Every few years in this country we go through a song and dance show to elect our leaders and representatives. We hear from each of them about their plans to do this or do that, carefully trying not to offend anyone while simultaneously appealing to everyone. From education to taxes to the deficit to foreign policy, the candidates tell us what we want to hear only to constantly change positions throughout their elected tenure. No topic is seemingly off-limits for discussion except possibly the single most important one that should be of the up most concern for all of humanity:
The health of our environment.
The environment encompasses all that we have been, currently are, and hope to be in the future. Without it, we have nothing. It makes up our homes, where we work, where our families travel to, and how we enjoy the time we are allotted here on Earth. If our environment is not healthy, we have no chance of being healthy or of having a future.
Regardless of your political affiliation, it is important to see the health of our environment as the single most important issue of our time. On a daily basis, we assault it with all that we have to offer as a modern society: pollution from cars, airplanes, and power plants, toxic chemicals leeching into the ground, “fracking” near our underground aquifers in order to access natural gas, and the wholesale destruction of our food supply with genetically-modified organisms and pesticides. At times, it seems as though we are hell-bent on seeing just how much damage our world can sustain before it stops sustaining us. And that’s why the environment should be at the top of every politician’s (and human citizen’s) list of concerns, way above and beyond things like education, taxes, deficits, and foreign policy. Here’s why…
Yes, education is a top priority. But what good is an education if the children and young adults getting one don’t have a healthy planet to use it on?
Ah, taxes. Everyone’s favorite scapegoat is the price of living in a civilized society, isn’t it? Whether too high or too low, taxes won’t matter one bit on a planet that is beyond saving or habitation.
Another favorite of politicians that truly – if we’re being honest with ourselves – has no effect on the general population. We have had high deficits and low deficits, but have you ever noticed it help or hurt you? I haven’t. And that will continue on a planet being painstakingly destroyed by our own ambivalence and denial.
While important for the safety of our home planet, a good foreign policy plan can also make or break a nation. But when water supplies dwindle, air turns toxic, and the effects of climate change are felt around the globe, good foreign policy isn’t going to stop humans from fighting each other over the last drops of gasoline, clean drinking water, and scraps of food.
When over 99 percent of climate scientists believe that humans are causing climate change and that the effects we are feeling from it today is only the beginning, one would think it would behoove our elected officials to aim at least a small amount of their rhetoric towards the well-being of the environment. Sure, they throw us a bone once in a while in order to appease the “green” voting bloc, but in the grand scheme the environment is thoroughly ignored so that the focus can be on all the extracurricular topics that will be irrelevant if we don’t have a clean planet to live on. It’s up to us to impress upon them the importance of this topic and to vote out of office the ones who choose to ignore environmental issues.
Without a healthy environment, we don’t have anything.
What’s your take? Do you believe the environment should take center stage in our political discourse above other topics or do you believe we should stick with the status quo and stick with the same old same old? Would love to read your thoughts on the subject?