Thursday, October 21, 2010

When the fairy dust settles over elections, it’s our environment that matters

After it is all said and done and the November elections are over your vote (even if you don’t vote) will affect our environment.  We’ll get the environment we deserve.

When we vote for our favorite candidate, the one with the best looks, with the ideology that matches ours, the one who had the most money to put on the most ads, the one who assuaged our anger, who allayed our fears, or who adopted our prejudices, we’ll be voting on our environment.   That’s because our representatives decide for us on key environmental issues—regardless of the factors that got them elected.  It’s the way it works.

If you don’t vote, because of apathy, or you’re too busy, or whatever, you will get the environment that those with enough energy to walk down to the local polling booth and flip some switches desire.  Remember: Here in Rochester, NY we know the value of the vote because Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton used to bless our area with their uncompromising, life-long struggle for women’s suffrage.  It didn’t come easy and Anthony didn’t see it happen in her lifetime.  Our Democracy shrinks when you don’t vote.  

In the Rochester, NY area those in office will determine our water quality, our transportation (high speed rail), urban sprawl, air quality (it’s failing), whether Climate Change is addressed, whether Brownfields are cleaned up, whether our lakes and streams get protected, and what kind of energy we end up with in the future.  Our representative, by their decisions, their votes, and their power to represent you, will decide the quality of your future—as they always have.

Where does your candidate stand on NYS DEC being gutted, drilling in the Marcellus Gas Shale, Climate Change, cleaning up the Great Lakes, public funds for environmental reporting, protection of wetlands, or promoting clean energy options?  Need help on the issues and who to vote for?  You cannot do better than these people, who have done a lot of the leg-work for you:

League of Conservation Voters“The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) is a national non-profit organization that works to turn environmental values into national priorities. To secure the environmental future of our planet, LCV advocates for sound environmental policies, elects pro-environment candidates who will adopt and implement such policies, provides the state LCVs with the resources and tools to accomplish and sustain their mission. ”

You’re thinking maybe, yeah, I should vote on environmental issues but that is going to have to wait because there are more important and pressing issues.  Granted it’s a mess out there, but there aren’t more pressing issues than our environment.  No environment, no you.  And, our environmental health has already been kicked down the road so far and for so long; we are reaping the consequences of those who didn’t vote for the environment before us.  We cannot drink our water without filtering it, we breathe air that has failed several years in a row for ozone contamination, and our region continues to warm up.  Environmental problems don’t just go away, they come back to bite the next generation.

Consider our environment when voting.  Our environment is low on voters list, but however you vote, our environment will be affected by the policies of those who win.  Don’t just vote for your selfish self-interest--or better yet do that.  Vote in such a way that those who you vote for will give your children a healthy environment. 

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