It’s Not the Economy; It’s the Environment!
As I monitored the results of Tuesday’s primaries, mostly thanks to my Twitter friends, I was once again struck how the candidates and general population are ignoring the greatest issue facing human kind: climate change. Media outlet after media outlet proclaimed the economy as the greatest concern of voters; however, the connection to the environment seems to be lost in the hype. Not only is environmental degradation caused by our hunger for rapid, continual economic growth, but the environment also offers the solution to leading us out of recession.
Whether you like it or not, we live in a corporatocracy where decisions are made in favor of short term profits in contrast to the long term effects on our environment. When we expect that our economy will perpetually grow without considering the environmental consequences of corporate decisions, we are doomed. This is what the presidential candidates should be talking about: how can we ensure a stable economy that protects the environment. The solution is green jobs.
Both candidates (I am excluding McCain from any discussion — can he seriously think we should be in Iraq for 100 years and give nuclear power subsidies?) Obama and Clinton have promised new green collar jobs if elected. This should be more at the forefront of both of their campaigns, as I see research, careers, new technologies, etc. that will help us solve climate change issues as the WPA of our times. Let’s not build new dams, but let’s tear them down and replace them with wind and solar power plants. And I’m sorry, but if Al Gore really cared about the environment, he would run for president, where he would actually have the power to bring about the change that is needed.
Environmental regulations do not hinder economic growth; they change the nature of economic growth to a healthier alternative for the planet and its inhabitants. This should be the issue of this campaign: how are we going to use the problem of climate change to stimulate our economy? The only trade-offs are abandoning the current corporate power strangle on Washington in favor of a green economy. I have to believe we can do it, but who will lead us? You can view the candidates’ stances on various environmental issues at the Grist.