Wednesday, March 26, 2008

An Open Letter to the Candidates

To The Honorable Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Barack Obama:

I know that I am probably wasting my time writing this letter, as you are all quite busy right now and don’t have the time to read it, but I feel that there is an issue that whichever of you is elected our next President needs to address urgently.

During this campaign, we have heard a lot about various issues. There has been a lot of talk about the economy, the war in Iraq, immigration and health care. These are all important and worthy of debate, but one issue overrides them all.

The threat of global warming has made the environment the most important issue in this election. To your credit, all three of you have supported bills in the Senate that address global warming.

I submit that your efforts are not going far enough, as evidenced by your stands on other environmental issues. All of you have expressed support for biofuels, which would not only add to greenhouse gases, but would also divert agriculture from producing the food that people desperately need to eat.

All three of you are also proponents of “clean coal,” which would merely transfer waste from one stream to another, and would not be feasible until around 2020, anyhow. It would also encourage the coal industry to continue its hideous practice of blowing the tops off mountains and destroying the surrounding environment.

It is easy to put your name on a bill purporting to do something about global warming. It is quite another to propose policies that undercut those efforts.

None of you are doing much to support the alternative energy sources that would truly reduce the threat of global warming—solar, wind, and hydro power. Other Presidential candidates have brought these forms of energy to the forefront of their campaigns, including John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that those candidates have fallen by the wayside. Maybe that’s because they couldn’t rely on money from the oil and coal lobbies?

My litmus test for a candidate for any national office used to be their stand on abortion rights. I reasoned that, if you don’t have the right to your own body, what rights do you have? I still think a woman’s right to choose is very important, but global warming has forced me to supplant it with the environment as the number one issue. The survival of man and many other species is at stake. There are many other vital issues, but we can’t argue about them if we’re dead.

As I write this, one of the top news stories is the collapse of a 160-square mile ice shelf in Antarctica due to global warming. The time for denying that the environment is the number one priority for the next President is past. The threshold is now.

Sincerely yours,

Bob Fritz
Penn Hills, PA

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