For better or worse, it’s probably a safe bet that with Earth Day falling on the same day as the Pennsylvania presidential primary, April 22, the candidates are a little more focused on Pa. than on Mother Earth. For today, I’ll let it go. But as I’ve been pondering about whether my personal life is green enough, and whether the presidential candidates are putting their money where their mouths are on the environment, I’ve been noticing one other thing — the environment isn’t getting much attention from the candidates.

This week’s Democratic presidential debate spent almost the first full hour talking about whether we’re bitter and if there was really sniper fire in Bosnia.

Let’s face it — we’ve had enough of the gaffes and misstatements in this campaign. We want to know about the things that impact our lives and families — like clean air and water and how melting glaciers are impacting our planet’s health. At the end of the day, whether Barack insulted people like my parents in Pennsylvania or Hillary conveniently forgot that no one was shooting at her, will have no impact on reversing global warming.

So, in honor of Mother Earth, let’s spend a little time looking at the candidates’ respective commitments to the environment.

Newsweek just wrote a great comparison of the three major candidates and their positions on how they will help the environment if elected. The short story is that, not surprisingly, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are very “green” with extraordinarily similar proposals on reducing emissions, the need for more green-collar jobs, and on research about the links between environmental toxins and diseases. But John McCain has some green blood in his veins, as well:

“[I]ronically, McCain—with a voting record that would put him at the bottom of the heap among Democrats—is sometimes perceived as more passionate about the environment than his Democratic opponents, whose objectively much stronger records are viewed as a matter of party orthodoxy.”

For side-by-side comparisons of the candidates, check out the assessments by the League of Conservation Voters and Grist. I like this handy-dandy chart!

Not everyone is convinced about the greening of the candidates, though. One of my fellow MOMocrats, Jaelithe, points out that when Al Gore, the grand poobah of the intersection of politics and the environment, was asked recently why we don’t get to hear more from the candidates about their views on global warming at the debates, he replied:

“The debates have all been sponsored by something that goes by the Orwellian label ‘Clean Coal.’ Has anybody noticed that? Every single debate has been sponsored by clean coal. ‘Now even lower emissions.’ The richness and fullness of the dialogue in our democracy has not laid the basis for the kind of bold initiative that is really needed.

So, they’re saying the right things, and they may, whichever of them is elected, may do the right things.”

Not much of an endorsement from the one politician/policy wonk who ought to know.

But how about hearing from the candidates in their own words? While we’re not getting much of that in the debates, we know we can always turn to YouTube! These clips are well worth your while, not just for content, but also for each candidates’ affect — I want to see the sincerity as well as hear the words:

Clinton says global warming is the mother of all environmental issues and wants to see more study of the impact of environmental problems on our health, including breast cancer.

McCain, who does want to cut back on emissions and have corporations find ways to go green that are economically beneficial, also wants to focus on increased nuclear power and thinks it might be too much work to concentrate on solar technology.

Obama says if we do nothing about global warming and protecting the environment, there will be catastrophic results. He has been a long time supporter of finding ways to cut the pollution that causes global warming.

Once we’ve pinned down the candidates on their views, we can start cross-examining our favorite celebrities!

Cross-posted from BlogHer, where PunditMom is a Contributing Editor for Politics & News. Like I needed another place to talk about politics! 😉

Photo by PunditMom, Big Sur, 12/2007