Our Senators Should Defend the Endangered Species Act
With all the Congressional drama happening in Washington, DC, I don't want to forget about one of our most fundamental environmental laws: the Endangered Species Act. Passed practically unanimously in 1973 during the Nixon administration, the Endangered Species Act protects our imperiled plants, wildlife, and habitat and recognizes that they "are of esthetic, ecological, educational, historical, recreational, and scientific value to the Nation and its people," according to the Act's preamble.
Let's add economic value to that list. According to a 2017 report by the Outdoor Industry Association, the outdoor recreation economy generates $887 billion in consumer spending, 7.6 million jobs, $65.3 billion federal tax revenue, and $59.2 state & local tax revenue. Yet, without clean habitats and biodiversity, we wouldn't have the privilege to enjoy the prosperity that comes from the recreation industry.
Right now, some members of Congress are promising to gut the Endangered Species Act to make way for fossil fuel development in critical habitat areas, including our public lands. We need the Endangered Species Act and other environmental laws to protect our disappearing wildlife and public lands. Our senators should protect the Endangered Species Act.
Feel good when voting
In 2014, Alison Grimes campaigned against McConnell by denouncing Obama's "reckless EPA regulations." I voted for her, but I didn't feel good about it. Other Democrats stayed home.
In 2016, I knew I would vote for any Democrat running against Donald Trump, whose campaign rallies featured chilling chants and empty promises. Hilary Clinton had a reasonable platform, plus years of experience. I voted for her, but I didn't feel good about it. Other Democrats stayed home.
In 2020, I'll feel good if I can vote for a Democrat who says that Trump's "good economy" Presidency, with its fossil fuel corporations and off-shore drilling, won't amount to a hill of beans if we don't save the planet for the next generation. Trump and McConnell know climate change is not a hoax, but lying about it and demonizing President Obama have always worked in their Kentucky elections.
From the book cover of Naomi Klein's book, This Changes Everything: "Climate change…is a civilizational wake-up call, a powerful message delivered in the language of fires, floods, storms and droughts. Confronting it is no longer about changing the light bulbs. It's about changing the world -- before the world changes so drastically that no one is safe."