Environment and Politics



Brian Black, professor of history and environmental studies at Penn State, has an interesting piece on the politicization of environmental issues in today’s The Conversation.  He describes the strong bipartisanship for the environment in the 1960s and 1970s, in the midst of tracking the history of environmentalism in the United States from Theodore Roosevelt to the present.  While environmental issues affect everyone and should be of equal concern to left and right, environmentalism has become a political football today with the losers, ultimately, being the environment and us all.  The punchline, the doorstep upon which he lays the ultimate blame for this polarization, is the voter.  Voters have driven this divide and voters will be required to close it.  This, in turn, translates into the urgent work of public science education.  Voters who understand how science works and the limits of knowledge, and who are given the latest and best information, are in the strongest position to correctly assess the situation and demand appropriate action from our politicians, regardless of their party affiliations.  This is a huge opportunity for our Center for A New American Environmentalism to redefine environmentalism in the public eye.  To tie it firmly and firstly to objective science.  To educate the public about what is and is not science, and how to sort knowledge from belief.  To encourage citizens to think deeply about what matters most and what is right in terms of our relationship to nature and natural resources.  And to engage society broadly in discussions of scientific issues so that environmental issues are again issues of humanity, not political parties.

Black article in The Conversation:  http://theconversationus.cmail20.com/t/ViewEmail/r/FEFB312128560B3B2540EF23F30FEDED/10EFA6AEB89C0579F7E8006BBCB98688






About qdwheeler

Quentin Wheeler is the 4th president of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
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