In too much of America today, the candidate choice on climate action is... not great. But for the first time in awhile real climate hawks are serious contenders, and climate change is a focal point in many of the races that will be decided today.
No political contender is openly advocating large-scale climate mobilization this Election Day, but there are still real choices to make.
We wish we had gotten The Climate Mobilization started a year ago, so we could have been more active in this pivotal election. In the next two years we're going to work tirelessly to spread the Pledge to Mobilize far and wide, so next time there will be a whole slate of candidates who have gotten real about about global warming — and are committed to mobilize as rapidly as is necessary toward a post-carbon future.
Activists Victoria Collier and Ben-Zion Ptashnik wrote a rousing article in Truthout last week (which mentions us as part of a basic set of civic actions against climate change!), "Epic Reasons Why Americans Should Give a Sh*t About Voting":
Many Americans, particularly the young, believe that voting is an exercise in futility, or worse, an immoral display of support for a fundamentally corrupt political system. Far more appealing is to build a diverse grassroots movement - organically and horizontally - to change our consciousness, our lifestyles, the way we grow our food, harness our energy, travel, trade - and how we treat each other as human beings.
In other words, direct action to the change the world, starting with ourselves and our communities, seems more viable than investing hope in a political apparatus sold out to big money corporate interests on both sides of the aisle.
But not everyone feels this way. Some see our current dire situation as more of a yes, and opportunity, as in: Yes, we should do all of the above - radically change ourselves, radically change the world, and radically engage in the political process.
Casting a ballot never precludes more direct acts - that's just a cop-out. The fact is that not every societal change is made at the personal level, or through revolution on the streets.
[...] While everyone will have to make profound personal lifestyle changes to help balance our ecological books, many of the big transitions to sustainable energy and development must happen at the state and federal levels. And it will take an enormous amount of political activism, cooperation and vision to move the agenda.
Cynical political abandonment allows the wrong people to control our government and decide whether climate mitigation is a national priority, or a "liberal conspiracy."
So, after taking the Climate Mobilization Pledge, as we solar-panel our roofs, relearn the wonders of riding a bike, cut carbon-intensive meat from our diet and consider establishing an eco-village with our friends, we can also get involved in supporting the candidates who are committed to taking meaningful action. Tremendous government investment and war-time mobilization is needed to make the transition away from the climate cliff.
We must Occupy the streets and the political process at every turn, to change laws that disallow for a sustainable society: from international trade agreements to local policy banning front yard vegetable gardens and keeping a few goats and chickens.
So yes, your active political participation and your vote will help determine whether humanity builds a green bridge across the abyss, or rides an oil-funded warhead into oblivion.
Climate Hawks Vote is an excellent resource for identifying climate hawks who have a fighting chance. Check out their website and Climate Hawk scorecard, which measures how intensely each Democrat in the House of Representatives is leading on climate. Scorecards for House Republicans and both parties in the Senate are still in the works.
In the meantime, you can probably figure out which candidates in your local election are most serious about climate change via Google. (Hint: anyone who feels the need to remind you they're "not a scientist" is not it.)