Conservation Missing from Last Night’s Debate

There were no surprises in last night’s presidential debate when it came to energy policy. Both President Obama and Governor Romney stuck to their campaign talking points.

Unfortunately, it also wasn’t surprising that environmental stewardship did not come up once during the debate. Not in the questions asked by moderator Jim Lehrer. Not in any of the candidates’ remarks. No mention of how we can keep air and water clean. No discussion about conserving America’s great heritage of open space, wildlife, and parks. Not a word about climate change.

The prevailing narrative is that the environment is a low-profile issue for most voters. The economy, budget, health, and education rank higher in most voters’ minds, and appropriately those issues receive most of the attention. Still, poll after poll shows that voters of all political stripes expect their leaders to be responsible stewards whose policies deliver clean air, clean water, and common-sense energy efficiency.

Debates are the best opportunity Americans have to hear from the candidates about these important stewardship issues. A strong economy, good health care, and a high quality of life depend on a clean environment and conserving our country’s immense natural endowment. We need to hear, in an unscripted forum, the candidates’ ideas about stewardship.

By working together, our country has made great progress in reducing pollution and protecting our natural heritage, but the work remains unfinished. It will be on the plate of whoever is elected president in five weeks. There will be one more chance, on October 16 at New York’s Hofstra University, for the presidential candidates to talk about their environmental views at a debate. Let’s hope that chance is not missed.

Categories: Uncategorized | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Conservation Missing from Last Night’s Debate

  1. Let’s grow a movement to begin demanding that environmental issues be covered in one of the future presidential or congressional debates–perhaps sharing with economic debates? How can triple digit temperatures over long periods of time, and expanding droughts, and more extreme weather, not to mention rising seas–how could these NOT have economic impacts.

    Besides, GOP presidents (T. Roosevelt, R. Nixon, maybe others) helped to start or strengthen environmental awareness and protection. How is this not an American “value” to be shared equally with other values? And why doesn’t the powerful slogan “lpro-life” include all life on the planet, especially since we’re dependent on other life forms?


  2. It is very difficult to hear politicians talk about money all the time, and never mention with a single word that all the money in the world would not help us and our children, if we have no more fresh air to breathe, clean water to drink, or indeed, a world to live in. Nobody talks about the ocean, which controls our climate, guarantees rain and snow and produces most of our oxygen. One does not have to be a scientist to know these simple facts but whoever becomes President of the United States should at least be aware of them and act accordingly.

  3. Claire Beers

    I am a Birder and believe in being good stewards of our envionment, but at the same time we must explore thoroughly our energy exploration. We must not over regulate exploration of oil, gas, coal, as our need of energy is urgent. It can be regulated but beware of over regulating..

    • Rachael Denny

      Our need for a clean, safe supply of water is far more urgent than our need for energy. When it comes to protecting our precious water supplies, I’m not sure we can “over-regulate” energy exploration and development.

  4. toby dolinka

    If we live on this planet, we are a part of the environment that we share with all living animals and plant life. We must care about and steward the environment to keep it viable for our grandchildren and their progeny.

  5. There was one environmental issue addressed by Romney to the effect that Obama has “failed” to open public lands for oil drilling, something he would do immediately along with approving the Keystone Pipeline. The president chose not to respond, possibly because he’s considering both actions as well. At this point we have two politicians who seem to have a low and lower interest in protecting the environment and one party that has made shutting down the EPA a priority. I feel like Sisyphus at the moment.

  6. Damon Swart

    Our natural resources represent all aspects of where our daily lives are made possible. Transportation, shelter, and survival…in general. Our environment is just as much a ” living entity ” as we are as human beings. Without the willingness to adopt a ” bartering system ” in the aspect of ” give and take ” regarding the environment, then the unnatural shift in autonomy goes to the human race. But with that being the case, it spells ” disaster ” for the environment, as it has been proven to be, so far.

    Damon/Tampa, Fl.

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