If you eat hamburgers or use plastic drinking straws, consider yourself part of the climate change problem. That was the assessment of Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on Thursday during an appearance on CNN’s "New Day."

Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind.,  told host Alisyn Camerota he thinks many people view climate issues from "the perspective of guilt."

"You know, from using a straw to eating a burger. Am I part of the problem? In a certain way, yes," he said. "But the most exciting thing is that we can all be part of the solution."


Buttigieg said part of his climate-change proposal involves motivating the public.

"I think the downside to us facing just how colossal of a challenge this is, is it can feel paralyzing," Buttigieg said. "But we can rise to meet this and be proud of it. That's part of what my climate plan is about. It's not only about all of the things we've got to do technologically and with regulation and so on. It's about summoning the energies of this country to do something unbelievably hard.

"If you look at the moments when this country rose to a major challenge, overcoming the Great Depression, winning World War II, going to the moon, it required something out of all of us. And I think we could be standing taller," he continued.

Buttigieg made his remarks a day after he and other Democrats running for president discussed plans to combat climate change during a CNN town hall telecast Wednesday.

During the town hall, the 2020 hopeful claimed climate change was a national security issue and that the Syrian war was the first war “partly caused” by climate change. He also invoked God and religion in the climate change debate, saying environmentally irresponsible behavior was “kind of a sin.”


"Let's talk in language that is understood across the heartland about faith," Buttigieg said. "If you believe that God is watching as poison is being belched into the air of creation, and people are being harmed by it — countries are at risk of vanishing in low-lying areas — what do you suppose God thinks of that? I bet He thinks it's messed up."

He added, "You don't have to be religious to see the moral dimensions of this because frankly, every religious and non-religious tradition tell us that we have some responsibility of stewardship, some responsibility of taking care of what's around us- not to mention taking care of our neighbor... At least one way of talking about this is that it's a kind of sin."

Fox News Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.