Response to Prompt 2 Environmental Democracy

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Like the majority of young citizens, and especially the majority of environmentally minded young citizens, in the 2012 election I voted for Obama. I considered voting Green Party, but I decided that in today’s political environment that it would be a wasted vote. This view may have been wrong, but that is a discussion for another time. Like much of the environmental community however, I have been frustrated and a little disappointed in the lack of a real push from the President towards environmental progress. It seemed (and this should not be surprising when discussing politicians) that Obama was much more environmentally minded during the campaign than he has been post-election. Even with these frustrations with our current president, I still find myself wary of the idea of a complete institutional makeover or something similar. In my mind the most important goal of the current environmental movement should be to achieve results as fast as possible, and working within the current political system seems the best option. What frightens me about an institutional make over is not the concept itself, I agree that our current system is not very well designed to handle environmental issues and that it has many flaws. What frightens me about an institutional makeover is how difficult it would be to achieve. The possibility of such a massive undertaking failing completely is very real, and even if it were too succeed, it would take an extremely long time. In my mind, we simply do not have the time; the environmental problems are too urgent already and are getting more urgent every day. Ignoring these problems for the amount of time it would take to achieve an institutional makeover is not the best course of action in my opinion.

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6 responses »

  1. Hi there. I have to agree with you on being wary of our government undergoing a huge institutional makeover to better focus on environmental issues for the sake of time. However, I still think we should try. You suggest that it could be a waste of time to do so as the environmental issues are only becoming more and more urgent, but I suggest that the best route would to do two things at once. We agree that our government is not currently fit to combat, or even organize the tough environmental issues we face today, but they can, and should at least try to get prepared to do so in the future. At the same time, we as a society can go back to the basics to rally against detrimental uses of our environment, sort of like the example of labor hours we discussed in class today. Just a thought! It was nice reading your blog!

  2. I agree that Obama seems to be doing less than he initially told voters he would and that an institutional makeover is frightening and risky. However, I tend to look on the brighter side when it comes to the politics. By this I mean that Obama is doing more than we could ever have hoped out of Mitt Romney. He has been blocked by the Republicans in Congress time and time again, so the lack of progress is not all his fault. Still, there were moments in which he could have been more active in the fight against climate change. I typically steer away from politics, so it is hard for me to say for sure whether or not I am satisfied with his policy, but I cannot help but think at least it is not President Romney.

  3. I am not sure whether I can agree or disagree with you on the idea that Obama is not doing as much for the environment as he initially planned. Since we are not participating in governmental decisions and affairs, we cannot truly see all of the obstacles that Obama must cross when he tries to find solutions for our environmental problems. For example, we are unsure of the financial obligations that solving these environmental issues may require. Also, many of the environmental problems that are currently being solved during his presidency cannot be physically seen. It has been proven that carbon emissions have declined immensely during Obama’s presidency. Nevertheless, the result of this is not physically evident and therefore the public ridicules him even more.

  4. I tend to agree that a complete overhaul of our current system would be difficult, with failure being the most likely outcome. Attempting to abandon liberal democracy and install an entirely new system, despite the good intentions of environmental progress, carries too great a risk. The potential for things to go wrong during the transition is too high for an institutional makeover to be worth it. Working within the current system, no matter how frustrating it may be for environmentalists in the current political climate, is certainly our best option.

  5. I agree as well that Obama seems to be doing less than he initially told voters that he would in order to fix environmental issues. However, I also believe that no matter what candidate had won the election, the outcomes would have been the same. Year in and year out environmental issues have always been put on a back burner. As citizens we don’t look at these problems as being an urgent matter and that’s where we go wrong. We are all aware of the consequences, yet we feel that these issues can wait and we don’t have to worry about it now. People in the government who are in charge of making these decisions have the same mind set, thus the environmental side of government never moves forward and never takes action. Little by little we try to get laws to pass and compromises to go into action, but that is not enough in the pace that our world is moving in today. Population is constantly growing and what we don’t realize is that if we don’t do something now, it will be too late before we can take action. The government and policies it decides to act starts with the people. Our jobs isn’t just to vote and hope that the candidate Democrat or Republican will fix these problems, but rather it is our job to make them know that this is an urgent problem. It is our job to make it a world wide problem as well and not just make the United States responsible to act on these issues. Maybe then, someone will take action and we will start to see chance in our world.

  6. I think that we’re too damn dependent on our government to do everything that we want them to. This includes President Obama, Congress, as well as local and state governments. Yes, the government is absolutely not doing enough when it comes to avoiding an environmental crisis but we must also reflect on what we have done to convince them to make more environmentally friendly policies. When was the last time that you started a petition or called your Congresswoman or man about an upcoming vote on the Keystone XL pipeline or increased funding for offshore drilling? We live in a republic and for that to truly work and for the American government to truly be ‘for the people’ we (you, me, everyone) need to make our voices and concerns heard. It is not enough to just sit around and talk about how the government is broken and needs to be fixed. There are lots of things that we can do to help make out concerns heard. It is crucial that we take advantage of these communication avenues provided by the government to have out voices heard. The government may be broken but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have the power or means to help fix it.

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