Environmental problems are now the number-one domestic threat to national security. What are you going to do about changing the way America lives so that in turn the whole world can move toward sustainable living? Our country needs new, stronger policies that can help deal with its exponential growth and the harmful effects of the waste and pollution generated by so many people. If you base decisions about our country purely on how well the current job market or economy is doing and how good life is for people now, then you either have a horrible misunderstanding about how important these issues are or you have a complete disregard for future generations of the United States and the world.

Every day I learn more and more about how our once healthy environment is fading away because of us. Every day I see the trash, the sewage, the pollution and the loss of natural foliage and wildlife. Every time a new president takes office I cross my fingers and hope God sent this person with the realization that nothing else matters if our future generations are not able to survive on this earth because we have scarred it beyond recovery. We need to move toward sustainable living now, before destruction much greater than 9/11 wipes out this country we call home. Any president who steps into office and decides to disregard the multitudes of warnings and data about this is choosing to commit the worst terrorist act of all.

Why don’t you require all car manufacturers to switch to hybrid or electric cars? The hydrogen fuel cells in cars are years away and the hydrogen would have to be made using the existing power grid – which is dominantly fossil fuel-driven, thus defeating the whole purpose. We need to focus on what we can do now. Why don’t you require all new homes and industry to be built with solar panels to save energy? What about using our vast desert lands near the grids for solar power plants?

When people ask me who I’m going to vote for on Nov. 2, I say that I still don’t know. What I do know is that I want to vote for someone who cares about protecting the land that gives us everything we have: food, water, clothing, recreation, history, life. I want to vote for a president who will fight the battle that is not only for America and the people in Iraq, but for the whole world and its future. I have distributed this letter across UCSB. Seventeen thousand students are waiting for a reply. Who should we vote for on Election Day?

Vanessa Rivers is a senior psychology major.