Tulsi Gabbard

Tulsi’s running.

For the 2020 Presidential Race, we are planning to profile the environmental political positions of each US candidate. We do not plan on providing any type of endorsements because we want our readers to be informed, but ultimately make decisions that best serve them. Our analysis will include a summary of (1) who they are, (2) what environmental issues they have voted for, (3) any sponsored legislation, and (4) any notable environmental endorsements. The length of each article on a given candidate will be correlated to the available content in each person’s background.

Who is Tulsi Gabbard?

From Bernie Sander’s supporters to Justice Democrats, Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) is a rising star among Progressives and, generally, well-liked in Hawaii. As a state legislator, a combat veteran, and an environmental non-profit founder, she has done a lot in just 37 years. She announced her candidacy on 11 January 2019 and, subsequently, was featured on the Van Jones Show.

Although she is in a different tier than Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris when it comes to being a house-hold name, her vibrant persona could sway the younger base of the Democratic party to vote for her. It is our assumption, Gabbard will be influenced by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) or receive some type of endorsement from his camp, given her decision to resign as Vice Chair of the Democrat National Committee in the 2016 election cycle. This high-profile exodus raised her profile to greater national prominence

Voting Record On The Environment

From 2013 to 2017, Rep. Gabbard (HI-02) has voted in favor of pro-environmental policies 165 times in her last three terms. The data is provided from the League Of Conservation Voters and is only recent until 2017. Further, in only 6 instances did Representative Tulsi Gabbard vote against any type of bill when she was serving in the House. The following legislation pieces were voted as “Nay” votes by Rep. Gabbard in 2017: (1) Attacking Wilderness in the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, (2) Undermining Flood Insurance Reform, and (3) Flood Insurance Reform. We encourage our readers to read the text of the legislation and not merely the titles.

Environmental Legislation Sponsored by Tulsi Gabbard

On her campaign website, her team listed both H.R. 4811 (114th) and H.Res. 540 (114th) as her two greatest accomplishments in the environmental field. Rep. Gabbard was either a sponsor or a co-sponsor of the legislation. For reference, H.R. 4811 is now referred as the “Coral Reef Sustainability Through Innovation Act of 2016” and is an amendment to the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000. Essentially, the amendment allows for awards to be given out to stimulate innovation and references the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 on various methodology to best protect the coral reefs.

As a Representative from Hawaii, the legislation she sponsored coincides with the tourism industry. Tourism is the largest attraction in the Hawaii economy and this bill would be closer to an incremental change that is built off of previous house resolutions. This does not mean that this action is inconsistent with Progressive ideology (a political thought that generally favors broad-sweeping legislation like the New Deal under FDR), but not necessarily monumental change.

Who Has Endorsed Representative Tulsi Gabbard?

The three greatest endorsements that Rep. Gabbard (HI-02) has received are from the following organizations: the (1) Sierra Club, the (2) League of Conservation Voters, and the (3) Ocean Champions.

We hoped you liked our informational analysis of Rep. Gabbard. As the campaign progresses, please check back often to learn more about Rep. Gabbard and other candidates!

Space Junk

From GPS to Dish TV, Satellites are used in everyday life.

Space junk is a growing concern in the aerospace industry, but this environmental challenge is not as widely publicized as the future effects would warrant it to be. In 2013, NASA claimed they were tracking more than 500,000 pieces of space junk orbiting our planet, and can only track objects down to the size of a couple centimeters across. Debris ranges from the size of paint flecks only fractions of a millimeter wide to large spent rocket bodies that orbit uncontrollably around the Earth.

This junk is traveling at enormous speeds of approximately 17,500 miles per hour! That’s fast! At these speeds even small pieces such paint flecks or bolts can do a considerable amount of damage.

Devin Saunders, Chief Writer Covering Space, Engineering & National Security

Why is this such a problem? While there are many problems, Kessler Syndrome is a massive one. Basically, even a small piece of debris because of its high speed could incapacitate a satellite during a collision. Since collisions cause increasingly more debris, exponential growth occurs until the orbital altitude is unusable. This would make it impossible to put satellites into debris-filled orbits and it  is dangerous to attempt to launch satellites into higher orbits.

While the Department of Defense and other space agencies are advancing how to track debris, there is still no feasible way to remove the junk from Earth’s orbit. The only option is waiting for them to fall back into the atmosphere, but this takes months for even large pieces of debris in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and can be on the order of centuries for objects in Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO).

This means that every satellite, rocket, or space shuttle part we send into Space must be carefully planned. Not just by the United States, but also among all governments.

Global Security

Environmental security is global security.

Global security assurances are not partisan issues. In fact, without the integrity of our ecosystem and biosphere all the life on this planet would face great issues. For example, rising sea levels in the next few decades could displace millions of people who live in New York’s marine counties.

If the scientists are right and temperatures continue to rise, we could face environmental, economic and national-security consequences far beyond our ability to imagine.

Senator John McCain on the Senate Floor in 2007

While long term change is harder to conceptualize on a daily basis, short term change is not as hard.

In October 2018, Hurricane Michael destroyed Tyndall Air Force Base. Tyndall Air Force Base is nestled in the pan handle of Florida and home to the F-22 Raptor. It was estimated that Hurricane Michael not only damaged several aircraft left at the base, but caused more than $8 Billion in damages.

The intensity, frequency, and duration of North Atlantic hurricanes, as well as the frequency of the strongest hurricanes, have all increased since the early 1980s. Hurricane intensity and rainfall are projected to increase as the climate continues to warm.

National Climate Assessment

According to the National Climate Assessment’s projections, hurricanes will only become more frequent, more intense, and way more destructive. Clearly, the economic cost and national strategic loss of Tyndall Air Force Base is of greater concern than lots of insurgent attacks that take place around the world. Natural disasters have the power to impact more people.

Stayed tuned to more posts on our ocean waters, marine biology, and sea beds!