Ask Renee: Which political candidates care about the environment? 

Voting with a green conscience

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Is there information available about which political candidates are committed to protecting the environment?



This is a huge topic that could warrant multiple emails, but I’ll do my best to sum up a few resources I rely on.

The Carmel Green Initiative is screening Merchants of Doubt on Wednesday, September 21, 6:30-8:30pm, at the Carmel Clay Library. During the program, they will be emphasizing voting for candidates who do not deny climate science.

I typically turn to the Sierra Club as a resource for environmental champions at all levels of government. Currently, you can find their #ClimateVoter candidate of choice for president. Unfortunately, no endorsements are yet offered for Indiana’s House or Senate candidates, but you can check the web page and the local chapter’s web page periodically for updates.

I asked Jesse Kharbanda, Executive Director of Hoosier Environmental Council, for his input on learning which political candidates are climate and environment advocates. He says:

“Elected officials, and aspiring elected officials, are increasingly coming to recognize just how much a community's quality of life helps set that area apart from others in the quest to retain and attract talent.  But when the rubber meets the road, many candidates for office are reluctant to state how they'll help their communities achieve greater levels of quality of life.  Ask candidates, assertively but politely, whether they would support increased funding for Indiana's environmental agency (IDEM), a reallocation of more transportation dollars towards mass transit, bike trails, and walkways instead of new/expanded roads, the strengthening of the ability of Hoosier homes and businesses to generate their own clean, sustainable energy, and the ending of aggressive logging of Indiana's state forests.   Citizens have a special responsibility to find out the environmental views of candidates because so often the environment gets overlooked by the media and in candidate forums.  How much we succeed as a state depends entirely on the degree of thoughtful citizen engagement!”

Jesse recommends ballotpedia as a resource for finding background information on candidates. I found this very interesting summary of where the 2016 presidential candidates stand on energy and environmental policy:

 Hillary Clinton has pledged to power at least half of the nation's energy needs with renewable sources by 2030 and supports investment in clean renewable energy over fracking. She supports the Paris Agreement to combat climate change and opposes the Keystone XL pipeline and drilling in the Arctic.

 Donald Trump supports rescinding the Climate Action Plan and Waters of the U.S. rule, renewing the Keystone XL Pipeline project, canceling the Paris Climate Agreement, and reforming the regulatory environment. Trump claims global warming is a “hoax.”

 Jill Stein is a strong advocate for a green economy and clean renewable energy and has described climate change as an "all-out climate emergency." Stein has also called for federal investment in water infrastructure.

 Gary Johnson believes the federal government should leave energy development to the marketplace and supports environmental regulation that protects Americans from polluters. Johnson believes that humans are the cause of climate change, but opposes caps on carbon emissions.

Thank you for considering the environment with your vote!

Piece out,

P.S. Thank you to all who acted on and shared Saving Indianapolis’ 300-year-old forest. There will be a public meeting on the subject on Wednesday, September 14, 6-8pm, at the Martin Luther King Community Center, 40 W. 40th St. Veterans, ecologists, and elected officials have been invited to speak briefly on their perspective on this project.


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Renee Sweany

Renee Sweany

Renee has spent the past several years surrounding herself with like-minded people who share her passion for caring for the planet. She began writing “Ask Renee” after four years of offering green tips through her e-newsletter Green Piece Indy. E-mail her your green living queries at

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