Back in 1991, fresh from reading George Stewart’s magnificent science fiction novel “Earth Abides”, I started an eighth-grade science assignment with the quote from Ecclesiastes Stewart begins the book with:
“One generation passeth away and another generation cometh but the earth it abideth forever”
To this I added:
“Not if the human race can help it, though.”
Inspired by a recent article in Time magazine about global warming, I had written a Ted Kaczynski-esque withering assault on modern civilization and advocated a reversal (yes, LOL indeed) of industrialization. It was a thoroughly godawful paper and I have little doubt that George Stewart was the only thing that got me a passing grade on it.
It was straight from the heart though, and not since then has my interest and passion in what we have done to this planet waned. As someone who tries to keep track of the impact of human-induced climate change, I have always found baffling the lack of importance the issue has received as an electoral issue. There is no greater threat to our safety and well being-no ifs, ands, or buts about it. We are a species that like any other, requires a habitat that can sustain our biological functions and allow the vegetation and animal life necessary to sustain our food supply. The manifest reality of today is that our habitat is under attack from our own creations. We have polluted our air and our oceans. We have doomed to extinction countless species of plants and animals many of whom we may have annihilated before they could be discovered. The earth is warming quicker and sea levels are rising faster than any prediction model foresaw. Literally hundreds of small island communities ― as well as major nations like Bangladesh and Indonesia ― are already losing shorelines and even arable land. In America, with our over 10,000 miles of shoreline, climate scientists predict a rise in sea levels and markedly increased flooding in coastal cities like New York within the next five decades.
This is not a problem of the future, it is a problem of the here and now and a catastrophe beyond biblical proportions in the making.
Jill Stein is the first presidential candidate in American history to make climate change the centerpiece of her campaign. Her plan to address climate change is the most comprehensive and consistent over the years of any Presidential candidate. Her plan aims to make clean energy a major focus of her economic plan and she states in her manifesto:
“The environment and the economy are interdependent―they are not at odds with each other. In order to have a prosperous economy, you need to have the healthy environment to support it: for energy, for food, and for other aspects. The idea that they’re pitted against each other is a concoction of misinformation from those who exploit the environment. We allow them to exploit the environment at our own peril, as we see from everything from air pollution and its health impact, to water shortages, to flooding, to extreme storms. These are not just happening in the Third World: we are beginning to pay the price for this very misguided, short-term, short-sighted exploitation of the environment.”
With such beautiful simplicity, Dr. Stein makes a point no one else is making. A cleaner environment and actions to protect our country and planet from climate change are not, and must not, be construed as being anathema to our economy. They are a necessary challenge on which the future of everything, including the economy, rests.
Dr. Stein wants to empower the EPA and cleanse it of all political and corporate influence. She wants to invest money not into bailing out our predatory banks and perpetually failing automobile industry but into clean energy and green technology. She envisions a major creation of green jobs including constructing green infrastructure, retrofitting homes, sustainable food and agricultural practices and increasing recycling.
I find Jill Stein to be the only Presidential candidate with the passion and sense of urgency necessary to combat human-induced climate change and other ongoing environmental damage. I cannot imagine voting for a man who has called global warming a Chinese conspiracy and climate change a hoax. I cannot vote for a woman who has corporate ties so prolonged and so deep that she cannot be trusted to operate independent of lobbyist influence on any issue including climate change.
A vote for Jill Stein is a vote for the future of this country and this planet. Let us no longer lead the world in war and corporate greed. Let us no longer pretend to the throne of the world and wax eloquent about our golden principles while violating them in every corner of the globe. Let us instead lead the world by example. And in this, let us start with the most crucial issue of all-protecting and preserving our habitat.