In some ways, the protection of the environment should be the most important issue in our lives and certainly for our future. If we don’t have a good planet to live on, well…it gets ugly in a hurry.  As for the top issues influencing your vote in the midterm elections, we noticed the environment high on your lists. NPR writes:

The environment is not typically a top issue for American voters.

But this has not been a typical year.

California saw the largest fire in state history. North Carolina was inundated by water from a massive, slow-moving storm. The Florida Panhandle is still combing through the wreckage left by Hurricane Michael, the strongest storm to hit that part of Florida in recorded history. It made landfall just days after the world’s top climate scientists issued perhaps their strongest warning yet about the threats of human-caused climate change.

If you think this is just an issue that concerns Democrats, think again. The Guardian writes that people in states like Ohio, Minnesota, and Iowa have the climate on their mind as well, especially in the farming community:

This year, crops in north-west Iowa are looking spotty. Up into Minnesota they were battered by spring storms and late planting, and then inundated again in late summer. Where they aren’t washed out, they’re weedy or punky. If you go south in Buena Vista county, where I live in Storm Lake, the corn stands tall and firm.

Welcome to climate change, Iowa-style.

It’s the least debated issue of the midterm political season. The weather is the top topic of conversation at any cooperative elevator’s coffee table, along with the markets. Everyone knows that things have been changing in sweeping ways out here on the richest corn ground in the world. It’s drought in the spring and floods in the fall – what were considered 500-year floods in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines 30 years ago are now considered 100-year floods. 

Wondering what environmental issues are actually on the ballot in various states? Marie Claire lists some here.

And here’s why fellow readers say this is such an important issue to them:

Pete deGraaf (Worcester, MA) The environment is my #1 priority because if we don’t have a planet to live on, we don’t exist.

Sherry Johnston (Mount Vernon, WA) I have been researching forests for many years now and they are the keystone species of the planet. I’m writing a paper on Easter Island that details that it really was human deforestation that led to their collapse (not rats). And now the same thing is happening to us on a global scale. If we do not immediately stop clear-cutting our forests and urban trees, and if we do not immediately focus on reestablishing these forests in our wild spaces as well as our cities and backyards (Californian transplants in Seattle and Bellingham, I’m looking at you), in 200 years, human civilization will be decimated.

Laurie Hoffman (Long Beach, CA) I am worried about the endangered species act going away or maybe the department taking away the “threatened” status. I am concerned about all human activity that negatively affects the lives of other humans (mostly the disenfranchised,) or the environment upon which we all depend. Environment first!

Susie Pebbles (Fletcher, NC) I need to know that Yellowstone Park as well as all of our wonderful national parks are still going to be preserved 100 years from now, rather than sold off to the highest bidder.

Mary McCarty (Albany, NY) The environment has to be #1, looking at the broader picture. This affects not only humanity but all species which are going extinct at an unprecedented rate.

Brian Brooks (Salem, OR) This administration has done a lot of shady stuff to the environmental departments and their regulations while attention has been focused elsewhere.

Monica Bueno (McKinleyville, CA) Climate! Climate! Climate! Did I mention climate? All of our current problems will be magnified if we do not curb emissions and plan for mitigating the impacts of projected warming. And, on the other side of that coin is the fact that many of our current problems, eg.mass migrations, cost of natural disaster response, jobs, inequality, pollution, will improve if we properly handle the climate issue.

Shelly Wisner Machell (Thousand Oaks, CA) Climate Change is an issue that needs to become immediately relevant…because now is the time to take action and if we’re all on fire, underwater, dying of heat, storms, lack of crops and thirst in a decade or two then the other issues (as relevant, important and sometimes heartbreakingly sad as they are) won’t be issues. 

Amy Detweiler (Bradenton, FL) The environment. The red tide in Florida is driving a lot of people here to the polls that normally would not vote in midterm elections.