As we continue through this political season and I listen to both sides continue the positioning and manipulation of facts (yes, I recognize that neither party holds the patent on exaggerations and outright lying), I am hoping that the cloud being raised by all the focus and fuss on the economy doesn’t overwhelm the fact that we can’t just throw all caution to the wind and start making rash and short-term decisions – all in the name of trying to quickly fix an economic situation which did not develop and happen overnight. I do believe that many of the economic woes we currently have are a result of rapid fire and poorly thought through, short-term focused actions and decisions. Doesn’t appear to have worked too well for the vast majority of Americans.
We have already pretty much sold our children’s and grandchildren’s economic life somewhat down the tubes in getting to where we are today. Let us not also throw the environment out the door for them at the same time. One thing to have money issues – a whole other thing to pretty much find ourselves in a world where everything resembles a toxic wasteland. I know that is probably an overstatement but I expect most have forgotten what it took to get our air and water to where it is today from where it was when the environmental movement became a force to be reckoned with back in the 1960’s and into the 1970’s when the idea of protecting the environment was still considered radical. At the time, air and water pollution was almost seen as an expected and reasonable by-product of our continued industrial growth. And in reality, there was no economic pressure for industry to do anything different. It was basically a view that the ends justified the means. Fortunately, smarter and influential individuals and organizations were able to take hold and their efforts eventually made a difference. I suggest that people take a quick tour back to that time and see what the Great Lakes looked like, take a look at the air pollution in our major cities, get a sense of the number of lives impacted by the toxic waste dumps created by big business.
I am far from someone who could be considered an extremist when it comes to the environment. Yes, I wore Earth shoes (who didn’t back then) and I take recycling to be something important but I am far from an activist in any sense. I believe that there are extremes in the enviromentalist initiatives that probably go too far. But when I hear the current crop of Republican candidates and leaders start there “Drill baby Drill” chant and when I hear the call to disband the EPA, I start to shudder a bit. I am one that believes that corporate America will do whatever is needed that leads to an extra penny in a dividend check. I believe the Exxons of the world don’t have a proactive social conscience and their sense of any social responsibility is more evident only when they get caught.
Yes, it is likely that by increasing oil drilling or removing any EPA required limits for things in the air and water that are known to kill or severely injure people we could see a temporary uptick in some economic indicator they would choose to put out there. I do ask whether reducing the price of gas by a dime (and I have doubts that any action in the US could have any lasting impact on price) is worth any of us having children or grandchildren with increased cancer rates well beyond that we see today. I don’t see it and I don’t get it. And I’m tired of the politicians manipulating the facts and the public into supporting positions which benefit only corporations. How can we be so stupid when the evidence is all out there?
People, open your eyes, stop being sheep, take stock of what you are hearing and make it clear that our leaders hear “yes, while it is about the economy, it is also about the environment, stupid”. It is time they realize that the American public isn’t as stupid as they think.
UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. – The Lorax – Dr. Seuss