This is not a sermon but a memo of reminders for myself and for any fellow American who, like me, wants to fight climate change.
1) Register to vote!* Register others to vote! Reminds your friends to Register! September 23 is National Voter Registration Day. In some states the deadline to put your registration in the mail is as soon as Oct. 2 2014. Deadlines and links to register are available at RockTheVote.com.
(*Okay, I am registered to vote, but I need to make sure it's all clear.)
2) Vote!!! Information on finding your polling place are available at Vote411.org , created by the League of Women Voters. Trying to decide whom to vote for? Look up endorsements from environmental group: The Sierra Club Endorsements. The League of Conservation Voters Endorsements. California's League of Conservation Voters rates all State Assembly and Senators on environmental issues.If you are registered to vote by mail, MAIL IN YOUR BALLOT BEFORE ELECTION DAY.*
*This is very much a reminder to me, myself, and I, Saheli. And anyone else like me who always loses it, forgets it's not a sample ballot, and ends up having to cast a provisional ballot on election day sometime after 5pm.
3) Support candidates who are both most likely to vote to fight anthropogenic climate change and make the most of your support to win. This is a two-variable calculation. You can do it.
If your local candidate is already very likely to win, consider helping other such candidates win in other localities. You can cross-reference the toss-up predictions from Real Clear Politics with the endorsements above. For example, in California, any additional resources (donations or time) I think I can and should commit to supporting US Congressional representatives most likely to help the fight against climate change will probably go to Ami Bera (CA-3), Jerry McNerney (CA-9), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Pete Aguilar (CA -31), Raul Ruiz (CA-36), Scott Peters (CA-52), Amanda Renteria (CA- 21) and Michael Eggman (CA - 10). You can also support the Sierra Club and NRDC's PACs directly.
4) Write to your elected and appointed leaders in all three branches (legislative, executive, judicial) , at all four levels (municipality, county, state, federal) both before and after the election, both to their government address and their campaign address. Polite, brief but unique and passionate letters on real paper and by email really do make an impression. Keep their eyes on the ball. Things we need:
--A Carbon Tax, especially on industry
--A More Progressive Income Tax
-- NO MORE subsidies for fossil fuels
--WAY MORE subsidies for renewable energy, green agriculture and manufacturing, walkability, and bike/bus-friendly road infrastructure.
--More funding for renewable energy research, climate research, atmospheric chemistry research, climate-friendly agriculture and plant biology.
--No more destructive agricultural subsidies--they're keeping Americans hungry and malnourished and overweight all at the same time, anyway!
-Reform of the financial industry regulations, which currently overfavors large corporations and prevents individuals and small businesses from accessing capital for reforming their own environmental practices and infrastructure.
--Move funds and votes away from opaque military industrial equipment expenditures and towards environmental technology and a transparent, green collar economy. War is bad for children and living things.
5) Keep an eye out for proposed regulations, legislation, and hearings that are open to public comment or attendance, research their potential impact on climate change, and then comment and attend: with courtesy, brevity*, and clarity For example, the EPA Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule is open to public comments until Dec. 2014. You can search for Federal regulations where comments are due at Regulations.Gov. Your state's public utilities commission (California's), energy commission (CA's), and housing agencies (CA's) all make policy that impacts climate change on a massive scale. Your municipal and county transit agencies and economic development boards are particularly crucial places for engaging in your civic oversight duty. You're not in this alone--look for local and state advocacy groups that are organizing others like you to do this kind of oversight. For example TransForm.
*Brevity, Saheli, Brevity.
If the public doesn't show up for the public interest in fighting climate change, these agencies only hear from monied special interests who have something particular to gain in the short term which they (foolishly) prioritize over fighting climate change.
6) Eat less meat* and dairy.
*Okay, I don't eat any meat. I don't want to eat anything that's capable of feeling pain, suffering or fear in anything remotely analagous to the way I feel it--i.e anything in Kingdom Animalia, especially with nerve tissue. But I want to eat less dairy, both b/c contemporary western dairying is usually cruel and involves a lot of cow-slaughter, and b/c it's hard to produce dairy products in a way that's climate friendly and sustainable. And I'd love to help you eat less meat.
7) Drive less or not at all; walk, ride a bike, and ride the bus. Ahem, Saheli.
8) Make your home more energy efficient and, if you own it, consider installing solar, or talk to your landlord about solar.
9) Buy fewer things, and fewer crappy and disposable things, and try to take up less space.Cough. Saheli.
10) KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING. Even when people are mean and snarky and make fun of you, Saheli.