The entire country has been whipped in a frenzy for the past 600 days over key issues in the 2016 election, and not everybody’s voices get to be heard in such a chaotic time frame. Entire groups of people can be passed over in the frenzy, people who are passionate about issues that may not be the most controversial or even the most talked about. These issues can unfortunately take a backseat to the more inflammatory issues that constantly resurface across debates and across campaigns. One example of this is the plight of environment, science and health issues.
Some believe that even some of the candidates remain regretfully uninformed on greater scientific issues. According to Scientific American, Republican candidate Donald Trump refers to global climate change using quotation marks, indicating that he still believes climate change to be a man-made hoax. According to BBC, Trump has also vowed to cancel the Paris Climate Agreement if elected. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson has a plan to rely on the free market to develop efficient, carbon friendly technology, but Scientific American’s Naomi Oreskes wrote in 2015 that “the marketplace alone cannot solve the climate change problem because the marketplace will not put a tangible cost on carbon without government intervention.”
Environmental issues in the 2016 debate circuit were only discussed once, with energy being brought up as a topic in the third debate.
Students at Michigan State University, asked in a non-scientific survey, reported that the environment was a more important issue to them than some would think. 74 percent of MSU students interviewed reported that on a five point scale, with five being most important, they would rank environmental, science, and health issues as a four or a five. Students also cited specific issues, such as renewable energy, global climate change, and even mining reform. Of these, climate change was by far the most popular, with a whopping 39 percent saying that it was their most important science issue. Women’s health was also a popular issue, with 17 percent of the students interviewed.
Only 13 percent of students, however, reported that environmental, science, and health issues were the most important issue in the election for them. Issues that outranked these issues in importance with the students were economic issues, equality issues and education reform.