Mary Williams
Mary Williams is a tree hugger from Arizona who spends her time working seasonally in National and State Parks across the country. She has through hiked the Appalachian Trail and spent four months working on a research base in Antarctica. She was born in Oakland, CA into a family of Black Panthers and later adopted by Jane Fonda. She is currently writing a memoir.

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REASON 57: Obama increased funding for National Parks by ten percent.

“I think it’s despicable how Black people voted for Obama just because he’s Black.” A Republican coworker, still salty from Obama’s win over McCain, actually said this to me. Yes. I’m Black. However I did not vote for Obama because he is Black. And his overactive melanocytes won’t be the determining factor in this upcoming election either.

I’ll be voting for Obama because as a seasonal Park Ranger I spend a great deal of my time exploring our nation’s magnificent National Parks, Forests, and Wildlife Refuges. I backpack and fish and hike and when I do it, I like to hear song birds, breathe clean air, see wildlife, drink from unpolluted streams, and gaze upon mountainsides free from the scars of pit mining run amok. I’m counting on Obama to protect our nation’s wild spaces not just for my enjoyment but for future generations.

I’m encouraged that the President believes environmental security is inseparable from national security and embraces the science behind global climate change. Also, despite overwhelming opposition, he has made headway with his environmental policies. His administration has increased our nation's wind and solar power capacity, approved the nation's first offshore wind farm and raised fuel-economy standards.

I’m most excited by the Obama Administration’s decision to increase funding for National Parks by ten percent and its encouragement to land management agencies to develop long term plans to help mitigate the catastrophic impact of global climate change on threatened species. This will be particularly crucial for my beloved Yellowstone National Park, which within the next century will, as a result of global climate change, become an increasingly unsuitable environment for many of the species currently inhabiting it. I believe a second term will afford the President the opportunity to further protect and strengthen the natural world around us.

As a child of the Black Power Movement I can’t deny that I’m happy to see a Black man in the White House, but my politics are more than skin deep. The thought of entrusting our national environmental treasures to folks who only seek to exploit them keeps me up at night. I’m voting for Obama in November because we have too much to lose.

Mary Williams
 Buenos Aires, Argentina

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REASON 42:
President Obama has done something about mountaintop removal. read essay →

REASON 60:
President Obama appointed the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice in US history.read essay →