Vice President Harris argued Tuesday that young people are experiencing "climate anxiety" that causes them to rethink major future plans like having a family due to the environmental impact.
At the latest stop in her national "Fight for Our Freedoms" college tour, Harris told an audience at the Reading Area Community College in Berks County, Pennsylvania, that the Biden-Harris ticket saw a record turnout of young voters during the 2020 election, inspiring the administration’s initiative toward student loan forgiveness, which recently hit a roadblock in court.
"We're not going to stop fighting for that. Because young people said, we're not leaving it to other people to decide how we're dealing with the climate crisis. You know, I've heard young leaders talk with me about a term they've coined, ‘climate anxiety,’" Harris said, pivoting, "Which is fear of the future and the unknown of whether it makes sense for you to even think about having children, whether it makes sense for you to think about aspiring to buy a home because what will this climate be?"
Several critics on social media erupted against Harris' "climate anxiety" claim, arguing Americans are more likely to consider the rising costs of energy, food and housing when making the decision to have children. The Republican-led House Budget Committee has blamed the Biden administration’s economic policies for leading to the most rapid increase in mortgage rates since 1981. A Gallup poll from May found a record low 21% of Americans think it is a good time to buy a home.
Harris also argued young voters are committed to defending diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, initiatives against those whom the vice president deemed "extremists" fighting against it.
"Because people voted, we have been able to put in place over $1 trillion in investment in our country around things like climate resilience and adaptation, around focusing on issues like environmental justice and understanding that despite what these extremist so-called leaders are trying to do when they're trying to get rid of DEI diversity, equity and inclusion, we know that we're going to stay committed to issues like equity," she said.
"We want everyone to have an equal amount, but not everyone starts out on the same base," Harris continued. "And so if you give everyone an equal amount, but you don't start out in the same pace, you're still going to end up with people being treated differently. Equity says let's take that into account. And young voters and young leaders are then in a position, and have been, to fight against these extremists who are trying to say things like DEI are bad."