Bernie Sanders Must Read EdenKeeper

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Vermont senator Bernie Sanders must read EdenKeeper. At last night’s democratic presidential debate he referenced Pope Francis’s environmental encyclical when asked how he would tackle climate change and acknowledged that climate action is a “moral issue.” His answer stood in stark contrast to other presidential candidates who talked about a green energy revolution and encouraging foreign countries to do more.

It’s wonderful the connection between morality and climate action is finally making it into mainstream political discussion. Sanders, who is Jewish, has stressed basic values throughout his campaign on issues ranging from inequality to the environment and that’s resonated with both progressives and conservatives. The San Francisco Chronicle actually described him as a “revivalist preacher” shouting and waving his arms.

In September, he was brave enough to bring his message to Liberty University, a leading evangelical Christian college, where he attempted to build common ground with the students.

“I am far, far from a perfect human being, but I am motivated by a vision which exists in all of the great religions — in Christianity, in Judaism, in Islam, Buddhism and other religions — and which is so beautifully and clearly stated in Matthew 7:12,” Sanders told the crowd. “And it states: ‘So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the law and the prophets.’ That is the golden rule. Do to others what you have them do to you.”

The golden rule, also referenced by Pope Francis during his address to Congress last month, is applicable to environmental protection; don’t pollute someone’s water, if you want to drink clean water yourself. Environmental morality recognizes there are limited resources on Earth and we can love and respect others by not taking too many of those resources for ourselves — basically, don’t be selfish.

Government regulation is certainly necessary to protect the environment and it was much more gratifying to hear democratic presidential candidates announce plans for climate action instead of denying climate science. But switching to another source of energy or relying on other countries to cut emissions is not the answer. Unfortunately, these easy answers perpetuate a delusion that we must be forced to respect others.

Ultimately, the decision to consume less and live mindfully is a personal one. The world needs a leader to remind us of this fact and guide us through example.

Could Sanders be this leader?

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About the Author

I'm an organic-eating, energy-saving naturalist who composts and tree hugs in her spare time. I have a background in environmental law, lobbying, and field work. I believe in God; however, I do not call myself a Christian or a Jew or a member of any religion. I am merely someone who finds a spiritual connection to all humans and the environment. You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .