HANGING CHAD AND ALL HIS ANTI-ENVIRONMENT BUDDIES Voting Pro-Environment is Good For Jobs, Health, and Security
There are many issues on minds of US voters these days, but according to national polls, environment ranks ...um... somewhere above hemp policy and just below humane treatment for Teletubbies.
People are, of course, justly concerned about top issues such as health care, terrorism, and jobs. But environment actually has a role to play in all of those areas. Below are some examples of how this is so.
ENVIRONMENTAL VOTING CAN MEAN BETTER HEALTH
"If you have your health, you have everything"--so goes old cliche. We usually don't think too much about our health until we have a problem. Diseases usually creep in on us slowly. They're very patient, waiting until our defenses are down far enough for us to be susceptible.
The health of environment--the quality of air we breathe, purity of water we drink, condition of land we grow our food on--are prime factors in health of our bodies. We protect health of our families by reducing pollution, by encouraging better farming practices that result in more nutritious agricultural products, and by getting toxic chemicals out of products we use every day.
Politicians are busy jousting about who has better plan for improving health care, but they're mostly silent on most basic health issue--keeping disease-causing pollutants out of environment and out of us.
ENVIRONMENTAL VOTING CAN MEAN BETTER SAFETY
What are terrorist targets that have most potential for causing problems? Here are three.
- Ports -- We're still inspecting only a fraction of more 6 million containers arriving in US coastal cities each year. Many security experts think it's just a matter of time before terrorists sneak a nuclear, chemical or biological device into one of them. By supporting concept of "buying local," our leaders could begin reducing traffic in our ports and thus make problem more manageable. This would also reduce huge level of pollution associated with product transport. Instead, our leaders pursue ever-grander "free trade" schemes that will INCREASE port security problems.
- Chemical Plants and Other Facilities That Use Chemicals -- A terrorist strike at a facility that manufactures or uses toxic substances could release clouds of poisonous chemicals. And we're not only talking about heavy-duty chemical and industrial plants; many water-treatment facilities, for instance, still use toxic forms of chlorine for disinfection, even though safer alternatives are available. Those who currently control our federal government have been far too passive in addressing problems with high-chemical-use industries.
- Nuclear Power Plants -- Although most nuclear facilities are hardened against airplane strikes, many are vulnerable to direct terrorist takeover. Because there are only 103 nuclear power plants in US and because they do get a fair degree of attention when it comes to security, this is probably least likely of three disaster scenarios presented here. But it's still a possibility, and instead of trying to reduce level of vulnerability by diverting investment resources to development of wind, solar, wave, and other clean, safe forms of electricity generation, some politicians are pushing plans to build MORE nuclear power plants. Egad.