Ever since those horrid attacks on LondonÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s busy streets
this past week, numerous people have strongly criticized the G8 summit for not
putting terrorism on their agenda. They feel it should have been the top
priority for the leaders of these eight nations.
Perhaps I can shed some light on why terrorism had no need
to be in the G8 summit.
We all know that the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism
have come under heavy scrutiny lately. We hear questioning and opposition of the
administrations plans everyday. These even prompted the President to address the
nation in a primetime speech a couple weeks ago. But while there is all this
criticism out there, the President and his administration strongly stand by
saying we are making excellent progress and the wars are going well. If the war
on terrorism and in Iraq is doing so good, then right wingers should have no
reason to cry because the G8 did not put it on their agenda. This would have
been counter productive and taken away from the more important issues of global
warming and poverty in Africa.
Poverty in Africa claims more lives every day than
terrorism has claimed. It is an epidemic that is growing at an alarming
proportion. The simple fact is if the leaders of the eight richest nations in
the world ignored this, they would be as guilty as the terrorists when it comes
to taking lives. The shear number of lives this poverty claims should be merit
enough to put it above terrorism on any agenda.
The most important issue if our environment. This is
something that will have an impact on every single living organism on this
planet if it is not corrected. If our environment goes, we go. This is a harsh
and brutal reality that we must all face. This greatly overshadows poverty in
Africa and makes terrorism look like nothing more than a bar room brawl gone
Since George Bush took office in 2000 he has worked
feverishly against the environment in order to protect our economy and the oil
industry. He denies this, but the facts are out there and they are alarming.
Bush has gone as far as to higher lobbyist from the petroleum industry to edit
environmental study reports in order to make them friendlier towards the
petroleum industry. He does not believe that green house emissions are caused
by man. He did pass the clear skies initiative but that was a extremely well
spun piece of legislation that did nothing more than allow polluters to dump
more toxins into our atmosphere.
Last month our Congress voted down an initiative that would
force industries to reduce emissions to the level they were in 2000, under the
clean air act. They did this on the basis that it would hurt or economy and
those businesses. That should say a lot when legislation is needed to return our
environment to the very standards that Bush overwrote for something he coined as
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œbeing betterÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â for the environment.
Bush has also rejected the Kyoto Accord, stating it would
hurt our economy. Well Mr. Ivy league college boy President, here is something
simple to chew on. The economy will not mean jack shit if we donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t have an
environment to support the people. I did not go to college, but I am educated
enough to know if our planet can not sustain life, then economies will not
exist. In other words; you need life to have thriving economies but you do not
need thriving economies to have life.
To further discredit President BushÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s reasoning behind his
blatant ignorance on the environment, I would like to take you on a trip to
Portland, Oregon. This is not a trip in the future, but is based on present day.
In 1993, Portland was the first city in our country to
adopt its own policy to deal with global warming. Instead of fearing an economic
crisis, then invoked on a new challenge, one that would be greatly rewarded.
Portland has passed laws requiring reduced emissions by its
industry. They have also initiated some other great policies to help combat
green house gasses. These include such things as building more than 750 miles of
bike trails, and offering city employeeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s bus passes to get to and from work,
and using more energy efficient means to support the townÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s infrastructure. They
have also increased incentives to people building energy efficient buildings and
given technical assistance.
Has PortlandÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s economy crumbled because of this? The answer
is no. On the contrary, Portland has experience economic growth beyond their
expectations. Green house gas emissions have also dropped below the levels in
1990. They are now experiencing a growth spurt in technological companies
devoted to saving our environment, and seeing a population boom. People enjoy it
there because the air is clean.
This provides us with a perfect example that we can survive
and even flourish while saving the very air we breathe. Numerous other cities
are now finding themselves following the path Portland has laid out and it is
working for them. ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s a sad day when our local governments show more concern
for life than our federal government does.
What the money hungry vultures of the right need to realize
is that by continuing to ignore our destabilizing environment, we are leaving a
sad legacy upon our children and grandchildren. They will not be blessed with a
future in which they can flourish and achieve great standings in life. They will
be confronted with an environment that could kill them at any second and if we
do decide to repair it, a heavy price tag to do so.
The problem overall is that the more we ignore the
environment, then the more chance we have that it will cause economic
catastrophe when we have no option but to repair it. Procrastination on
something as important as this is the same as ignoring your basic need to
breathe. It can not be done.
Until such time that we get leaders in Washington that can
understand this simple fact, we must work to clean our environment on a much
smaller level. Now is the time to start going to your local city councils and
your neighbors and try to get them to pass the same initiatives that Portland
has done. If enough cities do this, then the government will have no option but
to follow suit and we will all live a much happier and healthier life.