The theme of this year’s Earth Day celebration at Salem State University is “Elections and the Environment: What’s At Stake?”
With the conclusion of the successful climate change talks in Paris and the federal U.S. elections looming next fall, the future of the environment is at a crossroads. Global commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel use create the potential to limit increases in temperature and lessen impacts of global climate change. Concurrently, the fossil fuel industry, climate change deniers and misinformation campaigns prevent enactment of meaningful public policies and hinder constructive discussion about how to address this environmental crisis, particularly in the United States.
We believe that climate change, over-development, environmental degradation, over-consumption and over-population are challenges to survival of human civilization and non-human inhabitants. Costs of climate change include conflict, poverty, inequality, hunger and species extinctions.
Our theme looks at these issues in the context of the 2016 elections. The election of a new president and Congress will determine how effectively the United States confronts climate change and transitions away from fossil fuels to alternative renewable energy sources. The election will also decide the future of clean water laws and other environmental regulations. Wildlife face enormous threats from sustained Congressional attacks on the Endangered Species Act and the opening of national wildlife refuges to hunting and resource exploitation. Our goal is to help ensure that concerns for the environment and climate change will be on the minds of voters when they step into the voting booth in the fall.
Earth Days Week 2016 will explore and highlight the role of environmental issues in the elections and the role of the elections in deciding the future of planet Earth and its environments. The Earth Day Planning Committee invites you to participate in this year’s Earth Days events to learn, contemplate, discuss and share ideas on this theme.