[Editor's note: The following essay, published in the Los Angeles Times on July 21, 1996, is is written by David Brower, one of the preeminent U.S. environmentalists of the 20th century. Brower, now in his early 80's, is former president and current national board member of the Sierra Club, founded Earth Island Institute and Friends of the Earth in the U.S., and is on the boards of a variety of environmental organizations.]

Why I Won't Vote for Clinton

This president has done more harm to the environment than Reagan and Bush combined.


Over the past three years, I have become increasingly distressed by President Clinton's environmental record. While I certainly would expect no better from Bob Dole, I think it is time to examine where we are going as a movement and as a civilization.

My personal assessment has led me to support Ralph Nader's presidential campaign. Briefly, let me recount the reasons for my disaffection with the president.

His administration is responsible for:

President Clinton has done more to harm the environment and to weaken environmental regulations in three years than Presidents Bush and Reagan did in 12 years.

After an interim of reading lips, we have seen the regimes of environmental destruction move from the Great Communicator to the Great Capitulator. Even so, Clinton has tried to "greenwash" his record, claiming to be on the side of the environment.

Having fought for the environment for more than 50 years, I see planet Earth not only as our father and mother but also as our child, demanding our care and nurture. Neither of the major parties comprehends the seriousness of this responsibility.

In response, I am supporting a real alternative in 1996. I have known Ralph Nader for nearly 30 years, and in that time, he has never let me or the environment down. He is properly described as an idealistic if modest Spartan.

Nader understands that until we rein in the far-flung empires of multinational corporations and subject them to international sustainable environmental standards, the planet will continue to suffer.

David Brower is a longtime environmentalist and a board member of the Sierra Club.