19 September 2010

The Environmental Ballot

When I first changed the focus of this blog to environmental issues, I said I wanted to emphasize giving people the chance to act in environmentally friendly ways regardless of what their elected officials did. The focus would be on everyday activities, not on political involvement.

However, the political process has important environmental ramifications, and those of us who would like to see society improve its relationship with the environment often want to know which candidates will be environmentally friendly. Figuring this out isn't always easy given that many candidates throw around the word green and it is not always obvious whether a certain policy or legislative vote really helps the environment.

As election time approaches, if you are looking for an information source that helps you translate your desire for a better environment into votes, check out the following resources. The League of Conservation Voters provides a scorecard that lets you see how current US senators and representatives stack up on environmental issues. You can view the scorecard here. The LCV also offers endorsements of candidates that have been environmental champions. Check in on the endorsements here. In the past, the LCV has both endorsed Republicans (for example, Senator Susan Collins of Maine) and put Democrats (Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas) on its Dirty Dozen, which is a list of lawmakers that have consistently supported environmentally harmful legislation. However, since Republicans in general have not made environmental protections part of their platform, it makes sense that the LCV backs few of them.

For voters in Washington state, the LCV's state affiliate, Washington Conservation Voters, also offers a scorecard and endorsements. By doing so, the WCV gives Washington voters an extra layer of political insight. You can use it to evaluate candidates for the state legislature, governor, the state supreme court, and the US Senate as well as proposed statewide initiatives and referenda.

Having environmentally friendly policy and policy makers makes it easier to live greener lives, so if you are wondering how candidates rate with regard to the environment, check out these resources.

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