Earth & Environment

January 5, 2022: Democracy, Voting Rights & the Environment

Posted on January 05, 2022 at 12:00 AM

Across our nation, states like Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina are limiting access to the vote by those likely to vote Democratic: Black and Brown voters, college students, and indigenous people.  States with Republican-majority legislatures, even some with Democratic governors like North Carolina, are not only changing the rules to limit access to the vote, but also to allow greater control of the election process by Republican officials.  Further, intense gerrymandering of congressional district maps will cement GOP political power in a majority of states. 

What does this have to do with the climate crisis?  Very simply, it means that candidates will be elected to the House and Senate and in state legislatures who oppose taking significant action to slow the release of greenhouse gases (GHG) and to fund resilience measures in the face of disasters fueled by climate change.  Current environmental damage from chemicals and plastic trash will continue to apace and will continue to impact vulnerable communities disproportionately.  Dark money from the fossil fuel industry, the chemical industry, and big agriculture will continue to flow into Republican candidates’ campaign chests, and lobbyists from these industries will have a field day with sympathetic Representatives and Senators.

You are urged to remember how we nearly lost our democracy on January 6, 2021, and to be energized to advocate for the immediate future of our human communities and the ecosystems in which they live.  This means we must push Democratic Senators to modify or end the filibuster, and to pass the For the People Act of 2021 and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act now!  It also means to keep the pressure on elected representatives in state legislatures and candidates in local races to ensure free and fair elections for all American citizens.  It means making every effort to get out the vote, campaign for pro-environment candidates, and volunteer at polls during elections.  Because strong action on the climate crisis does mean that our lives really depend on having all our voices heard.

—Jean Stewart, Chair, Earth & Environment Task Force

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