As we enter the primaries, the presidential election is a hotter topic than ever. There are several issues close to my heart: equality, education, economic, and environmental – an extremely underrated matter. Personally, it seems many Americans value their money going towards themselves while detrimental advances are being made on the global warming front, not to mention the numerous other problems related to our clean air, clean water, and the preserving of our very own national parks.
Several of you already submitted your vote on Super Tuesday…
However, I’m hoping to aid the rest of you in making an educated vote to support, improve, and protect the outdoors we love so much.
Here’s what the major candidates have said about their stances on environmental issues:
– “This has to be a national priority, not just for today or tomorrow. Clean water is not optional, my friends, it is not a luxury.” – February 2016 (on Flint)
– “Climate change is real. It’s hurting our planet and our people. We can’t afford a president who ignores the science.” – January 2016
– “I’ve laid out bold national goals to address the threats [climate change] poses. As president, I’ll say no to drilling in the Arctic. I’ll stop tax giveaways to big oil and gas companies. I’ll make significant investments in clean energy. Our children’s health and future depend on it.” – January 2016
– “Now, the future that I envision is one where we move past, finally, the old false choice between protecting our environment and growing our economy, and instead we decide to do both.” – September 2014
– “Climate change is the greatest threat facing our planet. We must act boldly. I will cut U.S. carbon pollution by 80% by putting a tax on carbon pollution, repealing fossil fuel subsidies, and make massive investments in energy efficiency and clean, sustainable energy such as wind and solar power creating 100% clean energy system.” – December 2015
– “We owe it to future generations to move aggressively to save this planet.” – December 2015
– “We must break our dependence on fossil fuels, and move to wind, solar, and geothermal sustainability solutions.” – July 2015
– “Global warming is an expensive hoax.” – January 2016
– “The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is an impediment to both growth and jobs.” – August 2015, SIDE NOTE: The EPA has played a vital role in lessening the destruction of our atmosphere and improving our environments since its establishment. It is literally the only American government-supported effort to help the world we live on.
– “I’m a huge believer in clean air.” – June 2015
– “The federal government has imposed far too many regulations that stifle growth and often protect special interests more than the environment. As president, I will end regulations such as the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule (SIDE NOTE: this ensures the waters protected under the Clean Water Act) and foster economic growth by restoring authority to the states. I will end the backlog of maintenance of our national parks.” – January 2016
– “The problem with climate change is there’s never been a day in the history of the world in which the climate is not changing.” – July 2015
– “I do not believe we have to destroy our economy in order to protect our environment,” – January 2016, SIDE NOTE: So pretty much you’re choosing money over our planet?
– “There’s no way any reasonable person could conclude that the most immediate threat we face to our security is what the climate is going to look like in 25 or 30 years.” – December 2015
– “[The Clean Power Plan] is one of the most costly regulations ever created,” and it would have, “little to no environmental benefit.” – September 2015, SIDE NOTE: The Clean Power Plan was unveiled in August 2015 and set a national limited on carbon pollution from power plants, which has lowered carbon emissions, increased clean air, and strengthened the need for clean energy. Scientists estimate by 2030, the act will reduce pollutants that create smug and soot by 25%, resulting in net climate and health benefits worth $25 billion to $45 billion dollars, including a decrease in asthma attacks and premature deaths. The Clean Power Act will save American families roughly $155 billion in energy costs.
As we all know, actions are more powerful than words. Here are some of the crucial actions these same 2016 presidential candidates want to implement as our next POTUS, as noted on the respected candidate’s official website, under the “Issues” sections (unless otherwise noted):
– “Create good-paying jobs by making the United States the clean energy superpower of the 21st century.”
– “Set national goals to have 500 million solar panels installed; generate enough renewable energy to power every home in America; cut energy waste in homes, schools, and hospitals by a third; and reduce American oil consumption by a third.”
– “Lead the world in the fight against climate change by bringing greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below what they were in 2005 within the next decade – and keep going.”
– “Defend, implement, and extend smart pollution and efficiency standards, including the Clean Power Plan, which will prevent 3,600 premature deaths and 90,000 asthma attacks annually, and efficiency standards for cars, trucks, and appliances that are already reducing energy costs for American[s].”
– “Launch a $60 billion Clean Energy Challenge to partner with states, cities, and rural communities and give them the tools and resources they need to go beyond federal standards in cutting carbon pollution and expanding clean energy.”
– “Invest in clean energy infrastructure, innovation, manufacturing, and workforce development to make the U.S. Economy more competitive and create good paying jobs and careers.”
– “Ensure safe and responsible energy production.”
– “Reform leasing on public lands.”
– “End wasteful tax subsidies for oil and gas companies.”
– “Cut methane emissions across the economy.”
– “Revitalize coal communities.”
– Additionally Hillary agrees national parks should be preserved and protected by federal government.
– “Reclaim our democracy from the billionaire fossil fuel lobby.”
“Accelerate a just transition away from the fossil fuels” and “invest in clean, sustainable energy.”
– “Revolutionize our electric and transportation infrastructure… to create jobs.”
– “Aims to ensure the continued conservation of watersheds, national reserves, and natural areas.”
– “Recognizes the importance of clean water and air to the continued health of ecosystems and public health.”
– “Supports the continued and strong funding of parks, hunting lands, and public use areas.”
– Bernie Sanders agrees national parks should be preserved and protected by federal government but adds that the government should protect more land.
– Donald Trump does not cover environmental issues on his website… This is certainly an indicator on how much he values our planet (read: not a whole lot).
– However, we do know that he denies climate change is real and he wants to abolish the EPA. SIDE NOTE: Destroying the EPA, as Mother Jones puts it, “means no Clean Power Plan and no further enforcement of existing regulations, or new regulations, on any related carbon or conventional air pollution. There would be no methane leakage rules, no new auto efficiency standards, no mercury or ozone regulations. Also no clean water programs. We’d have more Flints: more sick kids, especially in poor neighborhoods, from dirty air and poisoned water. Trump has been fantasizing for months about gutting the EPA, having told Fox News in October, ‘What they do is a disgrace. Every week they come out with new regulations. They’re making it impossible.’”
– Trump also wants to defund the Department of the Interior which would result in absolutely no national parks management, no overseeing or protection of federal lands, and no enforcement of endangered species protections. K, not trying to be biased but this is not cool.
– Yet, research shows Trump (at one point — please note that Trump tends to change his mind on his policies and values frequently) once agreed that national parks should be preserved and protected by the federal government, but wants national parks to be more recreationally focused. My guess? He wants to put a Trump Tower in Yosemite.
– Like Trump, Cruz neglects to mention any environmental issues on his website. It’s too bad he doesn’t care so strongly about the environment like he does gun control and immigration!
– However, we do know he voted NO on protecting ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems in 2013.
– He believes the EPA is “unbelievably abusive” on the coal industry and supports opening areas for offshore drilling.
– He has pushed for preventing federal restrictions on fracking and to expand energy development on federal lands.
– He supports the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline.
– And he disagrees with scientific consensus that climate change even exists (I’m sorry, but how do people deny climate change in 2016?!).
– “On Day One in office, Marco will begin to undo the damage done by President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency.”
– “Rewrite the Obama Administration’s Flawed Five-Year Offshore Drilling Plan.” SIDE NOTE: GOPs agreed that Obama’s original plan was extremely restrictive, but he has since opened up the Arctic, Gulf of Mexico, and the coasts of a few U.S. East coast states for offshore drilling, which increases our dependence on fossil fuels and puts our rare, fragile ecosystems at risk (of an oil spill). I believe Rubio wants to contribute more lands to offshore drilling practices.
– “Defend U.S. Interests in International Climate Negotiations.”
– “Stop President Obama’s Carbon Mandates.” SIDE NOTE: These carbon mandates cut our nation’s carbon pollution.
– “Simplify and Improve the Environmental Review Process.”
– “Reform Our Outdated Higher Education System to Support Energy Jobs of the Future.”
– “To achieve our full energy potential… Marco will follow three guiding principles: optimizing America’s resources, minimizing government bureaucracy, and maximizing private innovation.”
It’s crystal clear that some candidates don’t hold our beloved Earth as a priority. Please keep that in mind when you head to the voting booths this spring and fall. I urge you to not overlook the importance of environmental issues like Trump and Cruz have done – like what kind of serious presidential candidate doesn’t cover this topic on their official website!?
While a candidate may agree with you on other crucial subjects, when it comes down to it… None of that shit matters if we don’t have a planet to exist on.
The truth is, global warming is real and we have to make drastic changes in our lifestyles to save our amazing Earth; only the government’s regulations can aid in this impact. I am down on my knees begging you to not vote for a candidate who is dense enough to deny the obvious heating of our planet, an issue that is SO VITAL to the existence of our species.
And I don’t want to get too political because ultimately the choice you make on that ballot is yours, but…
… For the love of our planet and our future and our children, don’t vote Trump.
My final words to you are this… Vote. You may feel itty, bitty in this enormous and chaotic world but your voice does matter. You could be that one vote that gets the win for your candidate, like the voter in Methuen, Massachusetts. We are fortunate to even be given this amount of power over our very own government, take advantage of it. We are creating a planet not just for ourselves, but for friends, our family, our children, and our children’s children. This election matters to everyone. Make it count.