Major party candidates have spent quite a bit of time making plans for the economy, discussing national security and arguing about immigration reform. But the one key issue that has been overlooked during this election cycle is environmental policy. Despite the impending threat to health and security that climate change poses, politicians and voters are not talking about the environment. Addressing climate change should be at the top of the agenda for everyone right now.
If we continue to ignore global warming, the world will face devastating consequences. Already, there has been an increase in unusual weather patterns and natural disasters, including hurricanes, earthquakes and flooding. This is only the beginning of the devastation that will occur due to increasing global temperature. Scientists have continuously urged the U.S. to prevent and regulate behaviors contributing to the earth’s rising temperatures, yet too few people seem interested in protecting our planet.
Although climate change is an urgent issue, politicians and citizens are relatively uninterested in creating or even talking about environmental policy. A Gallup Poll published earlier this year showed climate change as being one of the least–important issues to voters identifying with both major parties. Most Republicans running for federal office do not list environmental issues on their campaign websites, and many even deny global warming’s well-proven existence. Democrats have been more vocal about global warming but still tend to put the spotlight on other issues.
The shortsighted approach of politicians and the public fails to acknowledge the big picture; climate change affects every other issue area. As we continue to face unpredictable weather patterns, more natural disasters and depleting natural resources, there will be economic fallout, mass immigration and increased violent conflict. Every person on Earth will be impacted if we fail to also solve the pressing issue of global warming.
Government actions could help limit further damage to the environment. The U.S. should stop subsidizing harmful, nonrenewable fossil fuels and focus more funding on research and execution of renewables, such as solar and wind power. In addition, the EPA should increase its regulation of U.S.-owned businesses and tax companies that are not complying to limit pollution. Individuals could also be enticed with subsidies for making personal homes more eco-friendly.
Too few people seem to realize or care about how pressing environmental policy is. If we continue the trend of shoving this major issue off to the side, we will begin to see increasingly overwhelming consequences very soon.