If I were the Earth itself, I’d probably be pretty angry at people in general, regardless of their rank, and give just about everyone an F. After all, we have the means to stop using carbon altogether and go back to the way we lived in prehistoric times, and I’m sure that’s what the environment, if it were cognizant, would be rooting for.
However, since I’m a person, I know that Obama has a limit to what he can do immediately. He doesn’t make the laws–that’s Congress–and he doesn’t enforce the laws–that’s the judicial system. Certainly he has quite a bit of power, but he is a speaker for we, the people, and he’s only authorized to do what we tell him to. And a staggering 40% of Americans don’t believe anything scientists say about global warming. Even as Obama headed out to Copenhagen to encourage the world to face greenhouse gases head-on, less than two thirds of people at home (and the number was falling) wanted the federal government to regulate greenhouse gas emissions!
I think Obama gets a lot of blame, when he’s actually just doing his job: acting as the American people dictate. We can’t decide if global warming is really a priority for us, so he can’t make any drastic actions. If we convince the people of what needs to be done, our democratic leader will have no choice but to follow along.
With regards to the environment, there are a lot of things to consider when looking at progress. Firstly, there are different levels in which people participate. Individuals, communities, state governments, and federal governments are play important and different roles. Moreover, there are things that are long term and things that are short term. Another problem with trying to assign a grade is that it is hard to quantify every eco friendly act. That is, it is hard to say what act is more effective or less effective than another.
I would say Obama has done a great deal to raise awareness, and played a key role in the Copenhagen talks. With so many people needed to cooperate, it is an adequate beginning of a long process.
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