Tuesday, November 6, ELECTION DAY, is the most important day of this year, and maybe of this century.
That may sound extreme - until you consider the
utter devastation Super Storm Sandy has caused in New
Jersey, New York, and in
many communities along America's East Coast, including in my own backyard.
Storms like Sandy, hurricanes like Katrina in the Gulf Coast, the spread of
poison ivy and dengue fever in many parts of the U.S., are all part of the same
extreme weather conditions we're experiencing nationwide - and will continue to
experience unless we make a national commitment to reduce
our use of the coal, oil, and other fossil fuels
On Tuesday, as I write here, we have a choice. We can either elect a President and legislators who support strategies that will reduce our dependence on coal, oil and other fossil fuels that, when burned, emit the carbon dioxide that is wreaking havoc on our climate. Or we can vote for candidates who refuse to acknowledge that climate change is real and requires immediate action.
In this first-ever Green Moms election carnival, many women
who regularly blog about environmental health and safety have come together to raise
awareness about why it's so important that we all vote on Tuesday. In many states, President Barack Obama, who advocates strong policies to stop climate change, is running neck and neck with challenger Mitt Romney, who heretofore has rejected the need for national policies to stop climate disruption. Please read these important posts and share them as widely as you can.
VOTE TO STOP MORE SANDY's
Many women in our group have been personally
impacted by Sandy's fury.
Ronnie of Eco-Nesting titled her post, "Sandy's Wake Leaves a Clear Choice ," as she reflected on the storm's $10 billion to $30 billion impact on her native New York. "The east coast has a new reality…freaky Frankenstorms and Superstorms. Why? Because we have hotter than normal sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean. This means heavier rainfall and stronger winds. This means higher sea levels and increased coastal flooding. This means increased storm surges. This means the warning signs of global warming have breached the planet’s levee and they can’t be ignored any longer...a clear choice has blown through the broken windows, boardwalks, airports, subways, power lines and our presidential election.
"The energy commitments our next president makes will affect the Frankenstorms and Superstorms my children and their children will suffer. Our next president must take global warming seriously and do something about it. Politicians in climate denial are upending nothing less than our children’s future and they will not get my vote. How about yours?"
Harriet at Climate Mama has devoted her blog to raising national awareness of the way our changing climate can disrupt our world. But Sandy brought it all home to her. "This storm should serve as a “wake up call” and force each of us to “connect the dots” and consider how our individual and collective actions have been and will shape our world and that of our neighbors, country and future generations." Harriet took this picture in her neighborhood. The tree didn't crush her house...this time.
As for voting, Harriet wisely notes, "Climate change isn’t red, blue, white or fuchsia, and it shouldn’t be a partisan or political issue; however it has become one, particularly in the United States of America. A major party in this country has been “occupied” by climate deniers, forcing their way into and onto the party platform. This can no longer be condoned, ignored or denied. When the polls open on Tuesday, and in those areas where there is early voting, climate change and how we will confront its impacts on our economy, on job creation and on our future and our children’s future needs to be considered and should BE one of the most important deciding factors."
Katy at Non-Toxic Kids made the link between her vote and her rights as a woman, as well. "I'm voting because too many people are telling women what they can and can't do with their bodies. Too many white men talking about sexual violence in disrespectful ways. I'm voting so my daughters can control their own health care choices. So they can decide when and if to have children." I'm right with you on that one, Katy (and I love this image you used to make your point!)
Lisa at RetroHousewife concurs . A historic number of women are running for office this year, she says, but unless we elect them, what good will it do? We will still have to contend with comments by elected officials to take about "legitimate rape" and whether or not women should have access to family planning. "No matter your political persuasion make sure you are registered to vote . And inform yourself about the current issues and candidates. Gaining the right to vote was a very big deal but we still have a long way to go for women’s rights."
VOTE TO MAKE OUR COMMUNITIES MORE SUSTAINABLE
Susan of Practically Green stresses that it's important to support candidates who commit to solving environmental problems, but we need to focus on individual and collective actions that will reduce climate change and make our communities healthier and greener for future generations, too. "We can always vote for people locally and nationally that understand this is really, really important. By focusing on what we can do, and moving forward one step at a time, our collective actions will add up and will make a difference."
Paige at Spit That Out The Book says , "When voting for a candidate for national office, my top priority is generally environmental policy. I believe rising oceans are not something to joke about , and any candidate who mocks climate change or puts industry interests above safer chemicals is not going to win my favor. After all, when we are poisoning our children and destroying our planet, how can that not trump everything else?"
Leigh Ann at Green 4 U reminds us of questions we need to ask all candidates when we're considering awarding something as precious as our vote. Among them: "Given that our climate is changing what do you propose to do if elected to help keep the greenhouse gases and other contributing factors from increasing? How do you propose to better prepare the federal government for disaster recovery for the extreme weather caused by climate change?"
VOTE TO GIVE US THE RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT WE'RE FACING
Though climate change has jumped front and center into the electoral debate, it is not the only important issue voters will decide this year.
Mary at In Women We Trust reminds voters how important it is to support Proposition 37, a California ballot initiative that would simply require food producers to label products that contain genetically modified organisms. Mary points out that it's primarily giant conglomerates who oppose having to own up to how they're producing the food we eat. "Please vote YES for the right to know what’s in your foodchain," Mary implores.
In a second post, Mary compares two political strategies competing for voters' attention in this election: a cynical plot to collect votes by generating false fears, versus an effort to remind people that we can still have a world of hope and change." When she votes on Tuesday, says Mary, she'll be voting for compassion and common sense, not hate.
VOTE FOR CHANGE
Harriet at Climate Mama survived Sandy better than most. But seeing the destruction so close at hand has reminded her how important it is to speak out - and to vote. "While I try to refrain from bringing politics into our blog posts on ClimateMama," she writes, "I feel we have no choice but to discuss politics now. Mother Nature, through Sandy, says we must and we have to.
"From my vantage point, I see that the Republican party has been co-opted and taken hostage by many climate deniers who not only won’t put short and long term fixes for climate change on the agenda, but they vehemently deny the fact and reality of man made climate change. Too many in the party are demanding that we continue to invest in fossil fuels and the infrastructure that will keep us reliant and addicted to this form of energy that scientists tell us IS causing our climate to change. This is a path that is leading to “mutually assured destruction,” a concept from the cold war, video games, movies and now once again real life.
"There is too much at stake not to discuss this on the eve of what may be the most important presidential election of our time."