Public dissatisfaction with the Republican and Democratic party candidates for president is widespread. The approval ratings for the candidates are at historic lows, and voters interested in a discussion of substantive issues frequently hear only an exchange of personal attacks. The public remains jaded, and the media which benefits from highlighting colorful personalities and shrill discourse is unable or unwilling to refocus the dialogue.
In this context, the scant attention given to environmental issues during the presidential race is understandable. But it is also regrettable. According to President Obama, climate change is the greatest long-term threat facing the world. Similarly, Pope Francis has characterized protecting “our common home” as a moral imperative. He supports sustainable use of natural resources, protection of the planet’s diverse species, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and control of toxic emissions and discharges that disproportionately burden the poor. Although people may disagree with the solutions offered, the importance of the issues raised by these world leaders is beyond dispute.
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