October 04, 2012
By Becky English, Rocky Mountain Chapter Energy Committee Chair
For months, Denver has been looking forward to the first debate of this presidential campaign season. On Wednesday October 3, a beautiful autumn day, the campus at the University of Denver burst forth with outdoor games, music, several dozen tables representing organizations and causes, and demonstrations lining nearby streets. Some 7,500 people bought tickets for the privilege of being on campus for the event.
Just days before the October 4 deadline to register to vote, a half-dozen organizations sponsored voter registration on the D.U. campus, and most reported vigorous activity. At this venue, registrations skewed Democratic. However, there were at least three groups of students on campus visibly supporting Governor Romney and Republican platform positions.
The debate focused on domestic policy. Inside, longtime PBS News Hour journalist Jim Lehrer had an agreement with the audience that there would be no applause and no vocal outbursts for or against anything being said onstage. [Below left, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper; at right, a Young Evangelical for Climate Action.]
Outside, students who watched the debate on jumbo video monitors were free to whoop and holler their approval and disapproval. They were especially happy when the candidates mentioned Denver, the University of Denver, or Colorado. The weather turned windy and cool as the debate began, making it a chilly evening for those who stayed to view the debate with friends.
As the volunteer chair of Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter's energy committee, I was listening for references to the environment and to energy. This debate had no direct references to the environment.
Here's an exchange that was probably revealing for many Sierra Club members who understand the relationship between fossil fuels, climate change, and environmental degradation.