Political candidates must support environmentalism

Dr. John Kluge; New Ulm

A recent article on the Guardian newspaper’s website reports on a study by Greenpeace and the Center for Media and Democracy detailing the support Republican presidential hopefuls are receiving from donors with fossil-fuel ties. So far, eight of 17 GOP figures have received a total of $62 million. The largest recipients have been Sen. Ted Cruz 
and former Govs. Jeb Bush and Rick 
Perry.
This month, Pope Francis will address a joint session of the U.S. Congress. His recent encyclical called on the economies of the world to abandon fossil 
fuels and switch to renewable energy sources.
Homo sapiens’ experiment in burning fossil fuels and releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and oceans has hit a wall, and only correcting our mistake will prevent the Earth from overheating. Scientists are already reporting species of animals and plants that are declining or dying off at an accelerated 
rate from habitat loss and a change of 
climate.
The pope’s encyclical reinforces the voices of many who have come before who have warned us of the danger we face. Willful blindness to the events occurring in the world will have terrible consequences.
It is always easier to go after groups like Planned Parenthood, which provides birth control and other services to women — many of whom are poor, or minorities or gay — but the pope’s message is asking people and politicians to take on the multi-million-dollar fossil fuel 
industry.
A political system dominated by money from the super-rich and corporations — including the fossil fuel industry that now control the politicians we elect — may not have much of a chance to move in an Earth-sustaining direction as long as we leave them in office.
 
This letter originally appeared in the Mankato Free Press on September 5.