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Since Tuesday’s Election Sweep: Cautious Optimism for the Environment

Our beloved Earth: spinning in a new direction?

Our beloved Earth: spinning in a new direction?

As a result of Tuesday’s election here in the States, bloggers and journalists here in the States and around the globe are finding reasons for hope and a new direction regarding Earth’s environment. From Green Clippings in South Africa comes a story with the headline, “Democrat’s victory a step forward for environment and global warming,” in which America’s new direction appears:

“…set to bring energy reform and environmental issues to the forefront of American politics, and ultimately result in more action to curb global warming.”

From Dan Worth, a blogger at the Huffington Post and Executive Director of the National Association of Environmental Law Societies, comes a post in which he asks, “Am I Dreaming?” Deciding to spurn all media on election night only to wake up Wednesday morning to a new world, and realizing that:

“The climate-neutral Governator will be around to make the California renewable energy market less flabby!
Nancy Pelosi, the first female speaker of the house ever is a staunch believer in the new Safe Climate Act!”

Deval Patrick, the Governor of Massachusetts, writes,

“We are often asked to choose between economic development and environmental stewardship. From my experience in the energy industry, I am convinced that this is a false choice. In Massachusetts, I believe we can and must have both.”

From Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, by way of Grist and Muckraker magazines, in How Green Was My Election?:

“This is the first election I can remember in U.S. history that has put such a specific focus on a top-priority environmental issue, which this year has been a clean-energy future.”

The news is good for the environment, surely. I sincerely hope, however, that we can flexibly adapt our American budget away from war and devote it toward the much more important problem – one which the greater global community has noted for a number of years and Dan Worth sums up as:

we urgently need someone to invest $4 billion in somebody or something that can build a new world by 2050 that provides 9 billion people with adequate goods and services without drastically raising the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. And we need that investment yesterday.”

Though I would contend that our most pressing problem isn’t war or greenhouse gases but the collective and burgeoning impact of 9 billion people on a stressed and finite Earth, I must agree with much of what he says. But that “someone” he refers to is none other than us.

Dan goes on to quote author Michael Crichton:

“Nothing is more inherently political than our shared physical environment, and nothing is more ill served by allegiance to a single political party. Precisely because the environment is shared, it cannot be managed by one faction according to its own economic or aesthetic preferences. Sooner or later, the opposing faction will take power, and previous policies will be reversed. Stable management of the environment requires recognition that all preferences have their place.”

I would add that the environment was never a subset of the economy; the economy will always be a subset of the environment. After all, if (heaven forbid) economies disappear, there will still be an environment (perhaps not a good one we can live in safely, but an environment is still an environment). But if the environment should go away, no economy will ever exist again.

Nor will anything else.

If we can all work together in bipartisan fashion rather than dictating mindless policies, we’ll be reversing the current myopic course. At least the current administration will no longer be staying the course. For the near term, and perhaps longer, that’s good for the environment.

And what’s good for the environment is good for growing grapes and walking in Nature.

~winehiker