Well, all I have to say is, whew!
The campaign in which the environmental conversation largely amounted to "Drill, baby, drill" is over.
I’m definitely glad about how this election turned out, but I did wish throughout the campaign for more concentrated talk about environmental issues. The economic meltdown helped Obama get elected while unfortunately overshadowing what I feel is a much more serious crisis: our imperiled planet, which is gonna kick all our asses, rich and poor, if we don’t make sweeping changes to the way we live. If 2008 wasn’t the year for a candidate to stand up and say clearly, "We all have to consume less," I don’t know what year would be.
Anyway, one place we can all start is to avoid dumping our campaign paraphenalia into the landfill. This piece from the Huffington Post, written by local correspondent Mark Meier (also a C-VILLE contributor), makes clear that although yard signs are kind of wasteful, they’re nothing compared to the frenzy with which Americans go through plastic shopping bags. Find a way to reuse your yard sign (can you somehow wrap Xmas presents with those things?), quit using plastic bags, and write Obama a letter telling him to be bold on eco-issues.
I bet these UVA students will be writing to our prez-elect:
Members of Student Environmental Action, they stopped by the C-VILLE offices last week before the election to make known their desire for the next president to take the environment seriously. "We’re pretty pro-Obama," they said, but they disapproved of Obama’s support for so-called clean coal. "It’s decades away from being deployable; it’s really expensive; it will come too late to solve any of the problems we have," Matt Trumbo-Tual told me. He also raised the specter of mountaintop removal, which really is a huge tragedy in Southwestern Virginia and West Virginia, and which he believes would continue under clean coal strategies.
Hooray for young voters, hooray for UVA students being clued into these issues, and hooray for the new America. Now let’s take some of this optimism and channel it into doing something for the planet.