You might not know we reelected a president last week from reading this site. We try to stick to gardening politics.
But presidents do have an effect on environmental policies, conservation, farming and—eventually—gardening. A few years back I posted about the ten greenest presidents in U.S, history, according to this site. Back then, the best recent environmental record was owned by Bill Clinton. It still is. Clinton created 17 new national monuments (4.6 million acres of preservation), extended protections for wetlands and old-growth forests, and banned off-shore drilling. His record isn’t perfect, but it’s better than Obama’s, whose last grade from the Center from Biological Diversity was C-. Although the president has shown leadership on greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency, he’s also allowed fossil fuel extraction to increase during his tenure. Treehugger reluctantly endorsed him—how could they do otherwise, given the alternative?
So over the next four years, it will be interesting to see how the Obama 2.0 administration addresses the following concerns:
GMOs: California’s Proposition 37, which would have mandated the labeling of genetically modified food, was defeated, but awareness was raised. Many of our readers feel the recent studies debunking organics may have been released to help defeat 37. What type of policies about GMOs will emerge at a national level, now that the profile has been raised?
Climate change: Although it was not discussed during the campaign, in his acceptance speech, the president said he’d fight to make sure the nation “isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.” We’ll see.
Pesticides: Although studies proliferate on the effects of various pesticides on all animals, including bees and humans, spraying is still the norm in Big Ag world.
It’s cool that the White House has a vegetable garden and all—but the big picture stuff is still loaded with question marks.