There are many propositions on the ballot in California this year. But one proposition in particular really irritates the hell out of me.
Proposition 23 is attempting to repeal California’s air pollution and clean energy law, Assembly Bill 32. California has been a leader in environmental justice – the passing of AB 32 in 2006 made California the first state in the nation to place a cap on global climate change pollution for the state’s biggest polluters. Assembly Bill 32 has already led to significant reductions in air pollution, but this new proposition would destroy these basic energy and pollution standards, result in more air pollution (do we really need more of that?) and increase public health risks: doctors frequently cite air pollution as being among the top reasons for increasing numbers of asthma and lung disease.
How did this ridiculous proposition manage to get on the ballot? Oh right . . . because 88% of its funds are supplied by major Texas oil companies, Valero and Tesoro being the largest two contributors. Why would these companies do that? Because they want to keep polluting, of course. They don’t care about the ill effects the proposition is going to have on the people and the environment.
Supporters of Prop 23 say it is about jobs. The language of the proposition states that AB 32 would be suspended only until unemployment falls to 5.5% for a full year. Well, guess what? California hasn’t seen numbers like that in over thirty years. As of July 2010, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rates are currently at 12.8% , and they aren’t getting much better.
Now, let’s think. What is one of the most rapidly expanding fields in the state, and in the nation? It’s clean technology and green jobs! There are currently over 500,000 jobs in this industry – and the numbers are growing every day. If proposition 23 passes, it will kill clean technology jobs. Loss of jobs leads to higher unemployment. Higher unemployment leads to a failing economy. A failing economy leads to the Dark Side of the Force. . . Well, you see what I mean.
So, there are the facts. Proposition 23 is damaging to people, destructive to the environment, and detrimental to the economy. Please join me in voting NO on Proposition 23 this November. The environment and the people of California will thank you for moving us forward into a greener, healthier future – not backwards as the oil companies would have us do.
Now that you’ve heard about how you can help the environment on a state level, come to the Earth Corps Campaign Kick-off and hear about what you can do for your campus. We’ll be meeting on Wednesday, October 20th at 6 pm in the Faculty-Staff Lounge, adjacent to the Tea Shop. Pizza will be served! We’ll be addressing climate change through expanding compost in the dorms, and reducing personal energy consumption on campus.
President of Mills College Earth Corps