Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Making The Environment A Right, Left, and Center Issue

A week ago, Joyce posted about who she was voting for and why, which led to a very interesting discussion on her blog.

And it got me thinking.

You see, Joyce and I are voting for two different people. And that's okay. There are a lot of reasons I am voting for my guy, and there are a lot of reasons Joyce is voting for hers. Our candidates differ on a lot of issues, and that's also important and healthy in a democracy.

But climate change need not be an area where they disagree.

When I first started writing this blog, I assumed most of the people reading it would be like me. Liberals from the coasts, or big cities. What I found though, is that the environment isn't an issue upon which liberals have a monopoly. (As well it shouldn't.) Now I am happy to count atheists and evangelicals alike among my blog friends. Conservatives, liberals, and moderates. And my readers came from all over the world. Europe, Asia, Oklahoma, Washington, Virginia, California.

I want Obama to win. I'll make no bones about that. The second my absentee ballot gets here, that's whose name I'll be ticking.

BUT.

We can't afford to waste four more years dawdling over climate change. If McCain wins, we liberals cannot afford to write him off and wait four years until we may or may not get someone more to our liking in the White House.

That's why I believe the politicization of environmental issues is dangerous. We simply cannot afford climate change to be seen as a left-wing issue. And the truth is, it shouldn't be. I now know many evangelicals and/or conservatives who care deeply and passionately about the environment. If we all work together, I believe that we can make climate change a bipartisan issue. We can make change if we ignore our blue/red divisions, and roll up our sleeves to work together.

No matter which candidate wins, we will still need to keep an eye on him. There are a lot of other issues that are going to draw attention away from climate change, and there are a lot of special interests that are going to do their darndest to keep any president, Democrat or Republican, from making much needed changes.

We need to remind McCain and Obama constantly that they do not answer to special interests. They answer to us.

So here's my proposal/challenge to you all. Until the election in November, email your candidate(s) once a week regarding an environmental issue. Keep it constructive. If Obama's health care policy gets you going, but his lukewarm statements on coal leave you cold, tell him so. If you love Palin's family values, but hate her position on polar bears, tell her so. Remind your candidate that you WANT to vote for them, but that they need to EARN your vote. If you don't know who you are going to vote for, so much the better. Write to BOTH Obama and McCain, and tell them what they need to do to swing your vote their way.

And you can write whatever you want, so if plastic is your big issue, talk about that. If peak oil is your issue, you can write about that. If you have no idea what to talk about, I'll be sharing my letters here, and you can use mine as a template. And if you're not an American citizen, you can still take part in the election madness by writing to your elected officials.

Climate change has been too much of a non-issue in this election. Let's make sure our voices are heard. If you want to participate in my Armchair Activism For All challenge, please leave a comment and I'll add your name to my side-bar. (And if anyone with any spare time wants to make a cute doohickey for graphically challenged me, I'd be much obliged.)

It's hard to believe that one vote, or one e-mail can make a difference, but remember, the past few elections have been decided by very small numbers of votes, and it doesn't appear like this election will be any different. If we all make our voices heard, we can change the world.

15 comments:

eco 'burban mom said...

What an awesome idea, Arduous. I too want Obama to win more than I have ever wanted anyone to win an election in my lifetime. However, I think the candidates (both!) are pushing environmental concerns, education issues and healthcare issues by the wayside and can only seem to either point fingers, bicker or dwell on the economy. I will be jumping on this idea. Hmmm... do I see a challenge in this post somewhere???

Joyce said...

Honestly, if you keep making me cry I'm going to quit reading your blog before staff meetings! Thanks you for being so respectful of other's opinions, Arduous. I think your suggestion is exactly the right one.

Stephanie said...

That is an incredibly good idea. Need to get off my butt and write some letters!

Green Bean said...

Awesome idea! You are so right. Climate change CANNOT be a liberal issue or a left wing issue or a blue state issue. All of us will be affected and we all need to raise our voices and be heard - by all the candidates.

So glad to have you back in the world of blogging.

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

Excellent excellent post. Good luck, I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines!

Donna said...

Hear, hear! or is it "Here, here!" Never mind, I totally agree. I can't for the life of me figure out why some politicians are so boneheaded on the environment or why it should be such a partisan issue when we all live on the same planet. That's a great idea to be sending them mail. Count me in as one of the undecideds, so maybe I'll email both of them!

ruchi aka arduous said...

EBM, oops, I should have made it more clear, I guess. It is a challenge. I'm challenging myself, and anyone else who wants to participate. You in?

Joyce, sorry about that. Didn't mean to make you cry! Does that mean you're in?

Stephanie, great, I'm counting you in!

GB, thanks! Do you have time to participate?

Cath, thanks!

Donna, great. I'm excited that you'll be emailing both candidates!

Joyce said...

I'm so not a letter-writer, but this fall I have been doing some of that to get our governor to restore funding for the state parks. We're having lots of drama at the state level here. I think I'll stay focused on that.

Stephanie said...

Awesome, having it as a challenge will hopefully help me actually DO it.

I've also been spreading the idea to others I think it will benefit, but I've gotten the question back: where do we write to? Which e-mail address works? I've been looking around and all I've found that seems like it would work is the Senators' contact forms on their web pages. No official way to contact them as a *candidate*. And for Obama the e-mail form takes you through a thousand steps before getting you to a real text input area (or does it ever get there??). So I'm not sure where to send e-mail or letters TO. And where to tell others to send. Any advice?

okham said...

Ruchi (aka Arduous), the problem is: if McCain wins he will write us off, not the other way around...
He'll give his acceptance speech along the lines of some other guy ("I am a uniter not a divider", "I reach out to those who share my goals"... OK, maybe he won't say "don't misunderstimate me", his running mate will take care of that part, much like Dan Quayle did many years ago), and proceed for the remaining fours year to shove down the throat of the majority policies with which said majority disagrees... like, more war, less regulations, less health care, more tax cuts to those who don't need them, huge cuts to discretionary spending...
He'll do all that with strong support of essentially the whole media spectrum, from the far right to the center right (e.g., the NYT).
There isn't really much anyone can do, at that point...

Going Crunchy said...

Hum, I think I say Arduous for Prez right now.

I had next door neighbor friend. She is Catholic, I am mixed. She is Republican, I am well, Green and Dem. She is convervative, I am flaming Liberal. And we are FRIENDS. And we talked politics. It can, and should be done more with folks on the other side. It also opened more of a dialogue on environmental concerns which just plain 'ole helps us all. Good post!

CindyW said...

I totally agree with you about the necessity of making the environment a right, left and center issue.

That said, I do think that climate change is an area where they disagree. They don't need to but they. Just look at their energy policies - drill baby drill vs. alternative energy support.

I am not saying that we should not pressure McCain on these issues if he somehow wins. Unfortunately he has to answer first to his very financially endowed supporters.

Anyhow the result of the election should not change the green movement. However I fully expect that an Obama administration will have a much much higher priority on climate crisis than a McCain administration.

Green Bean said...

If emails count, I'm in.

Wilson said...

I totally agree with you that we should make environment a right, left and center issue.
Actually i think that every body in this world should know that what is environment and how we can preserve it ,,
i suggest that we should support those type of institutes that provides specialized training about environment..
Recently i came across a website like this. That site is http://www.aarcherinstitute.com/ .
The Aarcher Institute of Environmental Training is an independently operated training institute supported by Aarcher, Inc. a well-respected environmental assessment, planning, and management firm.

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