Countdown to Earth Day 2016: #20 Vote Responsibly

Countdown to Earth Day 2016: #20 Vote Responsibly April 2, 2016

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So you’ve already signed A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment, and you don’t want Earth Day (April 22) to go by unobserved. What can you do? Over the next 21 days, I will be offering practical and productive suggestions for how you can honor the Earth this Earth Day.

When we think about what we can do to protect the biosphere and the web of life, we are trained to think about our reducing own consumption. But individual choice only gets us so far.

We need need government regulation to change the available options before we even get to the point where people can have a choice. We can’t buy fuel-efficient vehicles, for example, until companies are pressured to actually make them — and to make them affordable. We can’t reduce the amount of time we spend driving, unless our cities and suburbs actually have the necessary infrastructure — sidewalks, public transit, zoning that allows jobs and housing and shopping to coexist.

Even then, most emissions are caused by things that individual consumers don’t have any control over, decisions that are made for us, not by us.  The system is driven by big money.  So the way to change the system is to change the way money influences the system.

Individual consumers don’t have the power to do this … but voters doWe need responsible citizens even more than we need responsible consumers.

So one thing you can do to honor the Earth this Earth Day is to vote responsibly.  Voting responsibly means knowing how your elected officials are influenced by big money.

Campaign politics tends to focus on issues: where the candidates say they stand.  We all know that politicians will say a lot of things to get elected.  And we all know that politics is really driven by campaign contributions.  But few of us know how our own elected officials are influenced by money.

To find out where your elected officials get their money:

  1. Click on this link to opensecrets.org
  2. Go to the “Politicians & Elections” tab and click “Get Local”.
  3. Enter your zip code and then click “View the elected officials who represent this zip code”.
  4. Find out who has bought your elected officials.

Explore the rest of the site to find out more about how big money is influencing politics.  Then vote responsibly!


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