The impact of your vote on climate change

The science and economics are in. Scientists from a variety of disciplines agree that the Earth’s climate is changing and it’s likely due to us humans. Global business leaders view environmental issues as being among the greatest risks we face going forward.

You know who else is super concerned about climate change? Young voters! With very good reason. Millennials and Gen Zers are deeply aware that they’ll bear the brunt of climate change. They’ll be the ones living with the effects the actions (or inactions) we take today.

A World of Impact: Your Vote & Climate Change

For this reason, it’s especially meaningful that you cast your vote. If you want your opinions on climate change legislation to be counted, vote. If you want to be a part of shaping environmental policies that will impact generations to come, vote.

Areas of Legislative Impact

Climate change is more than rising temps and weird weather. Environmental action is more than the Green New Deal. Both sides of the equation are complex, multi-dimensional and interwoven with some many other things.

That said, let’s highlight some of the environmental priorities of this election: 

  • Carbon Emissions & Pollution. Our air and water quality are in jeopardy. Climate advocates are pushing initiatives and legislation that focus on reducing harmful emissions and cleaning up contamination.
  • Clean Energy. This is largely an issue about how we meet our energy needs and about jobs. Clean energy proponents want to transition to renewable energy sources that don’t harm the environment. They want to sunset fossil fuels.
  • Cleaner Infrastructure. A significant percentage of our country’s roads, bridges, buildings, etc. need to be repaired or replaced, imminently, because they are in terrible condition. Pro-environment candidates want to seize this chance to not only secure our infrastructure, but do so in ways that make it more efficient, clean and green. It’s an opportunity to rethink infrastructure choices; for example, creating new public transportation instead of new roads. Better infrastructure also improves food security, public health and more.
  • Sustainable Homes & Vehicles. Piggybacking off smarter public transportation and infrastructure, there are tons of initiatives related to making private homes and vehicles more efficient and sustainable. This ranges from building codes and materials for your house to the kind of battery and fuel your car uses.
  • Green Spaces. Building and maintaining national, state and local parks and reserves are central to this issue. This is critical for the planning and care of our communities (You need someplace to recreate!) as well as flora and fauna.
  • Environmental Justice. It’s widely known that environmental problems disproportionately impact minority populations. Environmental justice policies and programs would seek to close the gap while improving conditions for everyone. Also key to this movement is the concept of democratizing power — enabling everyone to participate in taking positive climate action.

These are just the tip of the iceberg. Environmental issues and regulations touch so many industries and sectors. A variety of governmental entities — from the EPA to NASA — address climate change concerns. Climate change and related initiatives have worked their way into both domestic legislation and foreign policy. It’s pervasive.

You can find plenty of online resources that delve into Trump’s and Biden’s positions on climate topics.

How Your Vote Makes a Difference to Climate Change

We don’t live in a vacuum. Climate change is insidious, creeping into every facet of our lives. And so many sectors — business, education, healthcare, energy and more — intersect with environmental policy in some way.

This means there are numerous opportunities for you to influence the direction in which our country goes. The impact of your vote on environmental issues is as far-reaching as the issues themselves. Pretty powerful!

Your vote enables you to weigh in at the local, state, regional, national and international levels. You can support candidates that feel the same way you do about the issues. Policies and programs at all levels can change either directly (via ballot measures) or indirectly (via the officials you elect and their delegates and appointees). Your vote can even guide priority setting and resource allocation decisions in areas that may seem — at first glance — to not really be related to the climate (like foreign aid).

Hopefully, the pandemic will end soon. With it in our rearview mirrors, we’ll need to start rebuilding our economy. This recovery period is a prime opportunity to incorporate climate-friendly, sustainable practices. All this is to say that Election 2020 — with your vote — could have even greater impact on the climate than if we were in other circumstances.

tl;dr

Experts agree that climate change is here and possibly one of the biggest risks to our future. Climate initiatives and environmental policies touch all areas of our lives, even ones that are seemingly not related. It’s no surprise that this is a major issue for voters in this election.

Consequently, casting your ballot is especially powerful. You’re weighing in directly on climate change by the representatives you select and ballot measures you back. But, you’re also taking a stance indirectly because other areas of life and legislation have some sort of environmental component.

Go #IGNITEthevote and let your views on climate change be heard.