The Dems have taken back some of the power and I won't deny that I think that this is a positive move. I am hestitant - extremely hesitant - to say that this recent election is positive for environmentalists. The voters guide here in Grand Rapids did contain the word sustainability - once. Jim McKay, the Democrat running for County Drain Commissioner, was the only candidate to use the word 'sustainable' in any of the answers to the posed questions. He lost.
We have a lot of work to do. The Republicans destroyed most of the legislative gains environmentalists made from the 1970's through the 1990's. We are starting from scratch, and I fear we still have an uphill battle to fight due to the large number of conservatives still holding office.
We are starting from scratch. No new species have been added to the Endangered or Threatened species lists in the past six years - not because of bad science - because executives and managers within the Interior Department have blocked it. Mountain-top removal in Appalachia by the coal industry has decimated hundreds of thousands if not mililons of acres of forest. Oil and gas exploration on public lands reached a fever pitch last year, especially in Wyoming and Colorado. Millions of acres of roadless area are being mined, though a judge has reinstated the Roadless Area protections. There is much to be done.
Greens did not fair in this election, they generally had a poor showing statewide in Michigan and they didn't do well anywhere else either. Less than 1%. That is not a good sign.
Yes, there are reasons to be hopeful, but we must not lie back and assume that we have won anything. Now is the time for environmentalists to stand up and be heard. Now it is time to pick up the pieces. We must form new policy initiatives, we must introduce new legislation on the local, state and federal levels, and we must begin to fundraise for the next election cycle and be prepared to take even more seats locally and on the state level.
In January there will be a few more folks in Washington DC that might just listen to us. Now is the time to raise some hell. Get your ass in gear.