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Our world is at stake: Take a stand with your vote

In January, I launched a new blog and brand, Another Day Greener, as a way to educate others on an issue that shouldn’t be political, but in 2020 it is: saving our planet and resolving the climate crisis. 

I am personally dedicated to teaching and showing people how to live more sustainably, how to protect the environment, and how to stop climate change. One of the first things we need to do is elect leaders who know the climate crisis is real and understand the solutions to mitigate it. We need to fight like our lives are on the line because, for many of us, that is all too real a statement. We must fight with our votes, through mailing in ballots or waiting in line at the polls. To me, it’s do, or democracy and our dreams for the future, die.

The sanctity and future of our planet is on the line this election, but so is everything else—racial injustice, immigration policies, affordable healthcare, rights for women, rights for the LGBTQ community. Each issue is equally important in my opinion. This is an election where we can lose democracy altogether, which is why we need to exercise our greatest superpower: our vote. So, I’m using my voice and my platform, Another Day Greener, to encourage people to vote and to speak out on injustice through MoveOn’s Your Vote Is Power campaign. 

There are a multitude of environmental problems we need to address, and our local and federal politicians can make things happen through new policies and incentives, through innovation and collaboration. We need to alleviate climate change because climate change will create more chaos and suffering than humanity can afford. It will create pandemics like COVID-19, it will displace thousands of people from their homes, it will wipe out thousands of animal species, it will make certain cities and communities unlivable, it will cause severe weather disasters and wildfires, it will create health problems, it will damage crops like rice and corn, and the list goes on.  

We need leaders who will rethink the creation and operation of factories and energy plants that contaminate and pollute communities of color at a disproportionate rate. We need leaders who will create green jobs to employ thousands of Americans who have lost their jobs during the pandemic.  

Beyond climate change, though, we must also vote with the lives of our marginalized loved ones in mind. I acknowledge my own privilege as a cis, straight, white woman in this country, and know that there are things I have, and never will experience because of the color of my skin and my sexual orientation. I became most personally aware of injustices others have experienced when I moved to Los Angeles after college, it upset and maddened me when many of my new friends from diverse backgrounds would tell me stories of how they were treated poorly and unjustly because of the color of their skin or their sexual orientation. 

One very dear friend of mine disclosed that she had once been forced to lock herself in a New York City bar bathroom for her own safety because someone was outside the door threatening to attack her because of her sexual orientation. When I listened to her story I felt so many things: sadness, anger, frustration, disgust. I hated so much that someone had so much hate that they would want to attack another person like that. 

In response to the outpouring of digital evidence documenting police brutality and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, my Black friends openly shared their stories on social media describing numerous situations that they experienced throughout their lives—being treated differently, feeling watched, how they live in fear nearly every day. 

It is painfully wrong for people to be treated like this, and it is up to every single one of us, who feel this way, to change the culture in this country that lets behavior like this continue to exist. We cannot be silent. It is our responsibility, especially white people’s, to advocate and take action for those who have been oppressed. We must be as loud as possible—especially at the ballot box. 

These issues seemed to become so much more potent when Donald Trump took office. I can’t even count how many protests and rallies I’ve attended over the last three and half years. 

The issues I’ve committed myself to most vocally are climate change and environmental justice, as that’s an area I feel I can bring the most awareness to. We all deserve a thriving planet to live healthy lives on and we all deserve leaders who will work hard to ensure we have that. 

Over the summer, I took part in a training with the Climate Reality Project, former vice-president Al Gore’s organization, to be a climate change activist by being a public educator. As an educator, I give presentations about the causes of climate change and the many solutions at our disposal, be it the importance of enrollment in the Paris Climate Accord or the various forms and availability of renewable energy. It’s these climate change solutions that Joe Biden understands and supports, not Donald Trump.

This election cycle, I’m voting for the planet and the safety of every creature that lives on it. I’m lucky to have grown up in a household where voting was never a question. I was always told that our democracy is sacred and it is important to participate in it, so use the gift and superpower you have to vote. I recognize that not everyone has the same attitude towards voting that I do, but that only stresses the need for better public education that makes people civically minded and excited about our country’s democratic process. Our votes do matter, sometimes they are the only things that matter. I saw that the first time I ever voted in my first Presidential election, back in 2008 for Barack Obama. I was voting for someone who would pay attention to everyone’s rights, for someone who shifted the country in a more hopeful direction, and that felt so empowering. 

We must bring that same hopeful energy from 2008 into this 2020 election because everything is at stake and it is so imperative that people are ready to vote and have a plan. They need to make sure that they are registered, that they know where to drop-off their mail-in ballot, where they can go for early voting in their state, and so much more. If we don’t take this election as seriously as possible, our planet, our health care, human rights and even the direction of our Supreme Court, are all at risk. 

Because of all of these things, I will be voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Joe Biden, simply put, is an incredibly decent human being. You cannot look at his life and not see his commitment to public service and compassion for his fellow Americans. He is, unlike Trump, extremely thoughtful, empathetic and kind. He is someone who has been through the most horrific tragedies, yet continued to dedicate his life to helping others, to pass legislation and create change for the better. 

While who we elect as President and Vice President is incredibly important, remember that everything starts at the local level. That’s where we can make a difference about things like police brutality, education, and so much more that happens in our very own communities. It’s a lot to learn and digest, but it is all so important.

Though voting may seem overwhelming, we must look at it as our responsibility, as our gift, and as our ultimate superpower. Each single vote adds up into one big wave of greatness. 

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People like Tara are committed to ensuring that injustice is no longer the norm. We must elect officials who won’t stall and who won’t put the lives and livelihoods of millions in danger. Make sure you are registered to vote. Make sure you know how to vote by mail. And make sure you mobilize others to vote as well. Together, we’ll create a better tomorrow.