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I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The biggest environmental threat

Where will they go?What constitutes the biggest environmental threat to the world today? Is it climate change run amok or the gutting of the Endangered Species Act? Is it China's coal-fired power plants? How about destruction of the Earth's oceans resulting in record low fisheries, oxygen depleted areas and great swirling hoards of plastic? How about deforestation of the world's "lungs" and carbon sink by removing forests in order to plant biofuels?

I'm going to argue that the biggest environmental threat known to man right now is the John McCain / Sarah Palin ticket. How can I be so bold as to say such a thing? Is it really all that ridiculous? Bear with me a moment while I try to explain.

Yes, all those things I mentioned above do present a threat to the health and balance of our environment. But, the entity that has the single most power to influence how the U.S. and, in the end, the world go forward in maintaining, repairing and reducing humanity's impact on the environment is what is represented in the oval office.

Now, of course, this sounds probably a little too high and mighty for those living outside the U.S. and they would argue that the U.S. influence has slipped considerably as of late. But, it is with the U.S. economy and military machinery that we influence the rest of the world and the environmental aspect of it is no less important. How we stand and deliver regarding our environment influences much of the rest of the world.

John McCain and Tina FeySo, having an environmentally unfriendly president in the White House means a great deal for environmentalists as well as the environment. Or pretty much anyone who lives on Earth. You can just take a look at the last 8 years to get a feel for that. Now, add to that an additional 4+ years with an even more conservative, more environmentally unfriendly platform and what does that mean?

We are at (and have been for a while although the government has been sitting on its hands for years) a crossroads in terms of global climate change and energy issues. How we move forward to resolve those issues is led out of the White House.

Now, I'm not going to argue that the Obama/Biden team is proffering itself up as being incredibly environmentally conscious. But, what it does have (an interest in environmental and clean energy issues as well as an interest in partnerships with the rest of the world) and what it doesn't have (ties to big oil) certainly makes them the more environmentally friendly choice.

So, regardless of their stance on abortion, religion in schools, immigration and a whole host of other concerns, when you look at their policies regarding the environment and energy, the McCain/Palin ticket is the biggest environmental threat we've got going.

55 comments:

Kel said...

From our persepective Down Under, its a terrifying thought...more republican leadership from the White House, Noooooooooooooo!!

Alana said...

As environemntally minded as I am, my husband works for a missile contractor, so for the livelihood of our family we don't have a choice who we vote for. Isn't that sad?

eco 'burban mom said...

Oh, I cringed last night when I heard her say "I'm a gal who knows the Northern Slope of Alaska and I'm telling you we've got plenty of our own oil and natural gas!"

Yippee! 'Cause, yeah, that's the answer all right. Drill some more, lay some more of your $40 billion pipeline and let's shatter the pristine landscape and environment from which you were raised. And when that oil and gas runs out, the ice caps have melted and the polar bears are extinct what will be your answer then, oh tough Alaskan girl??

Makes me ill. UGH. Thank goodness you wrote this post today, I needed to vent!

Young Snowbird said...

Since our country is a capitalist one, it is in our best interests to frame the argument to the opponents of protecting the environment in hard monetary terms. For instance, how much more money it costs to fix the damage air pollution causes (asthma rates across the country) than prevention. Of course, the business model factors in a certain degree of "acceptable risk" meaning percentage of damage allowable. For this model, it is nearly impossible to quantify what has been prevented. This business oriented approach is a "look behind to see where we are" instead of looking ahead to plan what we want our world to be. Some parts of business address the look ahead approach. We've got to find a compelling case to engage those look ahead folks in business.
I agree with you, Crunchy, that another Republican administration in the White House is dangerous, perhaps ruinious for our country's and our world's environment.
I think we need to give the Polar Bears a fleet of pontoon decks to use. At least they'd have somewhere to rest themselves during their long swims to find food.

LisaZ said...

Amen, sister. Thanks for saying that.

For some of us, concern for the environment/the entire creation (including the people living in it) trumps all other concerns. You better believe I'll be voting based on that, as I have in all other elections.

I don't believe Obama/Biden is the best choice for the environment (prob. the Green Party would be), but they are our ONLY reasonable hope in the U.S.

jewishfarmer said...

I don't think I quite do agree. This is not to say that I don't think that McCain/Palin is a horrible idea, or that I'd vote for them unless I ran out of dead people to write in ;-).

But I think the biggest environmental danger facing us isn't McCain/Palin, but ourselves. McCain and Palin are just telling us what we want to hear, and we don't have the courage as a people, to demand the truth. We want easy answers, and we're getting them - from both sides of the aisle. We want our short term interests, not the long term future.

Again, I wouldn't vote for them if you paid me - but I think that our own lack of foresight and selfishness creates McCain/Palin. They give us what we really want - the illusion of a future, so we don't have to know that we're condemning our kids.

Sharon

Sonnjea said...

I'm totally with you, Crunchy. They're terrifying.

Anonymous said...

@Alana, Why do you feel you have no choice? Do you honestly think that the U.S. is going to stop making missiles? If you use that line of thinking you would have to say you don't want the war in Iraq to ever end and I'm sure that's not true. Vote your conscience not your pocketbook and see how good you feel!


Chunky,
I couldn't agree with you more. The last 8 years have been devastating for the environment. I have lots of friends who work for various natural resource agencies such as the Forest Service, Park Service, USGS, and the EPA. They all say we are in big trouble. We can't properly fund these agencies when we're spending billions in Iraq. I had to turn off the radio because I was literally sick to my stomach listening to Palins diatribe.

Crunchy Chicken said...

I, unfortunately, had to remove a few comments strictly because they were racist or obscene.

Look, people, if you can't control yourselves or even make an intelligent comment or rebuttal without resorting to attacks and profanity then don't bother. They will be deleted.

I prefer to leave the comments on this blog open to everyone and am not about to curtail this because some of you lack self-restraint.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing the obscene racists were voting for the conservative "Christian" Palin?

Apparently Palin doesn't care that homes belonging to citizens of her state are becoming unliveable due to permafrost loss from global climate change.

Not to mention the polar bears. Just keep drilling!

Green Bean said...

I think we need to think long term here. Can our country survive another 4 years in terms of environmental degradation? Another 4 years in terms of isolation from the rest of the world? It is likely that we've already reached the tipping point. The further we go now, the worse it will be for our children and theirs.

Alana, I appreciate your honesty and also the voice that you give to thousands of people who probably feel the same. There must be a choice, though. Don't you think? Between a job today and a life for our children tomorrow. Perhaps harder times now to blunt the hard times our children will have as Climate Change really takes hold. We have to take a stand soon. We are running out of time.

Melinda said...

I totally agree. It's very scary. Listening to some of the speeches yesterday, I was filled with horrible, horrible dread.

Melinda said...

I also see Sharon's point. I was astounded at the "USA" chants and overall scariness of the crowd, too. McCain and Palin are ourselves - at least half of us. And if the other half of us don't get off our butts and vote the other way, we're just as bad.

Lisa Sharp said...

I can't stand Palin! I'm a registered republican (please don't hurt me lol) but I'm more of a libertarian. I'm voting third party this year. I think we do need to bring oil home but Alaska isn't the answer. I'm really worried about the next four years.

Anonymous said...

What about the chants of DRILL, DRILL, DRILL?!

Jim said...

No offense to our hostess, but I think this is a non-issue, and I'll tell you why. As long as there is affordable oil at the pumps, the mass of humanity will continue to drive their brains out, and fill the Pacific with plastic flotsam. The White House really doesn't influence individuals' behavior to that extent. For example, do you *really* think that fewer SUVs will willingly be on the road if Barak were president? (The price of gas at the pump will determine that, not whomever invites the King of Saud to dinner.)

Personally, I think Peak Oil will do more to rein in the environmental degradation than either presidential candidate's policies. After all, no amount of rhetoric will make the wells squirt more oil than they have; no amount of whining from a convenience-food-obsessed NASCAR culture will stop the price of gas from going up; no amount of Big Talk from whomever is in the White House will make OPEC or NorthDakota pump what they don't have.

What I am concerned with, on the other hand, is reducing my own personal dependence on oil (foreign or domestic): living more simply, eating more organically, discarding less carelessly. Whichever candidate leaves me with more of my cash in order to achieve this will get my presidential vote.

P.S. With Sarah Palin being a native of Alaska, and her husband being part native-America, I think that they will be the last people who'll let their home state be environmentally violated.

Robj98168 said...

Grampa and the beauty queen would be a bad choice for America. And when yo get into the "family values" Johns cheated on wife #1, then decided he needed to marry his 18 year old mistress. Palin is so enviormentallly challenged, although right wingers call her Decisive and willl Speak Her Mind. I Personally think if your put lipstick and a wig on Dick Cheney, you would have Palin. 4 more years of failed policies? No thank You.

Mike said...

It is a terrifying prospect... I can't imagine after the disaster of the last 8 years, our country would vote for another 4.

Alana - How do you not have a choice?

May said...

I totally agree with you. GREAT post! It needed to be said!

Bobbi said...

Robj98168 said...
"Grampa and the beauty queen would be a bad choice for America." LOL - I may have to borrow that line!

I totally agree with you, Crunchy! I have been watching the RNC, just like I did the DNC. The only problem is, the RNC is like a bad car crash - you can't turn away. Do these people think we don't have minds of our own? Do they think we are all unpatriotic?

Just because I think we went into the Iraq war under a lie, doesn't make me unpatriotic. I'm grateful for McCain's military service, but being a POW does not entitle him to be President.

beverley said...

I'm a Canadian.
We too are about to head into another election where the Conservative Party (very much like the Republicans) are planning on taking majority government. Their policies match almost seamlessly with the Republicans. (Anti-abortion, private health care, no environmental policies, pro-big business.)
I would like to be really neighbourly and positive here but you people have to get out and vote, take action, volunteer, talk a friend into voting for the first time, take a sign. Don't sit on your hands!

Latigo Liz said...

Not just a terrifying thought environmentally, but in SO many other ways as well!

Grant said...

I have to agree with Jim. Presidents don't make our environmental policies. Sure, they can have attitudes one way or the other, but the whole of the people, acting on their own behalf, are what really affects the environment.

Simply having children is one of the most harmful things people do to the planet. Suppose there were a candidate who advocated mandatory sterilization of the public at large to prevent population growth. That would probably be the best thing we could do to curb consumption, pollution, etc., but it would also be the worst possible thing for personal freedom. As much as I want to protect the environment, this is not a one-issue race.

Katie said...

We're Americans living in Berlin; we come from Montana.... AND WE'RE SCARED TO DEATH.

katecontinued said...

Very timely post. It can't be said loud enough, frequently enough. They are killing us. (or allowing us to kill ourselves . . wev)

The sheeple can be led away from hate and obstruction, just as they were led to hate and denial. Leadership with a will is a powerful force. There are countless alternatives waiting for the political will to point the direction.

We are currently in a police state and the sheeple don't even realize it. There is so much work to be done.

Greenpa said...

I think the actual ticket there is now Newt Palin/George McCain. And yeah, it looks pretty dangerous.

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

You are 100% correct in what you write regarding the power of the Oval Office CC which is why I often tie in my blog posts with U.S. as well as U.K. environmental issues.

Palin is on the record as saying that the scientific consensus that global warming is melting Arctic ice is unreliable.

Like kati in Berlin, I am scared as well.

Crunchy Chicken said...

"P.S. With Sarah Palin being a native of Alaska, and her husband being part native-America, I think that they will be the last people who'll let their home state be environmentally violated."

Dear god, I wish that were true, but she has pushed time and again to encourage practices that destroy not only the environment but the wildlife there as well.

Federal government and the White House do have a tremendous amount of influence on what cars are being driven, among other things. For example, raising the CAFE standards, allowing CA to push whatever clean air laws they like onto producers in order to sell their products in the state.

Peak Oil will eventually reign in some environmental degradation but why do it in the messiest way possible? There are options - I suspect that McCain/Palin will drill the bejeezus out of what's left in the U.S. and then move towards scraping the oil shale and other environmentally messy, available oil that's left. There's still a profit to be made at the expense of land and water and natural gas resources.

Ok, I do have to take issue with this: "whining from a convenience-food-obsessed NASCAR culture". Do you really believe that this stereotype helps make your point? This sounds very Kunstlerian. Are these people the only ones using and demanding oil?

"Presidents don't make our environmental policies". Presidents certainly do play an important role in making our environmental policies. Unfortunately, the role that Bush has had for 8 years is in gutting our environmental policies and standards. Clean air, clean water, endangered species, the list goes on...

Greenpa said...

a little extra; have you seen this new item? hot mic on Palin

Look at it quick; it's being wiped out fast- basically Peggy Noonan, ex speech writer for Reagan; and Michael Murphy, ex campaign manager for McCain- were caught on an open mic on MSNBC - saying very very bad things about Palin.

I was looking at the Google News compiler last night, at around 9 PM- and this news story was #1; top of the list; hundreds of stories listed. I took a couple minutes to look at the Christian Science Monitor's take on the story- went back to Google News- and 100% of the references to the story were - gone. They're not back; and many of the YouTube versions are now coming up "sorry, this video is no longer available. Hm.

mudnessa said...

I agree with you and I am scared to the point where I just want to ignore it all now because most minds are already made up and I don't know what I can do. I just want it to be mid November and just know what is coming not having to worry about what might or might not happen. Just one more thing for my over worrisome mind to worry about for the next months and maybe then years.

Mommy Vern said...

First time poster here. I am so glad you decided to address this. Although I do believe deforestation, among others are the biggest threats. I feel that McCain/Palin are a HUGE threat, too. Anyone in any government office is in actuality, it doesn't stop with just the president and vp.

More folks need to look at the big picture and realize the damage we are creating for our children and their children. Obviously, the consensus regardless of party still seems to be 'somebody else can fix and clean up the mess'. And to a previous poster's comment, getting more people out to vote in favor of the environment IS key, we can longer afford to be so apathic when it comes to voting, local non-presidential years need to become more important as well.

And even though Obama may not offer the best choice, he is the best between the 2 parties. Hopefully through his knowledge and 'momentum for change' he will if WE DEMAND IT, usher in forward thinking choices, changes, and ideas that respect our environment! A new group of action minded grassroots citizens will emerge to stand up for what is important environmentally.

Otherwise, we will become complacement as a society once again and watch another 4, 8, 12 years march by without any CHANGE...

So get out and ROCK the vote!

Anonymous said...

You can still see the Noonan post on The Huffington Post. Check this out.

http://www.comedycentral.com/videos/index.jhtml?videoId=184086

diana

Frank Eeckman said...

Much as I would like to agree, I think you are wrong. Our biggest threat is too many people with access to too many cheap goodies. Our biggest problem is plentiful oil and the fact that we figured out how to get it and use it.

Bush, McCain, Obama, etc. play a very small role in all this. There isn't much they can do about it. As long as we remain so successful and breed so plentifully, we will be in trouble as a species.

Kyerin said...

Spare a thought for those of us on the other side of the Atlantic who are not just watching the election campaign with, frankly, more interest than we did our own (I'm from Ireland), but also can't do a damn thing about it! I remember how shocked everyone was when Bush got in for a second term - we honestly thought it couldn't happen.

Environmentally speaking, I think you're talking about picking the lesser of two evils, which is a little depressing. I've never quite managed to reconcile myself to the idea of a two-candidate election anyway.

Abbie said...

It's just too bad. I'd really like to vote for a woman. But not that one.

I appathetic about this election. Obama will win my state and my delegates, so what't the point. I don't particularly like either of them, but oh well.

Kim said...

@ Jim. I'm an Alaskan and you couldn't be more wrong about your assumptions concerning Sarah and her husband.

First of all Todd Palin (the husband) is only 1/4 quarter Yupik. Yes, still enough to count...but also enough to be pretty disconnected from any of his traditional heritage, especially since he grew up in Wasilla (no where near the home territory of the Yupik people.) Second, He works for BP. HE IS AN OIL GUY! SHE used to head the Alaska Oil and Gas Commission before becoming governor. THEY are OIL PEOPLE.

Third, you clearly don't know Alaskans. The vast majority of Alaskans (ESPECIALLY urban Alaskans) are pro-resource development and see any attempts for the lower 48 to prevent things such as drilling in anwr as people messing with things that are none of their business and about which they don't know anything.

Many Alaskans (our "most honorable" Ted Stevens included) think anwr is an ugly and barren wasteland worth nothing more than the oil on which it sits.

A ballot measure (4) was just overwhelmingly rejected here that would have help new metallic metal mining operations to higher clean water and waste storage standards. Five days before the election Palin said on statewide TV, right after giving a press conferene "I'm taking my hat as governor off here, I'm saying this only as a resident- I'm voting no on 4 on urge you to do so as well."

They will let the environment be destroyed because as far as they are concerned mineral resources are more important. They also figure we have so much pristine land and land that it isn't worth anything else that it might as well be used for resource development. Mostly...most Alaskans want the rest of the country to stop telling them what to do with their land. (This goes back into the earliest times of Alaskan history-- and has tended turn even the most liberal of us into an odd shade of libertarian as well.)

My head hurts. I really can't handle the Palin thing. My world is spinning. This is just nuts. And she is scary and can and will do a lot of damage.

Rebecca Blackburn said...

You are so right - and I'm Australian! I was just thinking yesterday that I wish we too could vote because who is in power in the US has such an influence over the whole world.

Theresa said...

I'm Canadian. I had shivers of revulsion this morning when I heard clips of Palin's speech on the radio. The fact that she thinks being a "bulldog" wearing liptstick is a GOOD thing, is enough to make me want to curl up and die. When did being mean and mean-spirited become a sought-after leadership trait?

Please do everyone get out and vote, and drag your non-voting friends and relatives with you. I know I'll be doing that when our Canadian federal election is called next month.

Lynn said...

Goodbye, Crunchy. I thought we had more in common, but I guess this is more of a conservative bashing site.

Crunchy Chicken said...

No, Lynn. This isn't a conservative bashing site. This is a conservation site. And if the conservatives have lost their ability to conserve well, then, that's not my fault.

If the Republicans were proposing an environmentally friendly platform I wouldn't have to do these types of posts.

Anonymous said...

I too am terrified by this election. The chants of "Drill, Baby, Drill!" during Guiliani's speech earlier in the evening horrified me. I just have a very bad feeling...

Anonymous said...

I don't agree. Try to refrain from throwing bleach on me:)

Rebekka said...

When did bulldogs become "mean" and "meanspirited"?? Those are human traits!

And Alana, you have a choice - you can choose to vote for the sort of world you want to live in, rather than for your own hip-pocket.

Sadraki said...

Great post Crunchy! People need to consider all the issues in voting and as many mentioned think about the long term effects. What sort of world do we want to grow old in? What sort of world do we want to leave the next generation?

I also agree though that in some ways we are killing ourselves because if people would wake up and realize the long term consequences of our environmental actions the Republicans wouldn't get away with so much destruction.

Jim said...

Thanks to Kim for the first-hand details. While I had personally known only two or more Alaskans and a couple from Vancouver, I'm clearly no expert on the Alaskan mind. When I lived in the Pacific Northwest, I hung with an environmentally-conscious crowd; so, my perspective must've been biased. I stand corrected.

In response to our hostess, yes, I have read Kunstler. (Good catch!) His town is just up the NYS Thruway ;-) from where I live now. Seeing the way people drive on the Thruway -- plus a neighbor who literally has a tire displayed in his den from his NASCAR hero makes Kunstler's NASCAR phrasing so, um, "sticky".

Anyway, I really do hope that whoever's elected doesn't make things worse....

Bobbi said...

I'm so glad you're discussing this and that I'm not alone in my fear. I watched as much of the RNC as I could stomach. How did McCain get elected as Senator even? If I have to spend the next 4 years, or God forbid, more years listening to the mean, snide comments of Sarah Palin I just don't know what I will do. I need to find more likeminded people to keep my spirits up until Nov or can't even go there, beyond. Crunchy Chicken, keep the discussion going!

betweenbabies said...

Thanks for this, Crunchy. As a Christian, it reminds me how far the republican party has to go toward earth stewardship.
I had been reading the flip-side, and everyone was discussing one issue--abortion. While I agree with the bloggers on their stance on it, there's a hell of a lot more to worry about, isn't there? I'm not a "one-issue" woman, so thanks for reminding me that there are reasons NOT to vote for John McCain. (Obama '08!)
Abby

lauren said...

"Drill, baby, drill" made my stomach turn. And then, Palin used "heal the earth" in a sarcastic put down of Obama, and I was nauseous.

Lindy said...

I agree with you 100% - this is a terrifying situation we're in. I also agree with Sharon who said, " But I think the biggest environmental danger facing us isn't McCain/Palin, but ourselves.". To a certain extent Sharon is right. If this country votes for another 4 years of the Bush administration we will probably be killing our planet once and for all.

Last night we watched "Arctic Tail" the story of Nanu the polar bear cub and Seala the walrus baby and their lives in the decreasing Arctic. This was a National Geographic film and it ended with the information that if we continue with the same rate of global warming as we are experiencing today there will be absolutely no - "NO" - ice left in the Arctic region by the year
2040. That is a mere 32 years from now.
And to think that Palin does not believe any of this environmental devastation is being caused by humans???????????? The woman is brainless, clueless, dangerous - very, very dangerous. She is definitely in this for the short term. She can't even be thinking of her children and her grandchildren - only of herself and what she wants at this moment.

Lindy in AZ (No, I did not ever vote for McCain here in AZ).

Cheryl said...

Frankly, I don't think either ticket can withstand the constant onslaught of the lobbyists from BIG OIL, BIG GAS, BIG MONEY. It's truly sad. The next administration, alas, will be constantly hounded by these interests! I'm hoping Obama can at least stand up for his principles. The future of our planet is at stake. Personally, I've moved to a raw foods diet (NO meat, milk, cheese, eggs) and I'm using envirnomentally friendly products like baking soda and vinegar in my household. I drive a car that gets 30 mpg. Our other car gets about 34. I TRY to do my best so help conserve our planet. Oh, and I'm planting my own vegetable garden this fall.

Mazzajo said...

My comment was deleted??!! All I was trying to say is that outside of America, we really have no clue how someone with such outspoken views about hunting and drilling is actually respected enough to make it to VP candidate... it's a mystery to many Australians - I really can't believe McCain and Co are even in the running, let alone polling well. This election determines more than just the fate of the USA... and it's just so bizarre...

Crunchy Chicken said...

Mazzajo - your comment was not deleted. I think Blogger just ate it.

Kestrel said...

You are spot on, Crunchy! The information circulating about her environmental record (etc) is really disturbing. If you're interested, check out http://planetpalin.wordpress.com/ for a daily rundown on the topic. Thanks for posting!

Mazzajo said...

Oh, okay... I take back my eye-rolling comment nevertheless, it was kinda rude. Maybe most Americans aren't really like Palin...

Mama said...

The biggest environmental threat to our country right now is the "clean coal" that BOTH candidates are touting. The EPA lists it as the biggest threat of our generation, and yet both candidates are pushing for coal as a viable "clean energy" resource. I just did a blog post about this. We need to get involved, demand different energy as consumers, and vote for a 3rd party. If we always vote for the "lesser of 2 evils" we'll never get out of this backwards system. We have a personal responsibility to speak up against the wrongs being perpetrated in Appalachia. Over 50% of the country's energy comes from coal, and we all have some involvement in it unless you are off the grid. Speak out, and vote!

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