Ardent Eden

Ardent Eden is a place to explore my thoughts about the interdependence of life - humanity and nature - and to engage with others for collective problem-solving.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

News Flash: Bush is Bad for the Earth

I was surprised to see that the main headline on MSNBC's homepage when I turned the computer on this morning had to do with the environment. That stuff is typically tucked neatly back under two menus. Usually you have to click on U.S. News, then the Environment subcategory. But today this headline screamed at me: "'Self-Destructive': Six EPA Heads Blast Bush on Global Warming." The story is here. Basically it tells us the earth-shattering (no pun intended) news that six of the former heads of the EPA think that global warming is a result of human activity and Bush isn't doing what needs to be done to slow it. Um, yeah...that's not news to most of us.

I suppose what got this story on to MSNBC's homepage (besides the lack of any breaking news of more corruption in Congress, which really isn't news anymore either...) is the fact that five of the six former EPA heads who spoke up about climate change are Republicans. The story is news because MSNBC, and probably most of its readers, assumes that environmental issues are strictly voted on according to party line, and we're all shocked to hear that someone on the right believes in even the most basic environmental tenet: climate change is accelerating due to human factors, and we're not doing what we can to stop it.

I suspect that there are plenty of Republicans who feel that more environmental protection is necessary. They're just not willing to vote for it at the polls for two reasons. First, other issues (like tax cuts for the rich...oops, I was trying to be nonpartisan in this post!) are more important to them. Second, they believe what the EPA's current chief and the Bush administration are selling them about the impending economic doom that will result from increased environmental protections. It's telling that when Stephen Johnson, current EPA chief, tried to defend Bush at the conference described in the article he said this:
"I know from the president on down, he is committed,” Johnson said. “And certainly his charge to me was, and certainly our team has heard it: ‘I want you to accelerate the pace of environmental protection. I want you to maintain our economic competitiveness.’ And I think that’s really what it’s all about. (emphasis mine)
That little gem about "economic competitiveness" is the reason that the U.S. is an international embarassment for not signing Kyoto (which doesn't even go nearly far enough, but at least would be a start) and the reason that every environmental protection in place since the 1970s has been weakened or is currently threatened.

We've got to figure out how to get past these political lines in the sand. Individual acts of conservation are not nearly enough in the face of Bush policy. We've got to do more of them, of course, but we also need to strategize on the political front whether we want to or not. As long as Americans believe that they will lose their jobs the second that Congress votes to strengthen environmental legislation, the news about the environment will be grim. Even if it's not on the front page,

8 Comments:

  • At 11:47 AM, Blogger spiral said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
  • At 11:52 AM, Blogger spiral said…

    I'm so glad you posted about this. Every once in awhile, this nagging thought creeps into my head when I go to turn a light off: "It doesn't matter how many lights I turn off when so many people are driving SUVs." I mean, I've even heard people who are supposedly environmentalists and Democrats say they have to keep their SUV because it's safer to drive for their kid. This is another of those situations where people have made environmentalism into a debate, trying to garner two sides about scientifically proven ideas like global warming when there aren't two sides. The "sides" that have been created are just that--created--and scientists have had to take too much energy disproving wackos who don't believe global warming happens. It is so frustrating, yet I don't know if many people in this country can think in terms outside of two-sided debates and a two-sided party system. Really, there are some issues that we can agree on--there aren't two sides to everything

     
  • At 12:08 PM, Blogger Melissa said…

    Once again - thanks for the great post. I had to e-mail the article to all my friends and family and remind them that we all need to do our own part, as much as we can, to save this planet. I am just baffled by how senseless people can be at times . . . just another reason why I didn't vote for Bush.

    Thanks for the suggestion of Hope's Edge. I'm taking the kids to the library this weekend and will have to check it out. Although, seeing as how I like to highlight and write in my books, I should just buy a copy of my own!

    It's been a long time since I baked a loaf of bread. Consequently, it didn't turn out well - hard on the outside and very mushy on the inside. I had my son "helping," though, and it may have been all that extra flour he dumped in before I could stop him! Try, try again!

     
  • At 5:18 PM, Blogger Jim said…

    Lauren-

    Yes, thanks for this post, somehow I missed this one, nice to see bureaucrats standing up to Bush, it gives the average person who doesn't really understand all of this a bit more to sink their teeth into.

    Keep up the good work and thanks for visiting Earth Home Garden.

     
  • At 9:58 PM, Blogger lauren said…

    spiral: I agree that we have bought into this false adversarial system that conveniently boxes issues up and sticks them in either a red bin or a blue bin where they stay. We're just not going to get anywhere until we move away from that mentality and start trying to find common ground. I know that it's easier said than done.

    organic veggie: I'm glad that the article gave you a good reason to remind friends and family about how we each need to do our part for the environment. It's odd in some ways that we need reminding. I was thinking about this today as I was standing at the water cooler in my office (yes, I was literally standing around the proverbial water cooler). I started thinking about how nobody in the office was thinking ecologically or about how their actions fit into the big picture. If they do think about it, they certainly hide it well! More likely, they're consumed with the work on their desk, the dinner to be made, the TV show to watch, etc. Those aren't bad things, but we've got to put saving this ol' world somehow into the front of our brains!

    If you do get Hope's Edge, let me know. I've been wanting to have a little study group or discussion forum about these books. It would be great to trade ideas at the very least.

    Inspired by breadchick (www.breadchick.blogspot.com), I've just recently gotten into making bread. I'm addicted to the taste of homemade bread! My husband doesn't think we can go back to store bought bread ever again. :)

    Jim - I'm so glad you stopped by. Let's hope the average person is paying attention to this news item. I'm sure it's long been overshadowed by the latest from Osama.

     
  • At 1:35 AM, Blogger Jerome Alicki said…

    Lauren,

    There has been a revolt within the federal government against Bush's environmental policies for some time, it has just finally reached the upper echelon of executives. You might want to check out the Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics website. Bush is spouting a lot of nonsense on warming and Kyoto, but the folks in the EPA are some of the best environmental scientists this country has. You can bet that they're not listening to a thing Bush says and as soon as he is gone the right folks will be in position to take back control of the most important federal environmental agencies. Don't lose hope sister, 2008 isn't that far away. Kyoto will be approved, wind power will dominate in the Great Lakes, and mass production of solar roof shingles is nearing reality. Don't worry, we're going to outlive the bastards!

    Check out my blog if you get a chance: http://blackbearspeaks.blogspot.com

    Peace,

    Jer

     
  • At 9:27 PM, Blogger lauren said…

    Jerome:

    Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you'll be back. I also really hope that you are right about 2008 and the good things you see on the horizon. We need to keep the hope alive!

     
  • At 1:33 AM, Blogger Walker said…

    Lauren,
    Great article and some nice comments here. It's reassuring to see instances of true bipartisan support for sanity, and especially heartening to see it bubble to the top of the news from time to time. Thanks for calling it to our attention.
    Walker

     

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