Environment and Politics

Here is an article from the Washington Post about how drilling for natural gas could affect Obama’s popularity among environmental groups and enthusiasts. It shows how the government can have a huge impact on our environment and how land and resource conservation has become a political issue.


Does this article make it seem like environmental protection should be the responsibility of our politicians? Should we elect our politicians and make political decisions based on environmental issues or should we focus on more short term issues? Does this author make it seem like environmental groups have more political influence than they actually do?

Here is another article from US News that talks about how fewer people seem to think Obama’s political agenda will have a significant impact on environmental reform. The article says that Obama’s most recent political campaign didn’t really focus on environmental issues. Based on your interviews from election day, do you agree that environmental issues didn’t seem to play a big role in this year’s political news coverage or voter decisions? Why do you think this year’s politicians focused less on the environment, especially considering faith in their ability to bring change declined?



About phoebebarghouty

The University of Michigan Student and Multimedia Journalist

2 Responses to “Environment and Politics”

  1. Great articles, especially for after the election! Personally, I think environmental protection is not something that should be expected of politicians to focus on heavily. They need to consider certain policies and ensure that necessary steps are being taken to prevent further augmentation of the issue. But it comes down to individuals and organizations to propose certain ideas. Based on the interviews we conducted on election night, people that had environmental backgrounds (in their studies or work) were concerned about the policies more so than the general population. The general population seemed to care more about jobs, health care and education policies. In the whole scheme of things, environmental issues are of great importance but I believe that other issues like the economy and unemployment need to be resolved first. It can become very pricey to implement new environmental policies. Environmental protection is a continuing process and therefore efforts should be put in by politicians along with individuals and organizations.

  2. I also really liked the articles you chose and the questions you asked, especially because it seems inappropriate to me that environmental issues have become so politically polarized when they really are issues that affect every single one of us, regardless of political ideology. Moreover, environmental problems have come to be decided based on politics, rather being informed by solid science. I think that making major environmental decisions should be strongly informed by scientists, rather than political ideology/political issues/concerns about voter base.

    I think that perhaps the reason that politicians have avoided taking serious action on climate change and other environmental issues is that in general, we tend to think of issues in the short term. Four years seems like a long time to me, but in terms of politics, it’s just a blip on our nation’s political history. It doesn’t help matters that climate change is fairly gradual, and it is difficult to envision long term ramifications and future problems. Although it’s definitely important to address immediate short term issues, it is vital that our politicians take a look several years down the road. Yes, they may very well be retired from the political scene, but that is not an excuse to hand future presidents a bundle of ecological problems. Failing to take action now, in terms of environmental solutions and legislation, makes future solutions even more difficult and cumbersome. It’s about inter-generational equity.

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