It hasn't been a big talking point in the national elections this year, but the environment is still out there, still chugging along, and still highly susceptible to the whims of our elected officials.
The 112th Congress has become the most anti-environmental congress in our country's history, according to a report issued by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA). The report states that:
- One out of every five votes has either rolled back protections for public lands, clean air, clean water, or enriched the oil industry.
- There were 77 votes undermining Clean Air and public health protections, including new EPA regulation of mercury toxins.
- Another 39 votes would weaken public lands protections, 37 votes to block climate change action, and 31 votes against Clean Water Act protection.
- The House voted to enrich the oil and gas industry 109 times, a total 44 percent of its anti-environment votes. There were 38 votes to prevent clean energy deployment and 12 votes to expedite review of the Keystone XL pipeline.
What can you do? First, if you're interested, log on to the League of Conservation Voters environmental scorecard database, enter your zip code, and find out how your elected representatives voted on environmental issues during this current term.
Last week, reknowned environmental activist (and, oh yeah, actor and director) Robert Redford accepted the League of Conservation Voters' Lifetime Achievement award, and discussed the incredible importance of this election and what's at stake for the environment. He closed his remarks by saying:
"There’s not a lot that we can really be proud of in terms of what my generation has done to the planet, no matter how hard some of us have tried. But there’s a reason to be optimistic and I think it’s about youth. I honestly believe that this is a bright spot in our future – the youth of today. I would love to see all of us, and the League of Conservation Voters, focus on the youth. Talk to them. Inspire them. Bring them in. It’s their world they’re going to be stepping into. Give them the reins – I think they’re qualified to handle it – but bring them in. Get them involved. Because they might be the best new asset we can get.”
Educating yourself, then voting your conscience—and encouraging your friends and family to do the same—is the best way to ensure that our environment has capable stewards in our government, who will safeguard it for our future and our children's future.
Image by Earth Hour Global