Which issue do you think is the most important one facing our country? The collective answer will surely help to decide the presidential election. Many would probably say the economy and jobs, or terrorism and safety. Race relations, gun control, health care and abortion would certainly be on the list as well. Although these and other problems are certainly important to all of us, in my mind, the single most important issue facing our nation, as well as the entire world, is the environment.
If we don’t take steps to care for the planet we live on, how can we possibly take care of one another? On the other hand, if we do look after Planet Earth; if we do clean up our act, we will surely then look after the people on it as well. By putting Planet Earth first, our lives, and those of our children and grandchildren, will undoubtedly reap great rewards. It’s that simple, and it explains why I see all other issues as pale in comparison.
Environmental matters include concerns over the oceans, overall water and air pollution, but especially climate change. The related science is backed up by systematic study after study, with conclusions that are indisputable.
News of the environment is nearly always bad. Most notably, climate change has resulted in unprecedented global temperatures for every single month since last autumn. The warming of the Pacific Ocean has been a partial cause, but this El Nino year is far worse than any other in human history.
Most importantly, there is something we can do about it. We can reduce, re-use and recycle. We can turn our thermostats down in the winter and up in the summer. We can drive less and walk more. Mostly, use common sense in order to have a smaller footprint. Helpful though they are though, these are small things. There is a much more effective way to influence the environment in a truly positive way, and it doesn’t hurt a bit: Vote for the right people, especially in the Presidential race.
One candidate is on the record as saying, "Well, I think the climate change is just a very, very expensive form of tax. A lot of people are making a lot of money. I know much about climate change. I'd be — received environmental awards. And I often joke that this is done for the benefit of China. Obviously, I joke. But this is done for the benefit of China, because China does not do anything to help climate change. They burn everything you could burn; they couldn't care less. They have very — you know, their standards are nothing. But they — in the meantime, they can undercut us on price. So it's very hard on our business." Another time, this person used the term, “hoax” in relation to global warming three times in one sentence: "Obama's talking about all of this with the global warming and … a lot of it's a hoax. It's a hoax. I mean, it's a money-making industry, okay? It's a hoax, a lot of it."
Although this person’s personality, mannerisms and speech are abhorrent to some, other people feel that he, and the party that he represents, is right to deny climate change and science in general. If climate change is a hoax, then surely all of science should also be in question, and we may as well exploit, squander and pollute Earth’s resources to our collective hearts’ content.
The other political party does not have an unblemished record in regards to environmental matters. They’ve made blunders, bowed to political pressure in some cases, and most importantly, dragged their feet on much needed environmental legislation. But at least they acknowledge that the science is legitimate.
And they do try. Our president angered many when he issued executiveorders to bypass Congress in order to meet agreements he made with the Paris climate accord and with China’s President. I feel that if there was ever a justifiable need to bypass non-existent congressional approval, this was it. It was right to give us a fighting chance, a baby step, in fighting climate change. This party’s 2016 candidate also acknowledges science. I am confident that she will continue the course of caring for the earth.
I understand that there is nothing I can say here to change anyone’s mind that’s already made up. But for those who haven’t decided, for those who may not bother to vote, please consider: the choice is stark. One candidate believes in science and will most likely at least try to care for the environment, and therefore our heritage. The other will deny science and exploit earth’s resources for extremely short term gain for a few, and long term disaster for all.