When I first heard about the Brotesters, I have to admit that my initial reaction was, "Who do these bros think they are?"
They may be wearing suits, and they may look like younger versions of the Koch brothers, but these guys do care about climate change. They are a testament to the fact that you should never judge a book by its cover.
I spoke with one of the Brotesters earlier this week, and was pleasantly surprised by how productive our conversation was. His name is Nic Straut, and he's a freshman at The King's College in New York City.
Nic immediately assured me that he does believe in climate change, and that he does not deny humans have had an enormously detrimental impact on the environment.
Moreover, despite being a republican, this young man is concerned politicians like Senator Marco Rubio have denied the human impact on the environment. In Nic's view, this is a very harmful position, and one which has no basis in reality.
This is exactly why he came to Flood Wall Street in New York City.
In his opinion, however, there is not enough of a balanced conversation surrounding the issue. Nic worries many people are not aware of corporate efforts to produce more sustainable and renewable forms of energy, for example.
Basically, he wants to find cost-effective and practical means of combatting climate change. On that subject, he noted that many conservatives are not aware of how profitable sustainable energy could be.
At the same time, Nic is disheartened by the fact that many people at the protest seemed to automatically view him and his comrades as the enemy. I'll have to admit that I was guilty of this myself.
Additionally, while he did note he had a few productive conversations with other protestors, he claimed most people basically attacked him.
Unfortunately, this feels like a metaphor for American politics at the moment. It's so black and white, no one wants to see the shades of grey.
Thus, Nic reminded me of something extremely important surrounding any vital issue. In essence, you have to be willing to engage in civil conversations, particularly with those who might have positions that differ from your own.
No one is right all the time, and nobody's opinions are sacrosanct. We all agree climate change is a serious problem, so we must all come together to find a viable solution. Before you dismiss someone, give him or her a chance to speak. At present, this is a notion that America in particular seems to have forgotten.
I might not agree with everything the Brotesters have to say, but they certainly add a bit of spice to the conversation.
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