At a recent meeting of the ECOSLO Hub organizations, Sharon Rippner of Citizen’s Climate Lobby spoke about the Environmental Voter Project, a nonprofit devoted to getting out the green vote. EVP’s research shows that voters consistently rank environmental issues among their lowest concerns in every election, which is a huge problem. Politicians want to win elections, and if environmental issues are a low priority for voters, they will be a low priority for policy makers. Yet polls also show that tens of millions of Americans strongly prioritize progressive environmental policies – the real problem is that these people do not vote. Indeed, even in recent nation-wide elections, over 15 million individually identifiable environmentalists have stayed at home on Election Day. Therefore, the key to getting powerful environmental policies in place might not be to persuade more Americans to be environmentalists; it may be as simple as getting more of our existing environmentalists to vote.
Citizen’s Climate Lobby is spearheading a local “Green Get Out the Vote” effort which Ecologistics and other local environmental nonprofits are participating in. We will be contacting members of our organizations, who we know are interested in progressive environmental policies, and who didn’t vote in the last election, to encourage them to make their voices heard on these critical matters by getting out and voting. A report of these efforts will be presented at the 2018 Central Coast Bioneers Conference on November 3.