Subscribe for 33¢ / day

I hope you are as concerned about the environment, climate change and imperiled natural resources in Wisconsin and beyond as I am.

Are you staying informed about regional, national and world environmental issues in the news?

Larry Sleznikow mug

Larry Sleznikow is a board member of Coulee Partners for Sustainability and co-leader of La Crosse Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

Do you worry that the realities of climate change are being denied or ignored by many legislators and government officials, or at least pushed down their list of priorities? Do you feel that you are doing what you can as an individual or a family to make a difference? One more question. Do you vote in every election, both large and small?

There is so much information available about how we can each make a difference to be more sustainable and help “save the environment.”

We can recycle. Purchasing our food from local sources helps our regional economy and reduces food transportation costs. We can walk, ride a bike or take public transportation to work, school and around town. If you need to drive, use a fuel-efficient, hybrid or electric vehicle. Being very energy conscious is a big one. Turn off lights when not needed and switch those incandescent light bulbs to energy-efficient LED lights. Carefully monitor and regulate your home or apartment thermostat for both heating and cooling. A recent movement in the news is reducing plastic pollution by not using throwaway plastic straws and disposable cups. These are just a few of the many ways to have a personal impact while reducing our carbon footprint.

I want to return to this question. Do you vote in every election, both large and small?

During a recent webinar, I learned about the non-partisan, non-profit Environmental Voter Project from its founder and executive director, Nathaniel Stinnett.

It was an eye-opening experience for me. Stinnett said that if you vote it is public information, but who or what you vote for is not. So politicians looking to be re-elected and those hoping to be elected for the first time use this information to target likely voters during their campaigns.

Several polls, including one by the Pew Research Center, showed that the top issues for registered and likely voters during the 2016 presidential election had climate change and the environment way down the list behind national security, the economy, immigration, gun rights and other issues. With data like this, why would most legislators, government officials or candidates running for office make the environment a priority? To them, polls say voters don’t want to hear about the environment.

The Environmental Voter Project understands that campaigns only target and poll likely voters. If voters are not indicating they want leadership on environmental issues including climate change, politicians will not rise to those challenges. This is bad news for the environment.

According to its website, EVP “uses big-data analytics to identify inactive environmentalists and then applies cutting-edge behavioral science to turn them into more consistent voters.” Their data shows that more than 15 million identified environmentalists did not vote in the 2014 election. That’s a big block of voters who have the environment as a top concern. EVP does not need to change their minds about the environment. It is already a high priority for them.

EVP does not endorse any candidates. Its mission is to use canvassing, calls, texts, mail, digital outreach and an online voter pledge to persuade non-voting environmentalists to vote. Hopefully once they do start voting they will continue to vote consistently. Then they will be on the list of likely voters whose concerns politicians pay attention to. While currently only active in five states, EVP looks to expand its efforts as funding and resources permit.

Each of us needs to be responsible for what we do to reduce our impact on the earth, its natural resources and the other living things that share this planet with us.

Voting amplifies our voice and along with other like-minded voters, becomes a shout that politicians will hear, pay attention to and act upon. We desperately need positive action by all levels of government to address climate change and environmental degradation. Resulting legislation should be bipartisan and well thought out using the best scientific information available. Denying or ignoring problems is not an option future generations can afford.

So if climate change and environmental issues are top priorities for you, take the time to identify candidates who share your concerns and vote in all elections — local, state and national. Let’s send a collective message politicians cannot ignore.

6
0
0
0
0

(29) comments

JanetteDean

Excellent column and advice! I am definitely concerned about the environment and a diligent #ClimateVoter.

Buggs Raplin

I'd like to point out I don"t read oldhomey's comments. He's a liar, an obfuscator, and someone I will not respond to any more after dealing with his bullsh*t for more two years. I'll continue to comment on the truth; old homey will continue to deny that truth. He is the defender of the necessary illusions promulgated by the fake news propaganda media and their faux historians. Case closed.

Cassandra2

To paraphrase, Chippy will continue to steadfastly defend his belligerent ignorance and deny any facts placed before him that don't comport with his paranoid worldview. Case closed.

oldhomey

I see, Buggs. Your 2:14pm post indicates that you read my 8:23pm post from the night before, and since you have no answer for it, you forswear ever reading any more of my posts that so inconveniently point out his lies. Case closed. Completely, thoroughly understood.

oldhomey

I would like to point out that Buggs won't respond to my 7:53pm comment because he has no credible answer to it. He misrepresented the "source" he cited, which amounts to one more lie in the repetition of lies that he supplies to these comment boards. I am mot claiming "victory", I am simply pointing out that Buggs is a habitual liar, much like the man he supports in the White House these days.

Buggs Raplin

Fear is the great motivator. That's why Christianity and Islam use it to keep to keep their adherents in line. It's being used nowadays to keep the gullibles on human-caused global warming in line. But as the WSJ article points out all the fear-mongering predictions haven't amounted to a thing. It's all a hoax to generate a carbon tax, and liberals are too stupid to realize it.

oldhomey

Buggs, I may be boring to your mind, but to me you are simply tiresome. I looked up this WSJ "article" that you are citing. As I suspected, it is not an article at all. It is an op-ed piece authored by two guys from the Cato Institute. What is the Cato Institute? It is a so-called "think tank" founded by the Koch brothers. What is its view on global warming? Since the Koch family fortune is based on mining and selling fossil fuels, what would you think it is? The day this op-ed piece appeared, stories appeared all over the media about global warming 30 years after James Hansen's Congressional testimony on the subject. They conveyed a far different picture than this WSJ op-ed piece. Why don't you at least try to be a little more honest, Buggs? It would go a long way in improving your tattered image.

Buggs Raplin

The Wall St. Journal recently had an article on all the dire forecasts of the global warming crowd during the last 30 years. None of them has come close to happening. None of them.

oldhomey

Buggs, what the devil are you doing,referring to and believing a mainstream media publication? Oh, I forgot, it is owned by Rupert Murdoch. Perhaps you could now tell us, was this a news story by a staffer of the Wall Street Journal? Or was it an opinion piece printed by the WSJ? And then perhaps you could elucidate a bit. Did the piece accurately present mainstream scientific projections from the past 30 years, or did it just gather sundry bits of scattered opinion from the last 30 years? Saying any old published opinion carries the same weight as mainstream scientific evidence would be akin to saying a video of a crazed woman wandering in the halls of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas after the concert shootings blocks away was proof that the Bellagio Hotel, too, was shot up by terrorists. Know your sources before you draw conclusions, Buggs.

Redwall

Yes, there was a similar article in WSJ about the ozone layer not recovering as expected after 30 years of human efforts to reverse supposed human caused damage to the ozone layer.

The best defense the "climate scientists" could come up with was really remarkably and refreshingly honest...that their models were off due to some unidentified variables not accounted for.

If only the climate change worshipers could be so honest...but there is too much money at stake and too much political equity at risk.

oldhomey

Redwall, are you familiar with the scientific method? Apparently not. It is axiomatic that you acknowledge your errors as soon as they are discovered, you learn from them, and you progress.

On the other hand, I am not familiar with the WSJ ozone hole story that you refer to. Again, is this a staff-written news story that you are referring to, or is it an opinion piece? The Journal is an awfully good newspaper owned by an awful man, Rupert Murdoch, who knows he can not fiddle too much with the news side of the WSJ, but he can squirt in some pretty awful opinion pieces that simply suck up to his extremist right-wing views on everything, including climate change.

As for the ozone hole, this is what NASA is reporting, and it is reporting that the ozone hole is shrinking:

Measurements show that the decline in chlorine, resulting from an international ban on chlorine-containing manmade chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), has resulted in about 20 percent less ozone depletion during the Antarctic winter than there was in 2005 — the first year that measurements of chlorine and ozone during the Antarctic winter were made by NASA’s Aura satellite.

“We see very clearly that chlorine from CFCs is going down in the ozone hole, and that less ozone depletion is occurring because of it,” said lead author Susan Strahan, an atmospheric scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

"CFCs are long-lived chemical compounds that eventually rise into the stratosphere, where they are broken apart by the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation, releasing chlorine atoms that go on to destroy ozone molecules. Stratospheric ozone protects life on the planet by absorbing potentially harmful ultraviolet radiation that can cause skin cancer and cataracts, suppress immune systems and damage plant life.

"Two years after the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole in 1985, nations of the world signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which regulated ozone-depleting compounds. Later amendments to the Montreal Protocol completely phased out production of CFCs.

"Past studies have used statistical analyses of changes in the ozone hole’s size to argue that ozone depletion is decreasing. This study is the first to use measurements of the chemical composition inside the ozone hole to confirm that not only is ozone depletion decreasing, but that the decrease is caused by the decline in CFCs.

"The study was published Jan. 4 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters."

My apologies to Buggs for the length of this, but I know he and Redwall are interested in the truth and verifiable facts, so I am providing this for their edification.

Redwall

Wow, thats quite the cut and paste effort there.

Nothing in your article has anything directly to do with the scientific method so not sure why you brought that up. But more to the point, the quote you offered seems to say not that the ozone hole is shrinking but that ozone depletion is decreasing...in other words the problem is growing at a slower rate. That might be an important distinction. Next time, try to stay awake long enough to read all the way to the end of your mega cut and paste.

oldhomey

Well, I told you, Red, I was not aware of the WSJ story" that you cited. As I tried to imply, I am betting dollars to doughnuts that it was not a news story, but an opinion piece. Not knowing what "facts" the piece used to reach its conclusion, I did not try to discredit them, but instead gave you the benefit of the doubt that you were portraying the contents of the piece accurately. In that contest, you said "The best defense the 'climate scientists' could come up with was really remarkably and refreshingly honest...that their models were off due to some unidentified variables not accounted for." My point is that scientists in the course of doing their work are always self-correcting openly and publicly when they discover earlier conclusions they have made were based on faulty data. That is the scientific method. Learning by accretion, including your mistakes. It takes very little time to cut and paste accurate information. It is telling that you think it a long and laborious effort.

Cassandra2

Redwall, please provide a link to that article. Everything I've read over the last several decades pointed to a slow recovery of the ozone layer after the ban on CFCs. Recently I read that the hole was growing again and China is suspected of violating the ban on the ozone-depleting chemicals. So please provide a link to support your statement.

oldhomey

Red won't answer because you caught him lying and he has nothing credible to say in his own defense, Cassie. Some surprise, huh?

Cassandra2

I'd really like Redwall to provide this link, because when I do a search on the WSJ site for "ozone layer" a total of ZERO articles come up. "Ozone hole" = zero hits. "Ozone" = 8 hits, none of which provide any of the information Redwall claims. So, please, Redwall, enlighten us as to where you got the information. Or was it from the "alternative" Wall Street Journal?

Redwall

the article was published about two months ago...do you own research

oldhomey

I suspect we won't hear back from Redwall on this. He is hiding in the weeds with Buggs, waiting for this column and his comments to age out, hoping we will forget we caught him with his pants down again.

Cassandra2

The article doesn't exist. It appears nowhere on a search of WSJ. Redwall is lying and refuses to back up his ridiculous claims.

Cassandra2

Is the WSJ part of the MSM that you routinely deride as "fake news"? I find it amusing that you approve of it when it suits your purpose. It really underlines your utter hypocrisy, Chippy.

oldhomey

I think the international Elitist cabal to force Communism and One World Government on La Crosse ordered their appointed propagandists running the La Crosse Tribune to not use your comment on this column Buggs, because it is just too darn close to the truth for them. My handlers at the CIA will fire me if they find out I was warning you about this, but I admire you.

Redwall

the author listed specific things we can all do to defeat global warming...all grass roots kind of stuff.

Thats not enough...he wants our votes for liberal candidates to further the progressive agenda. No word on what he specifically expects from those progressive candidates however.

oldhomey

I think the international Elitist cabal to force Communism and One World Government on La Crosse ordered their appointed propagandists running the La Crosse Tribune to not use your comment on this column Buggs, because it is just too darn close to the truth for them. My handlers at the CIA will fire me if they find out I was warning you about this, but I admire you.

Buggs Raplin

I made a comment about an hour ago, and it hasn't been posted. Well, try, try again. I will not vote for any candidate espousing human-caused climate change. It's an unproven theory based on scientists who have omitted or tampered with the data. It's a faith-based religion using scare tactics to try to convince people that humans have the ability to change the climate. There is absolutely no proof of that. None, Zip. Zero.

Cassandra2

The local Bishop of the Cult of Exxon has spoken! Chippy is so smart, he's now able to circumvent the Evil Overlords (TM) of the Tribune who are engaged in a plot to deprive him of his "right to comment". Now that he's broken through their defenses, he'll spout more of his fact-free gibberish before retiring to his growhouse for his nightly doobie chocking and martini swilling.

Buggs Raplin

Thanks for the inspiration, Larry. It re-enforces my determination to never vote for anyone believing humans have the ability to change the climate. Any candidate espousing such nonsense is a fool, and we already have too many fools in office. Most of them are Democrats.

Cassandra2

Is THIS ^^^ the comment that you claim the Tribune refused to post, Chippy?

oldhomey

Electrifying, isn't it, Cassie? No WONDER the Elitists-who-are-about-to-take-over-the-world-with-their-insidious-plans-for-a-Communist-one-world-government-society-dedicated-only-to-making-them-rich-while-the-rest-of-us-live-in-slavery ordered their minions at the La Crosse Tribune to temporarily hold up the posting of Bugg's illuminating comment, which threatens to thwart ALL their nefarious plans!

Cassandra2

No, it's just another example of Chippy's galloping paranoia.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Thanks for reading. Subscribe or log in to continue.