Since today is blog action day, many of the blogs I read will be posting about the environment. Although I was originally planning to write on various subjects like waste reduction or environmentally conscious eating, I decided that as an American there’s only one real action that MUST be taken to help the global environment. It can never be passed over, you have no excuse for not doing it and it is immensely powerful. What is the action?
I am not going to make an impassioned plea on behalf of any specific political party. I think one party in the US is clearly more friendly to the environment, but I’ll leave that up to the individual to decide. Besides, there’s a broad range of opinions in both parties on how much attention to pay to the environment but also how to fix it – government intervention versus encouraging private innovation, and so on.
What I want every American to realize is that the federal government has far-reaching and massive influence over the treatment of the environment in the US, and that attitude reverberates around the globe. No individual action will be as significant as even a minor change in regulations by the US government. Just think of some of these actions and how they could affect the environment for good or ill. Again, there’s room all over the political spectrum for innovation here.
- raising CAFE standards, or changing the way they are calculated
- creating a plan of massive tax incentives for green technology devlopment encouraging individual action through tax breaks
- banning or allowing nuclear power
- continuing to regulate water and air purity
- protecting national parks from development, or developing national parks but making part of the purchase price maintaining others
- subsidizing ethanol production, or ending ethanol subsidies
- subsidizing oil production, or increasing taxes on oil
- enacting legislation punishing polluters
- free-trade agreements without protection against polluting industries
- encouraging wind power or other renewables through tax credits
- allowing genetically modified foods to be grown, sold and consumed
I think when you consider that list, and a million others, you’ll realize that finding candidates who share your values – and then actually create legislation that supports those values – can be infinitely more effective than hoping to bring about change by yourself. I am not trying to belittle individual action, but if we combine our efforts there will be an incremental increase in our effect. Without swift and dramatic action, we run an increasing risk of undoable damage to the planet.
So consider getting out and voting. It’s easy, it’s quick and there’s no excuse. Your world is depending on you.