Donald Trump guaranteed himself the presidency by winning Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin in 2016. Democrats will certainly double and treble their efforts in those states next year, but may be hampered by a crucial twenty-first century conundrum: how to we weigh environmental interests and economic ones?
This morning’s edition of The Daily examined fracking–yes, the missing letters in the title of this post are “r” and “a”–and the impact it will have on the 2020 election. Fracking is a controversial method of extracting fossil fuels because of potential environmental consequences. It also offers jobs with union wages and benefits in a number of rust belt states like Pennsylvania. If Democrats select a candidate who promises an end to fracking, they may very well be wrapping that crucial state in a red ribbon for Donald Trump. Pennsylvania’s current Lieutenant Governor, John Fetterman (D), believes that Hillary Clinton’s pledge to end coal mining cost her the rust belt, and urges progressives not to make the same mistake twice.
Environmentalists argue that a greener economy will improve the lives of all Americans over time, and that pitting environmental interests against economic self interest is a false dichotomy. Explain that to the families in western Pennsylvania–or the farmers in Mississippi–who fear that tighter environmental laws will regulate them out of a way of life and into bankruptcy.
I feel that no matter the political situation, eventually the US will implement strict environmental restrictions that will prevent farmers, among others that rely on agriculture, from being able to make a living. I don’t feel, however, that the promise of environmental restrictions in one candidate will solely allow one to win the 2020 election. This is not the only thing that I would look at in a candidate, but others may have different priorities than I. Who know, maybe it will end up the opposite, and environmental protections will be just what some Americans want in a presidential candidate. Only time will tell.
It is hard to plan for the distant future, or even seriously consider it when making decisions, but the current climate crisis implores us too. The arguments involved basically boil down to: 1.) suffer now and profit later, or 2.) keep things the way they are and suffer exponentially more later, and people can’t give the first choice due consideration because our monkey brains’ default choice is to go with option two, the objectively worse option in the long term, because change is scary. So when people hear candidates say they want to eliminate fracking, or coal mining, or whatever else, so that people in future won’t suffer through no fault of their own, they just hear the first part, they hear a threat, to their families, their livelihoods. Of course, the way you wrap those sentiments up is very important, and may in fact influence people to support something they would not had it been worded plainly. But in the end, I hope that even those who work in the mines will come to see that even though these measures will make their lives worse in the short term, their children will thank them for the sacrifices they made so that they could live in a better world.
This extraction process has such a negative effect on the environment that I believe there is no way we can justify the continuation of it at its current state. It is believed that about 4% of methane during the process escapes into the atmosphere. (https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/011915/what-are-effects-fracking-environment.asp) This is detrimental to the environment because when methane goes into the atmosphere, it absorbs the sun’s energy and heats the atmosphere. (https://www.edf.org/climate/methane-other-important-greenhouse-gas) This furthers climate change and adds a whole slew of new problems. Unless the horrible side effects of the extraction process can be greatly reduced or eliminated, I believe democrats can’t morally erase the discontinuation of fracking from their agenda.
I–as a stereotypical environmentalist–always argue that a greener economy WILL doubtlessly improve the lives of everyone over time, AND that pitting environmental prosperity against economic prosperity IS a false dichotomy. In my personal opinion, if your occupation and livelihood relies on hurting the earth then it is time for you to change. Any way of life that actively hurts the environment needs to be eradicated or monumentally altered.
I’m appalled by the concept that supporting a greener world could cause a candidate to lose votes. The capitalistic mindset of many Americans neglects the harsh reality of conservation. I could preach sustainable living and corporate/government action until I’m blue in the face, but the majority’s chosen ignorance towards sustainability will kill us all in the end.
I believe that the health of our environment should outweigh the value of a relatively little amount unlucky workers involved in fracking. That said, those people are just unlucky to have chosen a career in which they damage the environment. They’re not ecoterrorists who burn forests down for no reason. These are normal people with families who need to be supported. I firmly believe that if these hard working people lose their jobs because of the progress made by environmentalists, they should at least be able to support themselves in the time between jobs. Just a suggestion, if the majority of people vote to take away these people’s jobs for the greater good, the majority should feel the weight of supporting those made jobless by their actions.
We have seen this situation before. Having two goals when trying to improve society is hard, but it can be done. When society goes through a change, there are growing pains. Trying to explain to someone that they will ultimately become just a statistic is unreasonable and inhumane. Before we, as a society, go through another shift, we need to create a plan to help those growing pains have less of an impact on society.
In all, negligence toward our environmental condition is rooted in a fear of change. We NEED to change to survive, and as our condition on earth worsens, the time that we have left to change grows shorter.
The environmental consequences of the gathering and the use of fossil fuels can no longer be ignored. The entire globe is suffering from the decay of the stable climate that we have become acclimated to: Venice, Italy is under water and Australia is on fire. It will not be long before the United States gets affected in the long term as well, and soon California will turn to ash and Florida will be swimming with the fish. America cannot avoid our environmental issues; however, we cannot avoid our economic issues either. In the long run, removing America’s dependency on fossil fuels will benefit everyone in the country; however, humans are ficil and need to see the short term benefits to get behind something. Therefore, and candidates that wish to make laws that help the environment but harms some people in the process will not get voted for. Candidates need to provide reforms that will allow current workers that will lose jobs due to environmental concerns to obtain jobs that have better benefits than their previous one. Until this happens, no environmentally concerned candidate will win states that have a lot of fracking.
As much as we may not admit it, we are cowards. We fear change, and it causes long-term detriments for those ahead of us. We push our issues down the hill for our future generations, yet we fail to recognize that it snowballs into a more massive problem. Our fear of change or getting outside our comfort zone allows our selfishness to overcome us and causes a closer to irreversible damage. Fracking does provide a good deal of individuals with a job, but it is at a cost. The cost being our only current, possible home in the solar system: Earth. There are many unskilled jobs that are available for individuals catching themselves having to give up their current position for the environment. While slowly progressing into a more sustainable society will take numerous years, we must begin our journey now. We need to quickly understand the significance of our situation and become more sympathetic for the world we live on before our time is too late.
No matter how unpopular the greener option is to some myopic voters, at some point they must understand that without fields you can’t farm, and without a sun unadulterated by the smog of unchecked emissions, plants aren’t exactly going to thrive. It’s better to understand this sooner rather than later, and vote officials into office who will not just care about whether you’re currently swimming in fracking money, but also if your great great etc. grandchildren can safely live on this earth.
Change is scary but very necessary. There is so much change that needs to happen but tradition, capitalism, and others tend to stop the thoughts of change. Older generations are afraid of change that is also why they get angry and frustrated by the new technologies and negatively opinionate their thoughts. Anyways back to the new environmental laws, it is necessary to have change but it is also these people’s jobs and income. a lot of these farmers have never had a formal education and have been raised to only know how to farm. This causes a loss for the economy as well as for the people who eat food, which is all of us. there need to be a throughout the plan that would allow for better environmental regulations as well as helping the farmers and others that have jobs that might get whacked because of the regulations.
We will have to change how we live sooner or later, yet people don’t want to acknowledge that. Short-term, people want jobs now, as a lot of people live in the now moment, paycheck to paycheck or less. Presidents do not win elections by promising goals for the economy 100 years from now. Presidential candidates promise goals they plan to accomplish within their term, i.e. Donald Trump’s wall. I believe that we will continue to vote by goals in the moment, which now are jobs, until the now moment is the inevitable environmental concerns that will be here sooner or later.
Fracking includes the injection of water and sand into ground layers. Sand in low earth layers is called loose unconsolidated material which can strengthen the intensity of earth quakes due to its loose strength. This means that the more you frack the more you make an area more prone to earthquakes. Fracking causes earthquakes, structural damages, and other issues. I know fracking brings money, but the longer we only care about money is the sooner we are all dead. Money isn’t worth anything when that happens.
The greed that is so ever-present in America has made me so tired. They’re so worried about the here and now and making money now instead of seeing that doing what is best for the environment will benefit them in the long run. I understand smaller businesses and farmers are worried about how this will affect them, but this is bigger than just them. There is no compassion for the nature we live in. Emerson was right about one thing.
I think that we should place a greener economy higher up on the list of Important Things To America because let’s face it global warming is real, and what has caused global warming? Americans being idiots when it comes to our resources, guzzling up fossil fuels, and burning coal. If our planet is inhospitable what does it matter that we have a banging economy, news flash it does not matter at all. I think if we start recycling, converting to clean energy, and teaching children the importance of a green environment. We start to see a change when it comes to our planet and I think that once we see that change then we can focus on the economy.