George Bush: Environmental? or "Johnny Come Lately"?
On Friday, June 1, George Bush stunned many people when he said of global warming, “The United States takes this issue seriously”. While this statement from the commander-in-chief is encouraging, ultimately they are just words, and it’s going to take a lot more than that to impress mother earth and those who who like to refer to themselves as environmentalists.
The U.S. has a very odd record on environmentalism. One interesting fact is that the U.S. was an integral party in negotiating the Kyoto Treaty and is a signatory country, yet it remains one of the only industrialized nations unwilling to even submit the treaty for ratification by the Senate. It’s sorta like hosting your friends bachelor party but refusing to make a toast and then leaving before the more sullied activities begin.
The question with this particular climate change summit is whether George Bush is really serious about getting results. With the war in Iraq, the loss of Republican control in house and senate in ’06 and dwindling public support for the Bush/Cheney administration, one has to wonder if this call for a summit is a last-ditch effort to try and gain political capital and eke out a positive legacy. There is also a very interesting connection between environmentalism and the splintering of the evangelical movement in America. We all know that the 2000 and 2004 elections were swung in favor of the Republicans because of all the outreach to the faith-based community. Now that Jerry Falwell has passed away, there is a void left in the leadership of the evangelical community. There are some parts of this community that are embracing some of the ideals of the environmental movement because they see connections between the preservation of life and the respect for living beings that Jesus speaks about in the Bible. By making it appear that the Republican administration is working towards these environmental goals, this climate change summit may be a veiled attempt to shore together the evangelical community.
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