By some estimates, Indiana has been the hardest hit state by the 2012 drought, but you would not know it by listening Republican Richard Mourdock or Democrat Joe Donnelly.
They are the front runners to become the next Senator from Indiana. Unfortunately, both have been stunningly quiet when it comes to the causes and meaning of the 2012 drought, perhaps the worst natural disaster to ever threaten the state.
Rain during the last few weeks have allowed Indiana to go from being in an exceptional and extreme drought zone to merely a severe one, but the damage has been done. It was miserable this summer in the Hoosier state. Way too hot and way too dry, served up with dire warnings of "fireweather." Nearly every major Indiana City broke or tied records for the hottest day on record and Terre Haute set at an all-time state record at 108°F. July was the hottest month on record in Indiana and June was the driest. It gets worse. The Union of Concerned Scientists have painted an even bleaker picture for Indiana over the next century if nothing is done to combat greenhouse emissions. The 2012 drought might just be the beginning.
Solutions to this crisis are going to take both international cooperation and responsible leadership from our elected officials, but, so far, the Indiana 2012 Senate race has been almost as depressing as the drought. Instead of solutions or showing political will to combat climate change, tea-party activist/Republican frontrunner Richard Mourdock has called man-made climate change "the greatest hoax of all time." When asked by a reporter recently if he saw a link between Indiana's burned-up corn crop, which is the worst in seventy five year, the Republican said that he did not.
While Mourdock rejects both science and what his own eyes and heart should be telling him, the Democrat in the race, Mr. Donnelly, is reluctant to share his views that "climate change is real and should be addressed as part of a comprehensive reform of our nation's energy policy." In fact, last week, he toured Indiana's coal belt with Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat who once infamously fired a bullet through a printed-out copy of climate change legislation.
That being said, Donnelly, who is endorsed by the Global Solutions Action Network, is the better candidate for those who want responsible and cooperative foreign policy, an approach that will be key in reducing global greenhouse emissions. But a recent poll showed that over 60% of Americans believe that climate change is real and is a problem, which would indicate that even in carbon-dependent Indiana, a majority of Hoosiers are worried. This poll was taken before this awful summer of drought and crop failure and it seems like voters would want somebody to at least mention this elephant in the room.
As Election Day approaches, let's send a strong message that voters want to hear more about the candidates' plan to reduce the threat of climate change. One way to do that is to make sure you sign the GlobalSolutions.org action alert to Romney's and Obama's advisors that climate change needs to be a key issue of the 2012 Presidential Election.
And, if you live in Indiana, let's make sure climate change a main issue in the Senate election.