Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Lack of Presidential Debate

I am deeply disturbed by the very limited scope of public debate on crucial issues—and by the questions posed to our roster of presidential candidates in every debate I’ve witnessed. The environment isn’t being addressed at all. Why aren’t they being asked the hard questions, like how to move towards clean renewable energy—and how they plan to quickly, effectively address climate change? What will they do about our astronomical budget deficit? How will they change the trajectory that is dumbing down America—and provide a decent education for our kids? What do they plan to do about controlling pollution, protecting our ever-dwindling forest lands, wetlands, and wildlife? How will they address the health care crisis so that all Americans have health insurance? How will we get out of Iraq?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hoboken winter

Okay, I’m at home in Hoboken, NJ, and we’ve hit the doldrums of winter. Except we really haven’t had much winter here, a couple of stretches of really cold days punctuated by 40, 50, 60 degree days. A couple of bedraggled plants on my deck never died off this year.

Sometimes writing on the environment is really a challenge. I recently published a syndicated editorial on the oceans—titled "Oceans In Trouble." I hadn’t written on ocean issues in a couple of years. There are so many scary and deeply upsetting environmental issues, but the state of the oceans is really bleak. Unless we act quickly to change the massive amount of wildlife we are taking from the sea—and address what we are putting into it, from sewage, plastic and other pollutants to the carbon dioxide we’re pumping into the atmosphere that is absorbed by the oceans—we could essentially empty the sea of life within my son’s lifetime. I find that really hard to wrap my head around. The ocean is so vast, seemingly so limitless, but its resources are finite and its ability to store carbon and pollution without turning into a toxic soup are limited. But we can change the trajectory with public outcry and political will!