Sierra Club founder John Muir wrote that everything in the universe is connected—pick out any one thing and you’ll find it “hitched to everything else.” That interconnectedness is beautiful when you see it in nature. It’s not so wonderful when you look at how money and politics have affected our energy policies.
With just a few weeks remaining before the election, the battle for the hearts and minds of voters has kicked into high gear. There’s information flying at us from every angle now, and it’s getting harder and harder to separate reality from rhetoric. All you have to do is turn on the TV or surf the Internet to see that a lot of different folks are interested in telling you a lot of different stories about the candidates running for office this year.
And, because of a recent Supreme Court decision that tossed out limits on how much money big businesses can spend in elections, those who have the deepest pockets also have the biggest megaphones.
In the first three months of this year alone, 81 percent of the attack ads against President Obama were on energy and environment issues. And you can guess which (fossil fuel) companies paid for those. Analysts expect the total dollars spent in this election will surpass a record $7 billion—yes, with a “b”—before all is said and done.
That kind of money buys a lot of misinformation, and the organizations spending that cash are aiming to roll back clean energy solutions like vehicle fuel efficiency standards, pollution controls on power plants, and wind and solar innovation. It seems these polluters will do, say, and spend anything to keep their grip on the American economy.
Fortunately, few Americans agree with the handful of Big Oil and Coal CEOs who want to hijack the election to protect their profits. No matter how much money they spend, there are millions more of us who are motivated to protect our planet and our air and water, while creating a thriving economy with new American jobs and building a healthy and safe future for our kids.
And there are also plenty of candidates running in this election who share those values.
The United States is now leading the world in reducing its carbon pollution through forward-thinking, common-sense solutions and a clean energy revolution. We’re making real progress, and this is no time to allow deep-pocketed special interest groups and the politicians beholden to them to reverse course and knock clean energy out of our reach.
The solutions are right in front of us. Right now, one in five homes in Iowa is powered by wind. South Dakota generates 20 percent of its electricity from wind power, and the wind industry is on track to produce 20 percent of all the electricity in the United States by 2030. Solar is booming, too, with the U.S. market expected to double this year as rooftop panels become even more affordable for homeowners and businesses.
After the BP oil spill in my home state of Louisiana, I witnessed firsthand what greed and reckless regard for the environment can do. That is why it is so important that we all exercise our right to vote this November. We need to do our homework to find out which candidates will stand up for our environment and protect us from pollution—and which ones won’t. Most environmental organizations don’t have the gargantuan budgets that big polluters do, but they’re working to provide us with the facts about candidates’ environmental voting records through tools like the Sierra Club’s Voter Guide.
Never miss an opportunity to amplify your voice. Join me and make your voice heard this November.