there on behalf of Bold Iowa, a Democratic group founded by former state lawmaker Ed Fallon. The group organizes around climate change and environmental protection.
The penguin outfits were a response to a Yang quote from another campaign event where he said “people with financial struggles have the attitude that the penguins can wait in line.” Activists asked Yang to make climate change his top priority.
Yang responded that climate change is important but helping people with financial needs, through his plan to give all citizens a basic income, is the way to start fixing it.
“Climate change is an existential threat to our way of life, humans and penguins alike,” Yang said.
But Yang stood by his statement that people who have bills to pay and more urgent priorities in their life may not care about investing in environmental preservation.
“We have to get the economic boot off of people’s throats,” he said. “And then they’re going to hopefully realize we need to address climate change.”
Yang’s major policy proposal as a presidential candidate is universal basic income: giving all Americans over age 18 a stipend of $1,000 per month. He believes the stipend would get people financially stable enough to devote their energy and resources to combating other issues like climate change. But even with that, there would be more work to do beyond the country’s borders.
“The brutal truth though is that America only accounts for 15% of global emissions,” he said. “So even if we go whole hog and move towards renewables as fast as possible, we’re probably only going to slow the rate of climate change incrementally. … We should invest in trying to mitigate the worst effects of climate change because it is probably coming our way regardless of what sort of policies we adopt.”