Today is the Day
Today, November 6th, is a big day for local, state, and federal elections. And a big ballot can be extremely overwhelming. Every year, I find myself going back to the same questions around election time: what positions are up for election, who’s running in my district, and where do I find information on candidates? Even more importantly: why should I care? As someone with a passion for the environment, I also ask how my vote will impact resources and the natural world that I care for so deeply.
This year, all 435 seats of US House of Representatives are up for election, and the state of North Carolina has 13 representatives. The entirety of the NC General Assembly is also on the ballot, as well as most county and other local officials.
Your vote has an impact on all matters of social justice, but it can be easy to forget that your vote affects environmental legislation as well. For instance, members of the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) reside on committees that make legislative decisions regarding environment, natural resources, and public lands. Check out the NCGA website to see what committees are standing and which officials are on each committee.
Just like the NCGA, the US House of Representatives also form committees that make similar decisions on a federal level. These committees decide how federal funds are allocated for things like renewable energy research, Superfund cleanup sites, and the maintenance and protection of national parks.
Keeping up with all of this information can be daunting, but organizations like the League of Conservation Voters compile congressional votes on every bill that pertains to the environment.
Your vote decides who gets to make these decisions on behalf of everyone. Make sure you’re informed before heading to the polls by looking up a sample of your ballot here!
I used to think my voice was only heard on election day, but there is so much more that you can do after Tuesday. There are the obvious options, like writing to your elected officials when you’re particularly passionate about a topic to ensure they represent you as a constituent. But there are other ways to be heard as well, like the way you spend your hard-earned money. Consumerism is a powerful tool, and you can use it to support companies that share your values and priorities. Brands like Patagonia are part of the Time to Vote initiative, in which companies ensure their employees have the resources to vote.
This year, TB&C is partaking in the same initiative by closing the store on election day! As much as we love seeing everyone in the shop, it’s much more important to head to the polls!
Like many people, I get really uncomfortable when having political conversations. They can get heated pretty quickly, and can often drive a wedge between two people who would otherwise be amicable. While American democracy has been a divisive topic throughout our nation in recent years, we at TB&C are trying to put that passion towards informed and attentive voting.