Monday, October 29, 2012

Who Would Mama Earth Vote For?

I love voting. When I taught second grade, I eschewed Halloween, but dressed up in costume for election day (flag-blue wig, Lady Liberty sash). This year, the economy is number one in most people's minds. The question of who'll improve the economy has been dumbed down in election ads -  tax and spend, spend and tax. There's a lot more to the question of improving the economy, however; and how the president thinks about science and technology will impact BOTH the economy and the environment.

If you're interested in where the presidential candidates stand on scientific questions, check out "Science Debate 2012", in which you can compare side-by-side responses of the candidates to questions about science, the environment, and innovation.

The big take-away?

These guys aren't so different, at least on paper

But hey, you're probably thinking:isn't Obama our guy if we're environmentalists?

Well, I do agree that if you're voting green, Obama is the one to vote for.

But lets be real. Neither side is that green. 

Take the Keystone XL Pipeline, for example. In the televised debates, Romney has repeatedly brought up the pipeline - a pipeline that would bring oil from Canadian tar sands - .as necessary to foster energy independence (how a pipeline bringing oil from Canada results in US energy independence, I'm not sure.) Environmentalists believe that the pipeline will have devastating environmental impacts along its route. In particular, extracting oil from tar sands is a seriously dirty way to get oil. But Obama's record isn't all sunshine and puppies when it comes to Keystone.The Obama administration has both slowed the construction of Keystone and supported parts of it. No matter who becomes president, there's a good chance Keystone will go ahead, even as it becomes less important to the oil industry. 

We have to ask ourselves, in a two-party system driven by big money, will the long-term view of planetary health ever be a major issue? There's no benefit in the quarterly profits to looking a hundred years ahead, and a four-year election cycle is too short to truly witness our impact on the planet.

And of course, journalists today are afraid to ask the hard questions about our planetary future:
Which candidate will bring about Z-Day*?

For that, you have to turn to the fearless truths spoken by Joss Whedon, who also happens to be creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and also happens to be on my short list of personal heroes, along with Stephen King and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

If you're waiting for the Zombie Apocalypse, well, then Romney is definitely your guy.

*Z-Day? You know... the beginning of the zombie apocalypse.

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