With the Presidential and Congressional elections approaching quickly, globing warming and climate change are becoming hot topics. The League of Conservation Voters is targeting five House Republicans who either question or totally deny human links to climate change. The organization has labeled these Congressmen the “Flat Earth Five”. To date, two names have been released. They are Reps. Sam Benishek (R-Mich) and Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY). Three additional names will be forthcoming.
Despite the fact that hard science data proves that global warming is a reality, i.e., melting icebergs, severe storms, extreme heat and cold weather, and crop destruction, just to name a few, the “Flat Earth Five” Republicans state there is no climate change, and the notion of global warming simply is a liberal ploy to tax large oil companies. Rep. Benishek specifically says that global warming “is just some scheme” and is “all baloney”. Rep. Buerkle first voiced doubts about climate change in 2010. On the League of Conservation National Scorecard, she has a lifetime score of 9 percent out of a possible 100. This scorecard annually rates members of Congress on conservation and clean energy issues. Rep. Buerkle has the most conservative voting record of all New York Congressional members.
It is difficult to understand and disappointing to know that protection of the environment is caught up in the crosshairs of politics. It is mind boggling that this is such a political issue in this time when 77% of Americans believe that climate change is a reality and that we all need to make lifestyle changes to save the Earth. (http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2012/07/rep_ann_marie_buerkle_named_on.html)
It is promising to see schools incorporate green living standards in curricula and refreshing to witness families work to conserve energy and employ green and healthy practices in the home. Although we often have differing beliefs about environmental issues, the unifying belief should be that this is the only planet we have on which to live. We do not own the Earth. Rather we are the stewards. We work hard to provide a future for our children, and the protection of the environment must be considered a major component of that future.
In the upcoming elections, we must be mindful of the issues crucial to our very existence. The best way to do this is to educate yourself on the candidates and what they stand for. Researching scorecards and voting records is a great start in this endeavor. This is especially true for local and state elections. While we cannot change the whole world in an instant, we can band together and improve our communities through the creation of recycling programs, instituting clean water projects, constructing safe and healthy schools and building “green” neighborhoods. To be the building blocks of the green movement, let’s vote green, live green, be green.