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Friday March 5, 2021 vol. CXLV no. 13

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Special Opinion Edition

Designed by: Isabel Kim ’24

Houston, we have a problem: What Princeton should learn from Texas’s winter weather crisis By Maisie McPherson Columnist

A few weeks ago, when much of the Central United States experienced record-low temperatures, Texas became the center of attention when halfa-million residents lost power. If this was not a big enough wake-up call, 30 deaths have since been recorded, including those caused by fire or carbon monoxide poisoning as residents struggled to keep warm in their homes. All eyes turned to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and his poor handling of the state’s weather crisis. Abbott insisted that this unexpected weather crisis demonstrated the harm that the Green New Deal would do to America. He claimed the crisis showed the necessity of fossil fuels and argued the Green New Deal would have “deadly repercussions.” Though this attack made for a good attempt to steer Americans away from the Green New Deal, it is false. The power grids in Texas failed due to the frigid temperatures that froze gas production, the fossil fuel that powers the state. With the Texan climate cri-

sis still fresh in our minds, this incident should be another important wake-up call for Princeton to divest from companies who are the primary drivers of this climate crisis. Blaming the weather blackouts on renewable energy is a mistake made by fear mongering, climate-change-denying politicians. In reality, Texas was too reliant on gas for its power, which means renewable energy is the last to blame for the power blackout. Looking at the facts behind the lies from Texan lawmakers, it is clear that Texas’s heavy reliance on fossil fuels is the reason why it suffered so much from the unexpected cold weather. Even Sen. Ted Cruz ’92 (RTexas), one of the most privileged people in the state, could not handle the power failings and decided to seek refuge elsewhere. His 24-hour Cancún fiasco was disrespectful to the thousands of Texans who were without power due to a climate crisis. Texas’s residents should not have had to rely on fundraising from other politicians while Texas’s own were fleeing the horrific conditions.

COURTESY OF NAFISA AHMED ’22

A thin layer of snow and ice covers the ground after unusual weather in Texas.

Reading the testimonies from residents is chilling (literally) and demonstrates the strength and the willpower the people of Texas had as they endured the storm’s effects. But it should not have to come down to the determination of the residents to battle a snowstorm. Rather, there should be laws and steps taken to ensure that a storm this devastating does

not happen again. One of these steps is reducing the state’s and country’s dependence on fossil fuels. This incident in Texas should serve as a wake-up call to many big oil corporations because of their inefficiency in a crisis like this one. Not only are fossil fuels bad for our environment, but in times of need, they could not provide help.

This should also serve as a wake up call for Princeton, one of the most influential universities in the world. Profiting from fossil fuels and investing in their “benefits” cannot be the norm for a university acting in the “service of the nation’s humanity.” After seeing the fallout from fossil fuels in Texas, it should be clear that See OPINION for more

Do Yourself a Favor and Shamelessly P/D/F Your Classes By Brigitte Harbers

Contributing Columnist

MARK LEE / THE DAILY PRINCETONIAN

An American flag flies at half-staff outside of the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad Building, in memory of the 500,000 Americans who have died since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Half a million Americans did not “die of” COVID — most of them were killed By Mark Lee

Graduate Student Columnist

Last week, the United States crossed a tragic and entirely preventable milestone: 500,000 COVID-19 deaths. I want to challenge everyone — and especially my fellow classmates and faculty at the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) — to be more precise with our language when we talk about this. Contrary to President Biden’s recent proclamation, half a million Americans were not simply “lost” to COVID-19. They may have died fighting a coronavirus infection, but their deaths were actively — and needlessly — caused by deceitful and recklessly irresponsible government leaders, Big Business profiteers, and our society’s existing set of oppressive structures. These 500,000+ souls deserve justice. In New Jersey, a state with only 8.8 million residents, more

than 23,000 of our neighbors have perished. That is more than double the number of COVID-19 deaths seen in Japan, South Korea, Australia, Taiwan, and New Zealand combined, despite these five countries containing over 230 million people. Approximately one in every 11 New Jerseyians has tested positive for the virus, itself an undercount due to early barriers to testing, many of which remain even today. Of course, it might be a stretch to expect that our government can successfully prevent 100 percent of all deaths related to COVID-19. Despite implementing a slew of scientifically-driven measures, Taiwan has still seen nine deaths due to COVID-19. Australia, a similarly populous country that took action at a slightly slower pace, has sadly reported over 900 deaths. However, these are losses several magnitudes smaller than in most U.S. See OPINION for more

In Puzzles Ante up! In this week’s crossword, Gabe Robare deals us in for a high-stakes round of poker.

Before we were faced with the pandemic, many of us could not imagine that our responsibilities could become any more stressful. Ever since classes went online, I’ve felt that my sole goal has been to survive the classes I’m taking. In addition to being sleepdeprived and isolated, I’ve struggled to withstand the pressure of an already-hectic Princeton in the midst of the pandemic. As I longed for everything from easy access to peers to review material with to possessing a physical space as an outlet for my curiosity, I realized that I’d forgotten what it feels like to actually enjoy learning — and I’m guessing I’m not the only one. Zoom University has stripped the joy away from learning. We’ve been forced to decide between achieving academic success by interacting with class material beyond the surface level or finding the time, energy, and coping mechanisms for the obscene amount of stress and anxiety that awaits us in trying to keep ourselves and our loved ones alive. My recommendation is to pass/D/fail at least one class this semester: regardless of the grade at the end of the term, take the time to engage with what is actually being taught. Emerge in May being able to actively reflect on what you learned, and think about whether it changed your perspective, or even your desire, to pursue a subject even more or just abandon it. After listening to a ridiculous amount of French pop music over the summer, I decided to take FRE 101: Introduction to French on an absolute whim. After 13 weeks of

In Multimedia

reading, writing, and speaking French — and watching a fair amount of Englishsubtitled French movies — I couldn’t be happier to have made that choice. However, I will admit there was a bit of an incentive for me to feel comfortable being as spontaneous as I was in deciding my class schedule, and that was the ability to PDF my classes. Obviously, every student at Princeton has the ability to PDF a class here and there, but we are all painfully aware of the mere four PDF chances we get in our entire Princeton careers during normal circumstances. We are also usually only allowed to PDF classes that don’t fulfill a departmental requirement. While the pandemic has been devastating on a multitude of levels, I do think that having the unlimited PDF option has been greatly advantageous, an opportunity more people should seriously consider taking. Thus, I think there are two important things to think about as we approach midterms, and

even with regard to fall semester next year. First, learning is something that should be enjoyed. We’re students at Princeton due to our lifelong desire to learn. Given that a significant portion of our community actively chooses to pursue additional degrees, I believe it’s safe to conclude that this desire does not solely result from the idealism of having a successful career, but rather the inspiration we experience when allowed to expand our understanding beyond that of our current perception. We all share a continued drive to seek those feelings throughout our lifetimes. Second, this is one of the only times in our lives in which we have the ability to pursue our interests without feeling as if we are wasting our time, energy, and money, or even feeling guilty for not pursuing something that would add to our resumes. College is intended to be an opportunity to explore beSee OPINION for more

LAZARENA LAZAROVA / THE DAILY PRINCETONIAN

Seats in McCosh 50, one of the largest lecture halls at the University.

On Thursday, a Whig-Clio general assembly voted on whether or not to take away the James Madison award from Sen. Ted Cruz ’92 (R-Texas). In Washington, the Senate voted to open debate on a stimulus package. Listen to “Daybreak” for more!

In Cartoon Check out Daniel Te’s latest cartoon, “Eisgruber Joins Smash Bros”!

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