Thursday, February 22, 2018
Perspective

Where left and right meet on environment

A single storm isn't "climate change." But then, we aren't talking about single events any more. Hurricane Sandy was part of a growing and disturbing pattern, whether it's called Sandy or Katrina or Snowmageddon or a nationwide heat wave that broke 3,215 high temperature daily records this past June.

By overwhelming numbers, Americans want to tackle the urgent conservation and environmental issues facing our coasts, our air and water, and our birds, wildlife and natural places.

How do we know that? In our grassroots campaign calling for an end to the partisanship that has paralyzed political action on conservation and the environment, the National Audubon Society and our Republican partner, ConservAmerica, asked folks a critical question that was never posed in any of the presidential debates:

What should be the top conservation and environmental priorities for the next administration? Democrats, Republics and independents responded from across the country. Their answers and the priorities they assigned offer a valuable roadmap for President Barack Obama and the Congress.

1 Promote the development of clean, renewable energy sources to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and foreign sources.

This was by far the most frequently listed priority, from writers in Hawaii to bloggers in New York City. Debrah Roemisch echoed the concerns of many when she wrote, "Developing clean energy sources will help the environment, provide jobs and help us be independent..."

2 Protect air, water and land from pollution.

"Clean air and water. Take the politics out," demanded Corrine Carter of Prattville, Ala. In comment after comment, folks across the country expressed dismay that conservation — once one of the great unifying issues in America — has become a victim of drive-by partisan politics.

3 Be cautious with the Keystone XL pipeline, offshore drilling and hydrofracking in environmentally sensitive areas.

"Drop forever the Keystone pipeline project and replace it with a national smart grid (a heck of a lot more jobs,)" wrote Mark Ford. "Put a moratorium on fracking in the U.S." said Rosann Strum of Bloomington, Ind. "Stop deep water drilling." We believe our elected officials can find common sense solutions for well-managed energy development that protects sensitive areas like the Arctic while helping to meet America's energy and employment needs.

4 Protect national and state parks and open spaces.

"We need to restore and keep full protections for our wilderness, wildlife, national parks," said Barbara Eaton of Allenstown, N.H., expressing the concerns of many respondents. Just as Katrina did, Sandy demonstrated the short-sightedness of draining, paving and building atop our natural storm barriers — marshes and seashores.

5 More environmental and conservation education.

Educating our youth to care for the communities and the planet they will inherit leave to their children was a recommendation repeated multiple times. In message after message, Americans of every political stripe said they were fed up with the do-nothing partisan politics that has infected virtually every environmental issue. Eaton summed up the real challenge for America's elected leaders: "Both parties must realize that our Earth and wildlife are not battlegrounds."

David Yarnold is president and CEO of the National Audubon Society. He can be reached at presidentaudubon.org. The web site is www.eaglecompact.org.

© 2012 National Audubon Society Distributed by MCT Information Services

Comments
PolitiFact: The facts behind Donald Trumpís exaggerations on immigration, MS-13 and crime

PolitiFact: The facts behind Donald Trumpís exaggerations on immigration, MS-13 and crime

President Donald Trump has linked illegal immigration to the violence of the MS-13 gang, claiming "open borders" have caused the deaths of many people in the United States.During his State of the Union speech, Trump highlighted the 2016 killings of t...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Perspective: Diplomacy, not fire and fury

Perspective: Diplomacy, not fire and fury

President Donald Trump infamously used the expression "fire and fury" to threaten North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Then, at the United Nations, he vowed to "totally destroy North Korea." These words would be considered criminal if uttered by ordina...
Published: 02/12/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Perspective: Trust the polls, not the pundits

Perspective: Trust the polls, not the pundits

Itís not easy being a pollster these days. When I started in 1984, two out of three people we reached on the then-universal landline said they were happy to take a poll. "Shh! Someone is calling me from New York and asking me important questions. I w...
Published: 02/12/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Perspective: The future of globalism

Perspective: The future of globalism

Oh my, were we naive. The Cold War ended with a sort of whimper and we looked forward to making the world safe for democracy and perhaps even for a more compassionate capitalism. We understood that increasingly extreme inequities in wealth are diffic...
Published: 02/12/18
Updated: 02/16/18

Column: The Trump administration is starting to pay attention to Africa

President Donald Trumpís first policy statement about Africa took place at the United Nations last September when he hosted a lunch for African heads of state. He correctly identified two major internal conflicts in South Sudan and the Democratic Rep...
Published: 02/12/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Perspective: A national security strategy of coming to terms with competition

Perspective: A national security strategy of coming to terms with competition

The Trump administration, in a series of required national security documents, has signaled a dramatic departure from the Bush and Obama administrationsí visions of the U.S. role in the international order.The National Security Strategy (NSS) and the...
Published: 02/12/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Perspective: We need to prepare for instability in North Korea

Perspective: We need to prepare for instability in North Korea

North Korea has been a top foreign policy priority since President Donald Trump settled into the Oval Office. The president has repeatedly expressed his intention to "solve" the North Korean crisis, emphasizing that all policy options ó including mil...
Published: 02/12/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Perspective: St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs will bring the world home to you

Perspective: St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs will bring the world home to you

Editorís note: In advance of this weekís sixth annual St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs, several of the experts who will participate have written essays for todayís Perspective about key areas of concern, among them North Korea, national sec...
Published: 02/12/18
Updated: 02/16/18

Perspective: Why do poor Americans eat so unhealthfully? Because junk food is the only indulgence they can afford

By Priya Fielding-SinghThe verdict is in: Food deserts donít drive nutritional disparities in the United States the way we thought. Over the past decade, study after study has shown that differences in access to healthful food canít fully explain why...
Published: 02/08/18
Updated: 02/09/18
Perspective: Sending a Tesla into space is the greatest symbol of American grandeur

Perspective: Sending a Tesla into space is the greatest symbol of American grandeur

Henry AllenWhen Elon Muskís SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket thundered heavenward, my dream was fulfilled.Back when this was a real country ó which is to say before Vietnam, when America was the grand and grandiose land of surf íní turf, of station wagons ...
Published: 02/08/18
Updated: 02/09/18