Why Voting For The Environment Is Voting For Justice

C.S. Sherin, 26 Feb 2020; updated 16 March 2020


Photo by annie bolin on Unsplash

As we look forward to the Presidential election in November, it is important to keep in mind the environmental emergency we currently face, that is being greatly exacerbated by the Trump administration’s gutting of environmental protections and standards (and lots of other protections and standards).

Check out the Environmental Report Card for each candidate:

—> Center For Biological Diversity’s Environmental Voter Guide

—> 350 Action’s 2020 Presidential Candidate Climate Test

There are many urgent and crucial issues to keep in mind in addition to Environment and the climate emergency, like: healthcare and insurance, education and debt, humanitarian issues related to race, gender, sexual orientation, immigration & Indigenous peoples’ rights; animal welfare; clean-safe water infrastructure, addressing rampant domestic terrorism and hate-based crimes; and the dire need for a living wage for so many Americans.

Yet, the foundation for everything still relies on the stability, safety, diversity, and health of our environment. Without safe water, food, and air…without stable climates…we will not be able to address or take care of anything else.

Without the bare necessities of life, we won’t survive. Therefore, we must empower candidates that include a vigorous interest in our collective and environmental health–with concrete plans to remediate and enact widespread restoration for our immediate present, and long-term future.

We have so many technological advancements and inventions present right now to help us. In fact, contrary to popular thought, we really do have all the means, technology and advancements we need to deal with ALL of our problems right now. We simply haven’t had the leadership and united impetus to implement it! It doesn’t help that special interests block it every step of the way, increasing pollution and abuses, as they go.

We know that politicians and other leaders who have been bought by special interests (mega-corporations, insurance companies, bankers, etc.) always let us down–even the ones that we like and voted for. They always have to pay back those who have financed them, with unacceptable breaches to our trust, and to the most vulnerable of us. We need politicians who are free from this horrific conflict of interest.

Right now, we have candidates, multiple candidates, who are able to provide us with this ability to act with greater integrity!

Without climate justice for the most vulnerable, for the decimated lands, for the species in crisis and disappearing right now–all other issues will fade into an even darker chaos of accelerated climate change. That doesn’t have to be the outcome, though! The same values and actions that respect and address our multi-faceted climate emergency, are the same ones that can and will address our many present crises related to equality and equity, dignity, respect, and justice. The climate emergency necessitates radical change and immediate action, for us, and for any future for the current youngest generations–our children.

With all of this in mind, please note how important it is right now to tune out all the ego-based reactions going on toward the various candidates, and their style of expression, or their followers. Our media system (and debate moderators) have conditioned us to react, to focus on shallow questions, and to be emotionally manipulated by our differences. Our differences are a strength. And, we are mature and wise enough to see past the manipulations that would divide us, when, ultimately we desperately need to unite, around the candidate who makes it through the primaries this Spring.

We must also remember, each day, that there are many artificial forces placed purposely, on the Internet, that seek to inflame emotions and confuse truths, in order to galvanize division. It isn’t worth it. Too much is counting on us right now, like the children suffering in US immigration detention centers, that are worse than jails and more like modern concentration camps. We can’t afford to let our ego-based emotional reactions dictate the outcome.

At the end of the day, whichever democratic candidate makes it through the primaries is the candidate we all must rally around, in order to defeat the deadly, poisonous precedents set by the current Republican administration. It is sad, but true. Not every Democratic candidate is a good one, especially for Native Americans and African Americans! We will do well to hold close to our hearts, that, what hurts another human, also hurts us. We would do well to support African American and Indigenous peoples. It is past time to stand as allies. Come late, but please do join and invite others to the politics of compassion, dignity, and right action–it’s a real thing. It is a fact–environmental issues are inextricably linked with Indigenous rights and needs, and also to the needs and rights of the disadvantaged, and those in poverty. Environment isn’t just about food, agriculture, plastic pollution, or fossil fuels moguls’ greed and domination–it is about right action in the moment and for the long term–it is a holistic view of life, diversity, and biodiversity.

Not every candidate is great. And, Native American and African American people have a right to be resistant and angry about certain candidates. This is about violence, discrimination, and harm–it is life and death! This country was founded on genocide, colonial violence, and deceit–but also on ideals for a new life, dreams, inclusivity, freedom, and unity. We now can see that the dark side of our country hasn’t gone away, it was simply hidden from privileged eyes and lives in so many ways. Minorities and those in poverty, on the fringes, have always been aware of this ongoing darkness–this malignant movement to harm and dominate others–that still is harbored and nourished by some. But, it is only some. The majority can weigh in as opposition to this putrid sludge. I do see, for some of us, it is a bitter pill to be asked to seemingly betray our parent’s loyalty to a party or certain subjective values, and stray into this chaos of choosing someone or something we haven’t aligned ourselves with totally before. This isn’t the case for me, but I see it in the traditional views and reactions coming from some people I know and deeply respect. It is a real issue, and something I believe may be rooted in privilege for some, and family loyalty and deep roots in certain viewpoints for others.

Speaking only for myself…..when I make decisions, I do my best to check my privilege and biases, and look at the big picture. I remove myself from the ongoing drama and manipulative narratives as much as I can. I have looked at the Environmental Report Cards (above) from reputable organizations that I trust. That means something to me….it is integrity. And then, I hope for the best. I am also volunteering locally at the Democratic HQ, when I can, calling regional folks to make sure they will vote in Wisconsin at the beginning of April for the Supreme Court Justice candidate, Jill Karofsky (JillForJustice.com)–and to see if maybe they will join us in getting the word out. Our vote in WI on April 7th will be for a candidate that will hold position on the Supreme Court for the next ten years! It is so important that we all get out to vote for Jill. I have my favorites for president, but I am stepping away (in my heart and mind) from all of the divisive, competitive arguing about it. That is a waste of our energy and time. People are hurting. People and the environment are hurting right now in so many ways. We don’t have time to argue in the emergency room, or in the intensive care unit. That is how I see it. We have to take care of immediate needs right now, and filter out all the BS.

We don’t need to argue about who we like better. All we have to do is vote. Vote in the primary. Vote in November. Vote EARLY to avoid delays and issues on voting day!


—> Absentee and Early Voting <—

—> Check Your Voter Registration Status <—

—> 2020 State Primary Election Dates <—

We really must take united action now that resists this dark movement of devolution within our country. It is one thing to have the severely hideous underbelly of our Nation exposed, so that we all can see it and finally address it, as has been happening. It is quite another to know all the harm being done (to immigrants, children, women, Native Americans, African Americans, the poor, and to the environment), and to still cling to ego-based reactivity, instead of focusing on the change that must happen. We can tune-out all the manipulative political posturing, and simply focus on the emergencies we need to respond to together.

This is change we initiate together, by being proactive, and by voting.

We need so many of us to vote that any interference with voting machines or voter suppression will be rendered useless. That is what we need. Only 50% of people voted in the last presidential election! This will change. We can turn this around!

We also need to…grow to love that we are all different. We must grow to deeply love the freedom we have to disagree–even when we are on the same “side,” and make peace with it, and each other! Change is scary sometimes, but I would rather we choose and embrace it, than have destruction and hate running the show anymore.

We have the power to exercise our right to vote. We must not fall into any of the ego-based knee-jerk arguing competitions–and if or when we do–we must stop ourselves–in mid-sentence if necessary, and walk away. Then, we can administer some self-care, so as to breathe again, and then we can recover…back into strength and sanity. Then, we can be done with the manufactured games, and tend to this crisis of humanity.

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