Jobs and the economy are important issues in the upcoming election but attention should also be paid to environmental issues.
Candidates who have allowed good science to shape their positions should be listened to. Climate Change should be a huge issue here and now. It is obviously easier to stick our heads in the sand and hope for the best but the extreme weather events that scientists warned us would be a result would seem to have arrived this past year and even this week perhaps. Isn't it time that solutions were worked on instead of ignoring the issue?
Whether the issue is the space program or the sustainable way to feed earth's inhabitants, only with the guidance of science will waste and disaster be averted.
At the local level, beware of those who repeat over and over that fracking isn't a concern because it has been done safely for fifty years. Anyone who equates horizontal fracking with the fracking of the past fifty years either hasn't gone beyond the script handed to him or her or has a total lack of understanding of the issue.
These are likely to be the same candidates who believe that neighbors of deep shale wells or the roads traveled by trucks delivering chemicals to and from well-sites have no right to know what chemicals they may or may not be exposed to. Or that first responders don't need to have that information even though they may end up dealing with truck contents directly. These same candidates may believe it is just fine for injection wells in Ohio to receive wastewater from drilling activities in other states when that waste is brought to this state primarily because of the absence of disclosure regulations other states have in place. It is unlikely anyone who has a true science background could honestly take any of these positions.
Is there a reason that no one is talking about Conservation? The same people who agonize so passionately over the amount of national debt that future generations may have to help pay are strangely silent over the current effort to extract every iota of oil and gas as quickly as possible with no apparent concern for the availability of either for those future generations. This is not an energy policy and it is unlikely that "oil independence" has much to do with the position.
In Ohio, at any rate, there is an apparent effort on the part of corporations and at least part of the government to extract everything possible as quickly as possible before some of the serious consequences of the reckless experiment being performed on our drinking and surface waters cause voters to demand regulations that are truly protective of human health and the environment.
A large percentage of the political ads the past few months have been about energy. Donations by fossil fuel corporations and, of course, super PACs funded by billionaires who are making more billions from oil and gas extraction has put the amount of media time and space and number of political signs over the top. Does this indicate a belief that if anything is repeated often enough, voters will believe it?
Respect for scientific fact has to be an important guide to help determine who gets our vote. And it is up to each of us to cast our votes thoughtfully.
Marilyn Ortt of 701 Colegate Drive, Marietta, is a member of the Marietta City Tree Commission. Our Earth appears on alternate weeks in the weekend edition.