The Real Deal: The environment is no longer a partisan issue

Before I get to this week’s article, I’d like to take the time to make some confessions and disclaimers before we get to the content of this article. To begin with, I understand the implied hypocrisy in lecturing people to care about the environment by using a paper medium. I understand I’m not an authority or pundit on the subject, nor am I the most knowledgeable or even involved ‘environmentalist’ in the grand scheme of things. At best, I’m a concerned citizen, and at worst, I’m a rambling imbecile. Yet in spite of all this, I know not what else to care for, or fight for. The issues of the environment are not a third tier issue for political debates, nor are they the domain of a niche crowd. They’re among the most critical of our time. 

Historically, the United States and its political systems have seemed to at least give an iota of attention to the issue of the environment. During the ‘Progressive Era’ of the late 1800s and the early 1900s, Theodore Roosevelt and other progressive Republicans spearheaded the conservation movement, and were able to establish the Forest Service, 5 national parks, and numerous other projects that created 230,000,000 acres of conserved land. The last of the ‘Progressive Era’ presidents, Woodrow Wilson, continued this on by passing the establishment of the National Parks Service, along with numerous other public works and river projects. In President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal to address the numerous problems onset by the Great Depression, including the disaster of the dust bowls in the Midwest, the environment was also given priority, with the creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps in FDR’s first 100 days, addressing both employment and soil erosion. Even shifty Richard Nixon allowed for the creation of the EPA, along with the clean air and water acts. Societally, we’ve never been this separate from the natural world either. Not only have American scientists made strides in clean energy, climate science, and the like, but our nation has historically had a spirit for the outdoors and exploration.

So what do we have to show for it today? According to the Pew Research Center, only 51% of Americans view the protection of the environment as a top priority, with only 38% viewing the issue of Climate Change as a top priority, with an evident partisan divide amongst respondents. In the United States congress alone, 131 members in the house deny climate change, while 38 members in the Senate also deny it, these members being of the conservative persuasion. 52% of the US population also denies climate change at this rate.

Granted this article has been a dragging rant, I would urge you to think on this. We all do subscribe to some sort of ideology, but we all share the planet. I would urge you to do a little research of your own into the science of the environment, not just Fox News propaganda. I’d urge you to watch Planet Earth on Netflix. I implore you to look into the campaign contributions to members of both parties and find the fossil fuel industry rear its ugly head. Life on this planet will survive, but it’s ultimately up to us to decide if we want to keep ourselves on this planet or not, and politics will have to keep up with science, for that to happen.