Ecosystem Marketplace's Steve Zwick sums it up well in this piece:
Neither party really gets it right, because they both -- at best -- see environmental protection as something we should do -- like a bit of housekeeping, akin to trimming the bushes -- as opposed to something we must do -- like shoring up the foundation, which is what it is.
Both parties, in short, seem oblivious to the fact that our economy depends on our ecology, and that everything we buy, sell, eat, and produce is derived from nature. If we destroy nature, we destroy our own livelihoods -- as people living along the Mississippi River and its tributaries learned all too clearly this past Spring, when decades of poor wetland management exacerbated flooding and cost us billions.
This idea was similarly expressed by a 2009 National Academy of Sciences report, The Hidden Costs of Energy: dirty energy (e.g., especially that produced by burning oil and coal) inflicts a devastating $120 billion in "primarily health damages" alone on our economy.
If we want to reduce our skyrocketing health care and health insurance costs, a good place for America to start is by investing in a clean energy revolution.