Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

ECOVIEWS: Include Politicians in Environmental Resolutions

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

ECOVIEWS: Include Politicians in Environmental Resolutions

Article excerpt

Everyone should start the New Year with environmental resolutions to complement the usual ones of losing weight, exercising more and vowing never to watch another negative political advertisement. Last year I suggested that students be the focus of our pledge, with the goal being to get someone who is in school, from kindergarten to college, to complete a checklist of six environmental resolutions. This year appears to be a good one to focus on another group, political candidates and incumbents.

I recommend that we each resolve to pick out someone who holds or hopes to hold a political office and send them an email, a comment via their website or by an old-fashioned letter. My congressman's site says, "Regrettably, I am unable to reply to any email from constituents outside of the district." Make sure you are sending the communication to someone you could actually vote for (or against). Your message could read something like this:

As a voter in upcoming elections, I would appreciate your considering the following simple checklist of environmental resolutions in addition to whatever resolutions you have already made for this year. Our natural habitats and the native wildlife they support are important to me and my family, and as you are representing us, please consider these suggestions. Two are what any citizen should resolve to do this year. Two are ones in which you can have direct influence through your political office.

1. Do whatever you can to provide support for our National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuge System. Our national parks, seashores and wildlife refuges are vital not only for preserving critical components of our natural systems but also for providing endless opportunities for citizens to learn about our native wildlife and appreciate what we have. Encourage others to visit these protected sites by assuring that they are well-managed ecologically from a conservation perspective and have well-maintained facilities open to the public. A commitment to fund these programs should be made by elected officials in all regions.

2. Do what many of your constituents do as parents, grandparents, teachers or just everyday citizens: Encourage a child to join you on a trip to visit a natural history museum, nature center, zoo or public aquarium. …

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