For some students, environment is not critical factor in voting decisions
Environmental issues have not been spoken about often in this election, being brought up in only one debate. Some Rutgers students say there are more important issues, while others believe environmentalism deserves a more attention.
Ashwal Pondicherry, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior, said he can already see the effects on climate change, making the issue significant to him in the 2016 election.
“(Candidates) should care because it is already having profound effects on our lives. We’re experiencing longer summers and winters where crops don’t grow,” he said.
Pondicherry said climate change has a negative effect on the agricultural industry and other businesses.
“Shorter short-day seasons like fall and spring affect breeding of production animals like sheep and goats,” he said.
Climate change is also affecting the weather, he said, making natural disasters more common more brutal.
“We’re seeing harsher super-storms causing millions to billions of dollars in economic damage,” Pondicherry said.
He also said he disagrees with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s platform about leaving the Paris agreement, saying that the candidate is out of touch with reality.
It is rare that the world would come together on anything, and the fact that so many countries chose to support this agreement shows how seriously the international community is taking it, he said.
“It shows that almost every country in the world is already experiencing the early effects of global warming,” he said.
The environment provides many opportunities for job growth and building for the future, Pondicherry said.
"Overlooking the environment and taking advantage of the planet is something I can't agree with," he said. "There's a lot more living on this planet than just humans, and we have a responsibility to provide for them as much as they provide for us."
A graduate student in the School of Communication and Information Alec Blihar said the three most important things he looks for in a candidate is how important their policies are for the betterment of the country, how effectively they will operate the country, and if they can keep the country in good standing with the rest of the world, he said.
While the topic of environment may not be the most important to Blihar, he said it is important to maintain a safe and healthy environment to live in.
"Things like eminent domain are a real issue still today in our country and we should be aware of business damaging our environment," he said. "Not only eminent domain, but environment conservation and preservation is something we need to look at as well."
Blihar said there are many other things he needs to consider before stepping into the booth and casting his vote, but is keeping in mind the enviornment and sustainability.
Brandon Chesner, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student, said the government has a right to protect and maintain clean air and water, but said man-made climate change is a hoax and exaggeration.
Natural climate change does occur, but it is not always a negative, since temperature fluctuations are a natural process the Earth experiences, he said.
“Looking at historical changes, we see the planet just exited a mini ice age so global temperatures increase would be expected,” Chesner said.
He also believes environmental issues should be spoken about, but from the political and business aspect, considering the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a great hold over the economy.
Gabrielle Bekisz said there are more important issues to her than the environment.
“Obviously, the well-being of our environment is an issue but it’s one Trump doesn’t really touch on,” the School of Arts and Sciences sophomore said. “I believe it’s because he focuses more on problems such as the safety of our country, which I think should be top priority for us at this time.”
This article is part of The Daily Targum's 2016 election coverage. For a full list of articles, click here.
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Sophie Nieto-Munoz is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in journalism and media studies and Italian. She is an associate news editor for The Daily Targum. You can find her on Twitter @snietomunoz for more.