On September 9th, our Boston Steering Committee hosted our first in a series of locally- led events called Vote 1% Better.
The event welcomed the leaders of two Boston-based organizations working on environmental solutions– Michael Green, Executive Director of Climate XChange, and Nathaniel Stinnett, Executive Director of Environmental Voter Project.
To kick it off, Michael Green discussed how Climate XChange jettisons campaign action to generate real results with resources like the State Carbon Pricing Network, a platform for thousands of advocates, legislators and experts across the country to lead on carbon pricing efforts in their state. In Massachusetts, if a state representative hears from six constituents about a single issue, then they will start to pay attention and get engaged on that issue.
“Six people is all it takes.”
-Michael Green, Climate XChange
Michael also spoke about building a Resilient Recovery Portfolio, a road map of investments used for futurecasting that includes programs in clean transportation, forest and ecosystem restoration, clean energy, water and energy efficiency, low carbon agriculture and sustainable industry. It was noted that the benefits derived from these investments far outweighed the costs, and are providing ample opportunities for robust job creation and community health benefits.
The work that Climate XChange facilitates is built from the ground up –working with community stakeholders and leaders to provide training, tools and support to reinforce key messaging and research for them to use the tools to influence policy in local communities.
Environmental Voter Project (EVP) focuses on finding environmentalists who don’t vote and turning them into better voters. They are different from typical environmental organizations. They don’t endorse candidates, don’t lobby on behalf of environmental policies, and don’t engage in campaigns to persuade the public to care more about the environment. Nathaniel Stinnett described their work as being focused less on opinion changing and more on the changing of habits and behaviors.
Of the voters in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, only 2% listed climate change and the environment as their highest priority. By the end of 2019, as many as 11% of voters listed climate change and the environment as their top priority. Nathaniel pointed out that people have to list the environment and climate change as a greater priority, because politicians and our elected representatives have limited time and capacity to dedicate to these issues.
“If we have 8, 9, 10 percent of voters listing climate change or the environment as their top priority, we can’t be patting ourselves on the back. Because that isn’t nearly enough to get politicians to spend their precious political capital on the most urgent issue of our time”
-Nathaniel Stinnett, Environmental Voter Project
During the discussion, Nathaniel revealed a cornerstone of EVP’s work: who you vote for is secret, but whether or not you vote is public record. If you’re running a campaign, you have a limited amount of time to get the votes you need on one day. Ultimately, politicians don’t prioritize the opinions and important issues of non-voters. As hard as it is to accept, unless these issues are represented at the ballot box, politicians simply won’t spend their political capital on them.
There is an enormous opportunity to champion the planet and ensure it is prioritized by our elected officials. As it currently stands, environmentalists are not the best voters. In the 2018 midterm elections, just 53% of environmentalists turned out. To close the gap, Environmental Voter Project and Climate XChange are mobilizing voters through education, research and a commitment to prioritizing the planet within politics.
Learn who your elected officials are, send an email or write a letter, and make an appointment to visit their office and let your voice be heard. Don’t be afraid to flex your civic muscle!
- Listen to Climate XChange’s podcast Cooler Earth- a podcast about individuals seeking solutions to the climate crisis. And access their tools for campaign training and research on how to communicate the climate crisis with your friends, family, and colleagues.
- Sign Environmental Voter Project’s Environmental Voter Pledge, volunteer to mobilize turnout, and get involved with their trainings and events.
You can watch our full webinar with the 1% for the Planet Boston Steering Committee and special guest speakers below:
- Risa Hiser (moderator),Palmiotto Consulting
- Shannon Buono, Shel
- Mark DeFeo
- Tony Durso, The Juice Box Boston
- Josh Franklin
- Sophie Hughes, Sophie Hughes Inc.
- Tim Kast, City Roots
- Andrew Sidford, Andrew Sidford Architects
- Wayne Stokes, Stokes Art Transport