OPINION / COMMENTARY
The following excerpt is from an article published in The Buffalo News, written by Walter Simpson. A retired University Energy Officer for 26 years and former director of the UB Green Office at the SUNY University at Buffalo, Simpson organized and leads a 20 group coalition, the Clean Energy for Jamestown Campaign, which is opposed to the construction of a new coal-burning power plant in Jamestown, NY, and in favor of an efficiency-based energy plan. The article was published as a "Viewpoints" essay on Earth Day, April 22, 2012, and can be read in its entirety on Simpson's website Energy Really Matters.
Environmental Stakes Are High In the Upcoming Presidential Election
Obama’s record is mixed bag but Republican victory would reverse environmental progress
Earth Day is more than celebrating the little things we do to protect the environment. It’s time to look more broadly at environmental policy and take our planet’s pulse.
Are we doing enough to protect nature and endangered species and reduce air and water pollution? Are we maximizing the green jobs and public health benefits of environmental protection? Are we rapidly developing new green technologies to compete with global green export leaders like China and Germany?
Daring to answer these questions honestly is difficult. We all have our own priorities and problems. We are endlessly distracted by cell phones, computers, video games, hundreds of TV channels, advertising and shopping. We lead busy lives, detached from nature.
Few people want to be troubled by “inconvenient truths” that require significant action and sacrifice. Besides, polluting industries and their friends constantly reassure us there’s no problem. Case in point is the 1,000 pound polar bear in the room -- climate change -- the most serious environmental problem ever.
With so much at stake, it’s never been more important to cast a vote for the environment than in the 2012 presidential election.