Tuesday, May 13, 2008

John McCain Environmental Roundtable: Policy Comments

Today I lived my 'little girl reporter with a Fisher-Price typewriter dream' at the Environmental Roundtable in North Bend, Washington. I was a mere foot away from McCain himself and had a chance to meet and even talk with some prominent and interesting people. I'll post my policy commentary first, if you're game, I share my 'Mom on the Spot' recap separately.

I will be the first to admit environmental stewardship is not #1 on my list of issues and concerns. But I am blessed to live in a very beautiful part of the country, and I believe that good stewardship and common sense are both important. There are some things you play politics with, and some you don't. When irreplaceable resources might be in permanent danger, it's foolish not to do something, whether that danger ultimately materializes or not.

Some background for you: here we have a politician who has considered climate change not from a press briefing but from visiting the Brazilian rainforest, Antarctica, Norwegian fjords. A Republican who clearly contradicts Bush's head-in-the-sand strategy but refuses to bankrupt Americans and our businesses for questionable benefit. A guy who knows he'll be greeted by protesters no matter what he says or does, and sits down to have open, intelligent discussion anyway - on a topic which he knows arouses hostility (for different reasons) from both the right and the left. When it comes to both courage and straight talk, there is absolutely no doubt - this man sets the standard.

Speaking (or mostly listening) about the issues, I was pleased to hear McCain make the distinction between monkeying with the marketplace (i.e. ethanol subsidies) and incentivizing Green choices from energy producers, corporations and citizens. McCain also reaffirmed "pure Research & Development" as a job for the government (after all, it was our military, and not Al Gore, who actually invented the internet). REI CEO Sally Jewell made a good point that everyone has been so 'greenwashed' a lot of environmentally-friendly companies and initiatives don't have credibility with consumers. McCain then spoke about the need for consumer education -- I was kind of shocked to hear half the Moms on CafeMom say they don't recycle; then again, if it wasn't curbside, I probably wouldn't bother with it consistently.) So there is lots of potential there across America to save resources and carbon emissions (although as I learned today, the real danger is cow fart methane, supposedly 25 times worse than CO2).

Cow farts aside, I saw firsthand today how genuine and enthusiastic John McCain is, and what a great choice he is to steward our country. So far our government has been focused on ironically "unnatural" solutions to challenges in our natural world. I believe President McCain can change that, and I urge earth-lovers to give him a fair look this November.

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