Over the last 50 years, the politicization of environmental issues and climate change has been one of the most pronounced and clear changes in the United State’s political landscape.
It flabbergasts us today to think about Republican Richard Nixon’s creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, especially as Republicans today have a reputation in government for being the party denying consensus climate science. (See: Republican Oklahoma Congressman Jim Inhofe’s example of the “climate change hoax” being a snowball on the floor of the Senate [http://www.cbsnews.com/news/sen-jim-inhofe-climate-change-is-not-real-because-here-is-a-snowball/].)
Those in the more liberal Democratic camp in government have the opposite reputation, contributing to the massive regulatory oversight at the EPA and other government agencies which come under fire for jailing those that do not conform to regulation that often does not conform to scientific definitions or opinions. (See: Man in Oregon sentenced to jail time for collecting rain water on his own property [http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/oregon-man-sentenced-30-days-jail-collecting-rainwater-his-property].)
The continued politicization of environmental issues has one clear culprit: lobbyist and special interest groups that have a stake in keeping the environmentalist agenda off the docket of Congress and the President of the United States. By “de-politicizing” the issue, and opening it back up to bipartisan support, environmentalism driven by a science-first approach must become the norm for any progress to be achieved.
Before environmental racism can be handled in an efficient way in government, environmental policy must have its day again through bipartisan support and literacy on the issue.