By Nora Prevoznak - Associated Renewable, Inc.
The Republican and Democratic Conventions have concluded, signaling the next wave of pre-election debate and campaigning. Speeches give new resources to liberal and conservative journalists to either commend or tear apart candidates. Speeches also help motivate individuals to perform their civic role, and become educated and opinionated. There is so much negativity about the other camp’s platform and records; the polarization seems so intensified in the months leading up to election.
Have voters become so attached to party issues that they have lost sight of the direct effect politics and government has on their life? What is your relationship with government? Getting even more specific, how do environmental and energy issues personally affect your lifestyle, success and happiness? I don’t think enough people have sat down and thought about this question. Most think about our political issues in abstract terms. Start thinking about the issue that directly – and negatively or positively – affects you the most.
No, your answer shouldn’t be, “The poor polar bears in Antarctica! Why won’t anyone make a move on climate change issues? It’s embarrassing… Europe and a lot of the world have.” Nor should it be, “Look at those fools over at Solyndra. Wasted their time on green technology when there was oil and natural gas to be drilled. Government has lost its way.” Neither of these issues are actually affecting your day to day life. Yes, some of your tax dollars goes into environmental conservation and energy research and development, but it’s not knocking on your door like other issues might.
The questions people (let us concentrate in the New York/ Tri-State area) should consider are something along these lines….
Am I a home owner with sunny property who developed or may want to develop a solar PV system?
Do I work in NYC real estate, and the changes in sustainability and energy standards may affect my business?
Do I live in upstate New York and wonder how government will respond to natural gas hydraulic fracking? Will I get any residual affects like air, water, and noise pollution?
Do I live in on or near a coastal property and am worried if offshore wind turbines will affect my property value? Or do I just find its appearance unsightly?
Do I know someone (a friend or family member) who worked in the traditional fossil fuel industry? Have they lost a job?
Do I know someone (a friend or family member) who got hired in the renewable energy field?
Has my child developed asthma or any other environmental health illness?
Do I care about sustainable, organic or local farming? What do I want to feed my family? Do I find food to be too expensive?
Do I love the outdoors? Do I like to hike, take my boat out, and play Frisbee in both my local and national parks?
My home electricity bill is so high during winter and summer months? How can I reduce its costs, or how can my utility make it less expensive for its customers?
Do I work in product development and am worried about price increases of certain resources? Could that affect our company’s revenues?
Do I work for a corporation worried about future carbon pricing and taxing? Could that affect my job security and my income?
How do I get to work every day? Do I drive a gas guzzling or hybrid? Do I use public transportation, like the Long Island Railroad? Any chance I could ever walk or ride my bike?
Many fail to understand how government actually plays a role their life. If you learn what its role is, you should be better prepared to share your opinion and be confident in our political activism.
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