Dr. Jill Stein wants to change the way Washington works. Here’s why it’s a good idea to support her candidacy for president.
WASHINGTON –- Every vote for Dr. Jill Stein in the 2012 Presidential election represents a kind of a victory — a victory over fear.
Voters supporting Democratic candidates may fear the loss of personal freedom with regard to lifestyle and health choices, the prospect of a Supreme Court dominated by right wingers, the increased loss of funding for public programs, etc.
On the other hand, voters supporting Republican candidates may fear taxes, the loss of privatization opportunities, even the threat that better educated, healthier and unified lower and middle classes may reject the status quo.
Lost in this non-debate is the urgency of environmental issues and the economic opportunities that environmentally conscious action presents.
You vote for Dr. Stein if you have considered the evidence that toxins human beings have put into the environment have adversely affected our health, your children’s health and development. You vote for Dr. Stein if you want to see sustainable economic activity (“growth,” if you must).
If you’re ok with “drill baby, drill,” wars for oil and hydrofracking, you probably are not going to vote for Jill Stein. Still, her candidacy provides an opportunity to propose that environmental issues are THE most significant issue we face today.
The lack of environmental awareness is profound.
Just as an example, we voter/consumers have quietly gone from “Energy Star” appliance purchasing to buying flat panel TVs that use three or four times as much energy as their tube predecessors and produce four times as much carbon emissions.
Even as unusually high temperatures this year — and droughts, and fires, etc. — have been linked to global warming — the most profound environmental statement in memory has come from neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney, but from former President George W. Bush — remember his, “America is addicted to oil”?
I’m not sure what percentage of Americans understand that carbon emissions is a problem so serious that it is possible, given current fossil fuel use trajectories, we will raise the earth’s average temperature by 11 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas a rise of even two degrees, a “target” for mid-century set at Copenhagen’s 2009 environmental summit, would destroy already drought-stricken areas of Africa.
An 11-degree increase? It’s a challenge to even picture life on this planet under such a circumstance.
And yet, Obama has supported drilling, and his state department has worked to secure future reserves abroad. Wars rage; fires rage, deforestation continues. Coral reefs, a source of abundance in the ocean’s protein stream, die off due to increased acidity as the oceans asorb more carbon dioxide; and then there’s the threat of nuclear contamination from power plants and spent fuel rods.
Shouldn’t we be talking about this? Shouldn’t we be doing what we can to prevent environmental catastrophe? Shouldn’t THIS — the survival of the species — be the issue on the table? Or is the fact that it is the one issue that can unite all of us that is the problem, that those who seek to divide and leverage cannot provide this way?
Dr. Stein has expressed an intent to foster discussion and examination of global environmental issues that center on our survival as a species. She has also written and taught environmental issues on a much smaller scale, authoring In Harm’s Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development, and Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging.
“The reports promote green local economies, sustainable agriculture, clean power, and freedom from toxic threats,” according to information on her website.
Her bio notes that she served as a member of the national and Massachusetts boards of directors of the Physicians for Social Responsibility and that she has won awards including Clean Water Action’s “Not in Anyone’s Backyard” award, the “Children’s Health Hero” award, and the Toxic Action Center’s Citizen Award.
Dr. Stein was born in Chicago and raised in suburban Highland Park, Illinois, Stein graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1973, and from Harvard Medical School in 1979. More information can be found at her website.