Emotion from the 2016 U.S. election triggered a wave of new people running for office… and that includes people serious about protecting our future from environmental harm.
Though the impulse comes from concern, for many it will be the most exciting and ennobling thing they have ever done.
Luckily there are resources and trainings available to better-prepare one for civic engagement at a formal level. For example, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) recently gave its first-ever training for candidates for office, the day after its Advocacy Boot Camp… candidates include a U.S. Air Force veteran planning on running for Congress in Texas. There is a wealth of information available on how to run for office.
Do you want to start small? A time-honored jump-start is at the local level, in cities or counties. Or even the baby step of joining the various advisory boards inside your town. For example, my town has a Sustainability Task Force. After acquiring skills and knowledge of current law and issues, folks can run for City Council, then move up from there to county government or state office. And as a bonus, these Task Forces are doing fine work, in hundreds of cities around the world, so the enjoyable brain candy is there…
A side note: I recognize many busy folks aren’t ready for this serious a committment. That’s why many, remaining private citizens, are now following the Indivisible Guide, showing how any of us can fit civic engagement into sane lives.
The Indivisible Guide was written by Leah Greenberg and Ezra Levin, two Millennials passionate about the 2016 election results. The Guide fills the need for a simple, powerful list of tactics for getting our voices heard at any level of government.
It was modeled after the Tea Party playbook, yet has been so successful at turning young people out that a number of Republican congressmen and senators have simply stopped holding Town Hall Meetings! Democracy is messy, especially when people are engaged… that’s the whole point.
This set of tactics works in any country around the world, the sole prerequisite being that the country be a democracy with open government. If you think about it, the focus of climate change solutions shifted after the 2016 election to the business community and state and local government, with some very, very inspiring leadership. Both business and local government are very, very sensitive to the voices of customers and constituents!
Photo credit – Minnesota Post
* * *
Not sure how to start saving the planet (civilization, really)? Start by always remembering that “Hope is a renewable resource.”
Then, our practical answer becomes “Deeply know the personal Superpowers” we all bring to the game of life:
1) To save the planet, CHANGE OURSELVES FIRST;
2) To save the planet, INVEST OUR WORKING LIVES;
3) To save the planet, USE OUR VOICES and take advocacy seriously! Never miss a vote and never, ever stop influencing your government and all businesses locally, at the state level, and at the national level. As well, set a solid example for all around you to see. Jawbone to others about what we need to do, and influence them as peers. Finally, have an annual cash donations program. All of these are ways we can use our voices.
Stay focussed: Lead the way with substantive global warming solutions. (Far from being a bummer, this is actually a fun trend for each of us to be part of… get energized!) Our kids and their kids will be proud of us.
And in all cases and at all times, cast aside the learned-helplessness that infects so much of modern life… the time is now for climate change solutions. Never give up.
* * *
2 thoughts on “To Save the Planet, Use Our Voices: Run for Office, or Volunteer for a Local Commission”