Environmental Issues in Politics

Jess Hutton | December 4, 2015 | Industry Knowledge

It’s no secret that our planet is in need of some serious help. Our daily habits are causing global catastrophes, and it’s time to start taking steps to protect and conserve our resources to ensure a healthy future. U.S. general elections have recently wrapped up and we are preparing for the Presidential elections in 2016. We want to shed some light on important environmental issues in politics to research before casting your vote.

Energy

Everything is made of energy, and everything uses energy. It’s essential to our existence. The way we have extracted and used our energy resources has caused damage to other precious resources – the Earth, plants, trees, our air, the ocean, and our food. Some politicians wish to find environmentally friendly energy sources and solutions. Others support electricity deregulation and believe that energy resources should be privately owned, not government-owned. Do your research so you know where your candidate stands. The World Climate Summit is currently hosting leaders from around the world in Paris to come up with a universal agreement to climate change. France recently announced it will target 8GW of solar PV capacity by 2020. Hopefully this ambitious goal will set an example for other countries to follow.

Social/Ecological Balance

Every organism has its own, unique ability to make sure its basic needs are met – animals need air, water, food and shelter; plants need light, air, water and nutrients. They tend to their immediate needs, and use the resources available to them. Humans must also learn to maintain an ecological balance and live within the available resources on this planet. If we can shift towards a more sustainable lifestyle as a species, we will ensure that our children and grandchildren have a beautiful future to look forward to. When researching candidates – understand their plans for laws, regulations, and agreements that protect our resources and work towards a sustainable healthy future. Big ideas include changing agricultural practices, increasing energy efficiency, and respecting natural habitats.

Waste Management

Waste management is a $75 billion industry. All of us could reduce our intake and waste, so we need leaders who understand the importance of decreasing the garbage we send to landfills. One simple thing we can do collectively is to compost. We have all heard the phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle”, but how about adding the word “rot” as well? Natural resources like plants, trees, rocks, oil, sand, air, and water, can all be placed a compost bin, to create nutrient and vitamin-rich dirt. Anything plant or animal-based can be composted. Communities across the US are implementing compost programs, including schools and businesses. Many programs are funded by local governments, so it’s important to research which political candidates are in favor of spreading or continuing this beneficial practice.

Our actions should be motivated by long-term goals – our future, and the future of our children and grandchildren. We do not necessarily need government entities to tell us how to respect our planet and resources, but it’s much easier to as accomplish with leaders in office who think ahead and understand the importance of our actions. Canada recently appointed Catherine McKenna to office, and changed her title to “Minister of Environment and Climate Change.” When asked about adding the term “climate change” to the title, McKenna replied “Well first of all because we can use the term climate change,” she said. “We believe climate change is a huge problem we need to be addressing. We are certainly highlighting this and we’re going to be taking action right away.” As responsible voters, we need to ensure environmental policies are put into place to protect our planet, and to hold businesses and corporations responsible for their actions. We all benefit from healthy environments in our homes, schools, and workplaces. We need to work together to create a sustainable economy that does not depend on continual expansion for survival.

 

Sources:

www.desmog.ca

www.ontheissues.org/Celeb/Green_Party_Environment.htm

www.ontheissues.org/Celeb/Democratic_Party_Environment.htm

www.ontheissues.org/Celeb/Republican_Party_Environment.htm

www.environmentmagazine.org

www.pbslearningmedia.org

Featured image by Wally Gobetz/Flickr

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