Marianne Williamson: 2020 Climate Forum

Summary

Marianne Williamson framed the issue of climate change as a psychological problem. The fact that it is a psychological problem means that, despite the issue’s grave implications for humanity, we resist acknowledging climate change’s presence and effects. She built this diagnosis around a critique of American capitalism as an “amoral economic system that creates immoral results,” one of which is human-caused climate change. Williamson prescribed a broad psychological, spiritual, and cultural revolution to reorient the psyche of the American people, emphasizing that “America was not built for incremental change.”  In her opinion, the solutions are already present; science has spoken. Yet without a “cultural, spiritual, and moral buy-in for the people,” she believes that we will only continue implementing incremental policies that have failed to reduce CO2 emissions. 

While the majority of her speech focused on a call to amend the American ethos, Marianne did propose a plan for a national climate-based service program, saying, “I’m going to ask all of you. Maybe not all of you. I would like to ask you for your opinion. I think during this season of repair we should have a mandatory national service — one year — for people between the ages of 18 and 26, because we need you. We need to fix this climate.” 

Beyond this assertion, Williamson offered few direct policy proposals, believing that if the country can reach a cultural awakening, it will naturally adopt the necessary measures to reach a net-zero carbon emissions standard by 2040. She plans to delegate specific policies to EPA officials and sees the role of the president as a catalyst for broader change. Ultimately, she believes, under a Williamson presidency she can guide the country through a spiritual awakening, whereby all citizens will be pushed to create a collective and sweeping change.

GREEN Analysis, Jojo Farina

Marianne Williamson’s climate policy revolves around the people: she believes in an almost WWII level mass mobilization for climate change and believes that there should be a mandatory, 1 year national service to help save the country. While she says she understands the importance of specific policies, she chooses to focus more on the moral and holistic approach to combating climate change. For Williamson, the stakes are high enough that it will require a complete upheaval of our political and economic system to revolve more around issues of climate. However, her morally compelling argument contains a few inconsistencies when you focus on the specifics, such as her lack of a coherent reason for why she’s against climate change. Overall, while Marianne Williamson’s general ideas are on the right track for climate, she has failed to consider some of the obstacles she will have to face (dealing with fossil fuel lobbyists, for example) if she were to become president.