United States

logoCities, towns, counties, states, regions, and countries all over the world are making large strides towards shifting to renewable energy sources (e.g., solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower, biomass, and wave/tidal energy).

Within the U.S., the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 program reports that (to date, as of early 2018), more than 50 cities, 7 counties, and the State of Hawaii have adopted the ambitious goal of 100% clean energy. The first five cities to hit their targets, generating 100% of their electricity from non-polluting, renewable sources, are:

In addition, Georgetown, TX is expected to hit its 100% renewable goal this year (2018). And the city of Palo Alto, CA currently provides 100% carbon-neutral electricity and carbon-neutral natural gas, by supplementing their use of renewables with carbon offsets (renewable energy certificates, which help fund renewable projects in other areas). Meanwhile, the other 50+ cities that have committed to achieving 100% renewable energy include several large cities, such as Atlanta, GA, San Diego and San Francisco, CA, and St. Louis, MO.

Worldwidemore than 40 cities now get all of their electricity from renewables, and more than 100 cities (including Seattle, WA, and Eugene, OR in the U.S.) now get more than 70% of their electricity from renewables; that is more than double the number of cities that met that threshold in 2015. Here’s a full list of the cities studied by the CDP (Climate Data Project). (Note: Some of these cities, especially in Latin America, use primarily hydropower; large dams are controversial, as they are environmentally destructive to ecosystems and habitats. Biomass & landfill gas sources are also sometimes controversial.)

A few of the countries that are leading the way on using renewable energy sources are: Iceland, Costa Rica, Germany, Uruguay, Scotland, Kenya, Portugal, and New Zealand.

Some programs that help cities and regions move towards 100% include:

Let’s all ask the leaders of our cities, towns, counties, and states (mayors, city council members, county supervisors, governors, and state legislators) to commit to a 100% (or at least 90%) renewable energy goal, and enact forward-thinking policies right away to move rapidly towards that goal. You can share these program links with them, so they will be aware of networks they can join and resources they can use in setting their policies and meeting their renewable energy goals.

One way to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy sources at a local level is to create a county-wide or regional Community Choice Energy program. Per the Center for Climate Protection, “Community Choice agencies are local, not-for-profit, public agencies that provide electricity services to residents and businesses. Community Choice introduces competitions and consumer choices into the electricity sector with a focus on local, renewable energy to stimulate rapid innovations in clean energy systems.”

Energy efficiency is also critical. It is as important as shifting to renewable energy sources, because the less energy we need/use (the lower the demand), the less we have to produce (supply) from any source. (All types of energy production, even non-polluting renewables, require material inputs and have impacts.) The Union of Concerned Scientists ranks states by their energy efficiency progress.  In 2017, they found that the most energy efficient states were: Massachusetts, California, Rhode Island, Vermont, Oregon, Connecticut, New York, Washington, and Minnesota.

 

For more information on cities with 100% renewable energy goals, see:

Also see these other 100% renewables efforts, for other sectors (beyond cities and towns):

 

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March 26, 2018
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photo by Erica Gies

photo by Erica Gies

Trees are life enablers and life protectors. They are air cleaners and oxygen makers, making it possible for us to breathe (i.e., live). They mitigate climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide; one tree can sequester up to 50 pounds of CO2 per year, and an acre of forest can absorb twice the CO2 produced by the average car’s annual mileage. Trees also filter some pollutants out of the water and soil, and they can prevent or control flooding. They provide habitat to many species. They provide shade (natural cooling, which reduces energy use for AC cooling). Some trees provide food (fruit and nuts) for us to eat. Being near trees boosts our mental health and clarity. Their presence increases property values for homes and neighborhoods, and they contribute much-needed beauty to our world. So many benefits.

Despite all of the ways that trees contribute to (and are necessary for) our health and wellbeing, a recent study found that during the past 12,000 years of human civilization, humans have wiped out almost half of the trees on earth. Around 15 billion trees are cut down each year (to make wood products, pulp, and paper, and to clear land for cattle grazing, palm oil plantations, other agricultural uses, and development). (Click here for other Forest Facts.) We are destroying our own life support system. We are also losing millions of trees to drought in some areas, and also to the growing number of severe wildfires, which are both worsened by climate change and simultaneously contributing to climate change through additional carbon emissions, in a vicious cycle (AKA a feedback loop).23208221_10155936458843007_9218184974786625536_n

We need to prevent deforestation, and also to reforest and regreen our world. We can start with our own yards, gardens, fields, or towns. Plant a tree, or two or three!

[NOTE: If you celebrate Christmas and you traditionally mark the occasion with a cut-down (i.e., killed) xmas tree, how about starting a new tradition: you could get a living (potted and replantable) tree instead (do a web search for the words “living Christmas trees” or “live xmas trees” and your county name to see if there are places near you that offer these; or just go get a live, plantable tree from a nursery). Alternatively, you could put ornaments or lights on a tree that’s already growing in your yard. Or get creative and make a wreath or a table/mantle decoration from evergreen trimmings, and forego having an xmas tree at all (gasp!). In a climate crisis (which is what we are in now), and with millions of trees being destroyed by wildfires, drought, and deforestation every year, I think it’s entirely fair and appropriate to question some traditions (such as our Great Annual Xmas Tree Massacre) and start up some new ones. Don’t you? Regardless of what you choose to do for Christmas, you can always make a donation to a reforestation group or a local tree-planting group. You will find a partial list of organizations below.]

You can also have a tree planted in someone’s name (e.g., “adopt” or “sponsor” a tree in their honor) as a gift for Christmas or any other occasion—through groups like the Arbor Day Foundation, Cool Earth, Trees for a Change, Redwood Forest Foundation, etc.

imagesfscOne good way to reduce extreme deforestation (the clear-cutting of forests) is to look for FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified wood and paper products, as well as Rainforest Alliance-certified products (see logos to the right)—and of course reduce, reuse, and recycle all forest/paper products.

Earlier this year, 1.5 million volunteers planted a record 66 million trees in 12 hours in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India. Other groups are starting to use drones to plant seeds or saplings, to reforest areas much more quickly and efficiently than can be done by hand (there have been articles on this in Fast Company and Wired magazine, among other publications). Note: Climate- and site-appropriate (native or adapted) trees should be selected when planting trees. And forests should not be planted over native, wild grasslands, which also sequester carbon.

There are many anti-deforestation efforts as well as local tree-planting and global reforestation organizations around the world, including:

Also check out these online tools:

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December 6, 2017
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We have published numerous posts that provide listings of various type of non-profit* groups (related to specific topics and issues), so we thought we’d provide an index of all of them to make them easy to find. Many of the groups that we’ve mentioned in our posts are based in the United States, but some are international organizations and a few are focused on other countries:

In the near future, we will be adding more organization listings, including anti-nuclear groups, Canadian environmental groups, midwestern environmental groups, wildlife protection/conservation and domestic animal protection groups, and others.

* NOTE: Not all of the organizations mentioned in the above posts are 501(c)(3) non-profits. If you want to know whether you would be eligible to get a tax deduction for your donation to an organization, please check with each organization.

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November 21, 2017
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1hx7bwmthtg5ekjaeb4fxegAlmost 2,300 businesses around the world (from more than 50 countries and 130 different industries) have now gone through the B Impact Assessment and have become certified as B Corporations (by B Lab), as of Autumn 2017. “The B Impact Assessment gives companies a score based on how they perform on metrics for impact on their communities, the environment, workers, and customers.” A few of the largest and most well-known B Corporations are: Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Seventh Generation, Method, Etsy, and Natura.

The annual Best for the World ratings highlight businesses that have scored in the top 10 percent of all Certified B Corporations on the assessment. “Companies that have scored in the top percentiles across a majority of the assessment’s categories, based on company size, are honored as Best for the World Overall, and companies that have scored in the top percentiles in a given category, again based on company size, are honored as Best for the Environment, Best for Community, Best for Workers, and Best for Customers.” This year, some companies have also been designated as Best for the Long Term (based on the company’s Governance ratings). In 2017, 846 companies have qualified for at least one of these Best for the World categories, and 176 companies are considered Best for the World Overall. Below we’ve listed a subset of those companies.

The following are 24 companies that not only achieved the 2017 Overall “Best for the World” designation, but also achieved at least two specific category ratings, including the Best for the Environment category:

A to Z  Wineworks

Alter Eco

Bolder Industries

Catalyst Partnersclimatesmart_logo_large_0

Climate Smart Business, Inc. (Canada)

Dopper BV (Netherlands)

Dr. Bronner’s

Eco-Bags Products

ECO2LIBRIUM (Kenya)

Ecotrust Forest Management (EFM)

Grounds for Change

Hepburn Wind (Australia)

Inesscents Aromatic Botanicals

MOVIN (Brazil)

New Belgium Brewing Co.

Northeast Green Building Consulting

Papel Semente Ind e Comercio (Brazil)patagonia4

Patagonia, Inc.

Saul Good Gift Co. (Canada)

South Mountain Company

SQUIZ (France)

xrunner Venture (Peru)

Yellow Leaf Hammocks

YouGreen Cooperativa (Brazil)

The B Corporations with some of the highest overall scores include: South Mountain Company (score: 183), ECO2LIBRIUM (score: 180), Patagonia, Ecotrust Forest Management (EFM), Trillium Asset Management, Portafolio Verde (Colombia), Alter Eco, Home Care Associates of Philadelphia, Yellow Leaf Hammocks, Dr. Bronner’s, and RSF Capital Management/Social Finance.

Click here to read stories about some of the Best for the World B Corporations.

And click here to find other B Corps, including ones in your region. (You can search by location, name, industry, or keyword.)

Related posts:

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September 28, 2017
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Part I: Action Lists, Groups, Online Tools, and Other Resources

Many of us are seeking effective ways to take action, to counteract, offset, mitigate, neutralize, resist, and fight the impending damage that will be done by members of the DT/Pence Administration and their attempts to corrupt and dismantle U.S. democracy. Many of us recognize that “business as usual,” the status quo, and complacency aren’t going to cut it anymore. We need to redouble our efforts, go beyond the edge of our comfort zones, take some giant leaps, speak out, refuse to accept the unacceptable—to “be the change we wish to see in the world,” and become our own heroes, rather than expecting other people to step forward and save us.

To get through these dark times without losing our minds, we need to make it a regular practice to take care of ourselves and find constructive ways to cope, and also to offer and request support from our friends and loved ones. We have to recognize that we are not alone; we are all muddling through this together. But in addition—to maintain our self-respect and act as compassionate humans and citizens—we should also find some way(s) to support and protect people from vulnerable and targeted groups, and to protest and take positive actions within our neighborhood or community, our town or state, and our country and world.

sleeping giantsIn the next couple of months, I will be adding a list of several specific steps and actions that you can take (in Part II, a separate post). In the meantime, please check out the existing tools and resources listed below. They include action lists, action campaigns, guides, articles, advice; as well as a list of trusted news sources; key organizations; people to follow online; and tools for staying sane and fostering hope.

Don’t feel obligated to explore all of these links. Just check out a few at a time; select a couple of them to follow or participate in, and if those end up not feeling useful to you after you’ve spent some time with them, pick a couple of other sites or groups (from this list or elsewhere) to follow or join. Note: I have not done a thorough vetting of all of these sites yet, so cannot vouch for every single one (and am not endorsing them), but I put a couple of my favorites in bold type. I’ll be adding more links regularly, as I discover new ones.

Useful articles

News sources

It’s important that those who can pay something for real journalism actually do so, so that real news outlets can survive and not be entirely driven out by the world of profit-driven, sensationalist media (and “fake news” or lie-spreading, non-journalistic websites). Choose at least one legitimate (truth-seeking, fact-checking, investigative) news source to subscribe to (as a paid subscriber), to show your support and to help keep them afloat. We can’t expect competent journalists and writers to work for free, and we don’t want them to be reliant solely on their major advertisers, who might expect publications to alter (or censor) their content to serve the advertisers’ special interests. Here are a few media sources that, to date, have regularly produced sound, informative reporting:

Key organizations

Here are some suggestions of the types of local, state, national, or international organizations that you might want to consider donating to, becoming a member of, or getting actively involved with.

Environmental:

Your state’s League of Conservation Voters; local and statewide renewable energy or climate initiatives (e.g., California’s Center for Climate Protection); local land conservation groups (e.g. a Land Trust in your county or region) and local habitat/wildlife protection groups;  Earthjustice, NRDC, Center for Biological Diversity, 350.org, Indigenous Environmental Network, Nuclear Information & Resource Service, Bold Alliance (Bold Iowa, Bold Nebraska, Bold Louisiana, Bold Oklahoma), Nature Conservancy, Earthworks, Greenpeace, Vote Solar, GRID Alternatives, Union of Concerned Scientists, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Fossil Free, WeForest, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, The Greening of Detroit

Societal:

Local food banks, shelters, homeless/housing groups, child abuse prevention and foster care organizations, non-profit health clinics and mental health services, education groups, senior services and veterans services groups; ACLU (including state chapters), SPLC, Teaching Tolerance, National Lawyers Guild, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, VoteVets.org, Common Cause, PFAW, Children’s Defense Fund, NARAL, Planned Parenthood (including your state’s group or a PP in a “red” state), Population Institute, Global Zero, Ploughshares Fund, VerifiedVoting, Carter Center, International Rescue Committee, UN Refugee Agency, Center for Media and Democracy, International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), Compassion & Choices, Meals on Wheels, MoveOn, Emily’s List, and California’s Courage Campaign; Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC), DSCC, DCCC, and Democratic Governors Association; Animal Legal Defense Fund, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF), SPCA.  (Also see the groups listed in the bulleted list near the top of the post.)

Also, if you grew up in or currently live in a Republican-governed or Republican-leaning state or county (or a low-income state or county) and you have the means, please consider donating to (or volunteering for) local organizations in your home state or hometown that will help protect people there (and their health and their land/water/environment) from the state or local government’s regressive policies. And consider getting involved in your local Democratic Party or other political organizing group.

Also see:

People to follow online

The people listed below have shown integrity, courage, intelligence, and/or leadership in their writings and their actions. Some are names you may already be familiar with, and others probably aren’t. While I don’t always agree with everything these individuals say or have said, I have often found their commentary to be informative or interesting. I will probably add more people to this list (and maybe remove some) over time. Take a look at what these individuals are saying on social media, and consider following some of their pages:

Rebecca Solnit, Dan Rather, Sarah Kendzior, Jason Kander, Bernice King, Robert Reich, Van Jones, Reverend Dr. Barber, Bill McKibben, Nicholas Kristof, John Pavlovitz, Lawrence Lessig, Ari Berman, Dallas Goldtooth, Antonia Juhasz, Laurence Tribe, Paul Krugman, Shaun King, Charles Blow, Nick Hanauer, Leah McElrath, Ian Milhiser, Sherilynn Ifill, Tony Schwartz, Mark Ruffalo

It’s also important to support and praise principled conservatives with a conscience, whenever they speak up for democracy and civil rights, challenge the DT Administration or the GOP leadership, and show compassion. A few conservatives who have shown that they have a backbone and think for themselves include:
Evan McMullin, David Frum, David Brooks, John Weaver, Andrew Sullivan, Colin Powell, Ana Navarro, John Dean, Chris Suprun, and Charlie Sykes. (Even some right-wingers like Bill Kristof, Peggy Noonan, and George Will have regularly spoken out against DT.)

And Republican politicians (current and former) who have sometimes spoken out against DT and who periodically demonstrate that they have a backbone or a conscience include: John McCain, John Kasich, Jeff Flake, Jon Huntsman, Bill Weld, Mitt Romney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the Bushes.

 

Tools for staying sane / retaining and creating hope

Try not to let yourself get so overwhelmed that you become paralyzed by the depth and breadth of the challenges and the many different ways there are to be of service to your community and world. Start by identifying one or two specific ways that you are most able to be involved (or groups to get involved in), and dedicate yourself to those. Pick something to do each day or each week or at least each month. Take sanity breaks when you need them, to avoid burnout, and you may find that you are gradually able to build your capacity over time. Regardless, the point is: Do something. Start where you are. Acknowledge your frustrations and the limitations of your individual impact, but remember that you are part of a widespread and growing, collective effort (even if other people’s efforts are not visible to you).

Here are a few resources for maintaining emotional balance, regaining perspective, or finding inspiration and motivation when you start to feel overwhelmed:

I have found that going for a long walk or a short hike can really help me regain the perspective that I need to move forward. What are some of your favorite strategies or readings for grounding or motivating yourself or coping with adversity?

Do take care of yourself, get enough sleep, and take a break when you need it, but never give up. Please never stop trying to make the world and our country a better place. And remember that you are not alone.

 

To be added soon:

  • Part II: Suggested actions to take
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January 13, 2017
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Almost 2,000 businesses around the world have now gone through the B Impact Assessment and have become certified as B Corporations (by B Lab), as of late 2016. “The B Impact Assessment gives companies a score based on how they perform on metrics for impact on their communities, the environment, workers, and customers.”

cover-art-221x300-1The annual Best for the World ratings “highlight the businesses that have scored in the top 10 percent of all Certified B Corporations on the assessment. Companies that have scored in the top percentiles across a majority of the assessment’s categories, based on company size, are honored as Best for the World Overall, and companies that have scored in the top percentiles in a given category, again based on company size, are honored as Best for the Environment, Best for Community, Best for Workers and Best for Customers.” This year, 515 companies have qualified for at least one of these Best for the World categories, and 140 companies are considered Best for the World Overall. Below we’ve listed a subset of those companies: companies that were deemed Best for the World Overall, and also qualified for one or two (of the four) specific “Best for” categories. (No companies have yet qualified for all of the “Best for” categories.)

The following are 20 companies that achieved the 2016 Overall “Best for the World” designation, as well as two specific category ratings, including the Best for the Environment category (and their second category would either be Best for Community, Best for Customers, or Best for Workers):

  • Eco2Librium (business consulting on energy and forestry enterprises)
  • Mobisol (solar energy for developing nations)brand
  • Revivn (electronic recycling for businesses)
  • Squiz (reusable food pouches; Switzerland)
  • Telesis Corp. (urban community regeneration, planning, finance)
  • Triciclos (recycling, waste management company; Brazil & Chile)
  • Wholly Hemp (skin care products)
  • X-Runner (dry-toilets/sanitation product & service for low-income households in Peru)
  • YouGreen (recycling and waste cooperative; Brazil)

These companies achieved the Best for the World Overall rating plus the Best for the Environment rating:

  • Accion Verde
  • Atayne
  • Comet Skateboards
  • Cuento de Luz
  • Dolphin Blue
  • Fazenda de Toca Organicos
  • Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods
  • Jibu
  • Northeast Green Building Consulting
  • One Earth Designs
  • RainGrid
  • Revive  (Belgium)
  • Seeds Printing
  • Sistema Biobolsa
  • The Arnold Development Group
  • W.S. Badger Co.

And these companies achieved the Best for the World Overall rating plus two of the other sub-categories (but not the Best for the Environment category):

  • Abacus Wealth Partners
  • Abramar
  • Australian Ethical Investment
  • Beneficial State Bank
  • Bridges Ventures
  • Build With Prospect
  • Clean Yield Asset Management
  • Eudaimonia
  • Farmland
  • HCA
  • Imajine That
  • Juhudi Kilimo
  • Roshan
  • RSF Capital Management
  • Saber Es Poder
  • Trillium Asset Management

 

Click here to read stories about some of these B Corporations, as featured in B Magazine.

And click here to find other B Corps, including ones in your region. (You can search by location, name, industry, or keyword.) A few of the largest and most well-known B Corporations are: Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Etsy, Sungevity, Seventh Generation, the Honest Company, Method, and Natura.

Related posts:

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November 28, 2016
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Regardless of what any polls might say, please don’t get complacent and assume this election will turn out the way you want or expect. (See: the Brexit vote.) Progressives can’t count on any state being a “safe state” where one can abstain from voting or can risk opting for a third-party vote that could end up helping the worst candidate get extra electoral votes and actually tip the outcome of the election, as it did in 2000 (when Nader votes that could have gone to Gore helped prevent Gore from winning Florida, New Hampshire, and almost Oregon, and Bush ended up winning the election by a very small margin). (The folly of voting for third-party candidates who can’t win in U.S. elections is a touchy subject that really deserves its own post, and I might write one later.) The survival of our very democracy—what remains of it—is at stake. I hope most people will remember and learn from history, rather than be doomed to repeat it.

statueoflibertyIn this election, many more states could serve as “swing” states than ever before, for a variety of reasons. This is not a normal election. It’s important to recognize that new voter suppression laws (including many restrictive ID laws and fewer voter protections, enabled by the Supreme Court’s evisceration of the Voting Rights Act after the last election), voter intimidation efforts, voter database purges in some states, voter database hacking (database breaches were detected this year in Arizona and Illinois, and were attempted in at least 20 states), and other such forces are sure to have a very negative impact on this year’s elections, so we need to do everything possible to counteract all of these attempts to curtail people’s right to vote.  I feel an extra responsibility to vote, since so many people who should be able to vote will not be able to (some only because they’re seniors or students who haven’t been able to get the “correct” form of ID in time).

Here are very specific ways you can help—10 steps you can take right now, leading up to, and/or on election day—to try to ensure a high turnout and the best possible (i.e., least egregious) election outcomes:

1. Verify that you are still registered to vote (at your correct, current address): Go to 866OurVote.org or CanIVote.org and click on your state and follow the links, or contact your county’s elections office. Thousands of voters may have been (wrongly) purged from the voter rolls in several states. Make sure you aren’t one of them, well before you arrive at the polls on Election Day. Also send / post these links for your friends, and ask them to check and re-check their registration status before the election.  If you’ve moved since you last registered or you are not yet registered to vote, register or re-register right away, if you still can (many states’ deadlines have already passed in October).  You can pick up a voter registration form at a Post Office (or a library or other government building) located in your county; or go to RockTheVote.com or 866OurVote.org, or better yet, go directly to your county’s election office to register.

The upcoming election is on Tuesday, November 8.  If there’s any chance that you won’t be able to get to your polling place before it closes on election day, fill out the absentee/mail-in ballot request form to receive a mail-in ballot before the specified deadline. When you receive your ballot, be sure to follow the instructions and fill it out carefully; sign it where specified and drop it off at a designated location (best option) or mail it in plenty of time (ideally well before Election Day) and be sure to put enough postage on your mail-in ballot when you send it in; in some cases, more than one regular stamp is required.

2. Sign up to help with voter registration drives, if the voter registration deadline hasn’t already passed in your state (check your Secretary of State’s website, or 866OURVOTE.org for the deadline), or help with a campaign’s Get Out the Vote efforts. You can help register voters or GOTV through your local Democratic Party office, among other groups. If you’re able to go to a “battleground” county or state, that’s great. NextGen Climate has a great web tool that makes it easy to text climate-voter millennials in swing states. Also, encourage students and young voters that you know (18+) to register to vote and to show up to vote. (Assist them in filling out their registration form completely, if they need help, and show them the state and county voting guides that explain what’s on their ballot.)

You can also help people figure out how to get the ID that they (might) need in order to vote in your state (see item #9 below), or drive them to the DMV to apply for their ID. In addition, though it is probably too late at this point (to qualify for this election), encourage and help anyone you know who has been wanting/trying to become a citizen to complete the naturalization process; you could even offer to help contribute to the steep citizenship exam fee.

3. Sign up to be an election worker at a polling place, through your County’s elections office or Secretary of State’s office, or volunteer as an official election observer or monitor, through groups like Common Cause, the League of Women Voters, your local or state Democratic Party, or various civil rights groups. Alternatively, you could volunteer to help staff the Election Protection hotline to answer voting-related questions and to record and respond to reports of voting problems. (Lawyers and law students are especially wanted, but anyone can help.)

4. Find out whether your state and county’s voting systems are reliable and publicly verifiable (i.e., have a paper trail that can be audited for accountability); most state and counties do use auditable systems with a paper trial, but some still don’t. For example, Georgia’s touchscreen voting systems do not currently employ best practices. Go to VerifiedVoting.org, which works for election integrity/preparedness, to learn more. While voter fraud (e.g., voter impersonation) is extremely rare and is not easy to get away with (so it not a cause for real concern), incidents of vote hacking (and voter registration hacking) could potentially occur in some states, counties, or precincts.

Contact your Secretary of State’s office and your County’s elections office to request that they take all precautions to prevent ballot hacking and tampering, and to provide secure and verifiable voting systems with an auditable paper trail.  Specifically, if you are in one of the states or counties that uses electronic voting machines, ask if you can use a paper ballot instead. And every voter should make sure they get their ballot receipt after voting, and keep it until the election has been certified.

5. Research all of the issues, propositions, and national, state, and local candidates that will be on your ballot, so that you are as informed as possible. Don’t base your decisions on campaigns’ (often deceptive) TV and radio ads or the (often corporate-funded) propaganda flyers you receive in the mail. Read the information that’s provided in your state and county’s official voter guides (which you should receive in the mail), as well as newspaper editorials and articles written by trustworthy, non-dogmatic analysts or journalists, and information provided by trusted organizations such as the League of Conservation Voters, League of Women Voters, etc. Given the prevalence of lying and mis-information (especially online and on social media), it’s important to check the veracity of any wild claims or personal attacks/smears: search the fact-checks on Politifact, FactCheck.org, and Snopes. To get additional information on what is on your ballot, and where candidates stand on specific issues, check out Vote411.org.

In California, Illinois, and New York, Voter’s Edge provides a helpful, non-partisan voting guide to help you make sense of what’s on your ballot. In California, there is also the California Progressive Voter Guide, a chart that shows what a variety of organizations think about each Proposition on the ballot. Educate yourself as much as possible. But if you still do not really know about or fully understand what a particular ballot proposition is about when it comes time to vote, it’s best not to vote on that issue.

6. Donate to candidates and issue campaigns that you support, at local, state, and national levels, and/or to your local (county or state) Democratic Party, the DSCC, DCCC, and Democratic Governors Association.  Also consider donating to or volunteering for an election integrity or voting-related group, such as Election Protection, ACLU, Common Cause, the League of Women Voters, MoveOn, 350Action, or others (we provided an extensive list of organizations in one of our previous posts).

7. Make your voting preferences known to your good friends and family, via conversations or posts on social media, without resorting to inflammatory insults (no one will listen to you if you’re suggesting that they’re an idiot or worse). You probably have more influence than you think, especially among your peers and others who respect you. I know it takes some courage; when you stick your neck out on political matters, a few people might want to chop it off and might lash out in a rude or offensive manner. But if you set a civil and positive tone (and only post truthful, substantiated information) and mostly focus on reaching out to people who you know personally, you’ll get fewer reactionary or vitriolic responses. Avoid telling people who they “must” or “have to” vote for (no one likes to be be told what to do). Simply state what you will do and why, and why you think it’s important. Post links to helpful and trustworthy election information, such as links for finding polling location, hours, etc. (e.g., 866OurVote.org, or your Secretary of State or County elections site).  Consider sharing this blog post (and our other election posts) with your friends. And on or before voting day, remind your friends to vote.

8. Volunteer to drive people to the polls, through direct offers or via your local Democratic Party.

9. Make sure you know what the current ID requirements are for voting in your state, and bring the necessary identification document(s) with you. Many states have instituted more restrictive (discriminatory) ID requirements since the last election or since 2010: including AL, AZ, FL, IA, IL, IN, KS, MS, NC, NE, NH, OH, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, WI, and WV. Go to 866OurVote.org, VoteRiders.org, or RockTheVote.com, call 866-OUR-VOTE, or contact your State or County’s elections offices to find out about your voter ID requirements.

 

10. And of course, on Election Day (or on an Early Voting day, if those are available where you are, or by mail-in ballot): PLEASE VOTE. Remind your friends to vote, and bring a friend with you.

If you experience or witness any voting problems or irregularities, report them to the Election Protection hotline (1-866-OUR-VOTE, or 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA) and to your County elections office and your Secretary of State; you could also report the problems to the DNC and to local media.

Also, make sure you get and keep your ballot receipt, and keep it for at least a couple weeks after the election, until the election is settled. Once all ballots have been counted, you should be able to confirm that your ballot was counted, by calling your County elections office or, in some places, you can check online.

Again, if you’ve opted to get a mail-in/absentee ballot, be sure to follow the instructions and fill it out carefully; sign it where specified and drop it off at a designated location (best option) or mail it in plenty of time (ideally well before Election Day) and be sure to put enough postage on your mail-in ballot when you send it in; in some cases, more than one regular stamp is required. Keep your ballot receipt.

 

Vote not just for your own sake, but for the sake of your family, future generations, vulnerable populations, other species, and the environment, atmosphere, and climate that we all share and depend on for life. Vote as if everyone’s future depends on it; it does.

 

Related posts:

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October 24, 2016
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This is the second part in my series of posts related to the upcoming election.
[Click here for Part I: Important Election and Voting-related Websites & Organizations.]
[Click here for Part III. Specific Ways to Help.]

logo_lcvVarious environmental groups make endorsements of candidates for Senate, House, and President. Some groups endorse a lot of candidates, and others focus their endorsements and advocacy on a smaller set. For example, the Sierra Club endorses candidates in many races, at all levels of government. NRDC Action Fund and NextGen Climate have only endorsed people for some Senate races and for President; not for House races. Climate Hawks Vote endorses a select set of candidates who have been especially strong climate leaders. Some groups limit their endorsements mainly to candidates in tight races, while others don’t. Each group has its own criteria, which you can learn about via the links to their sites (see the key below). Some groups will be adding additional endorsements as we get even closer to the election.

6a00d83451b96069e2019103a359ae970c-600wiTo find endorsements for Governors, state legislators, and local-level candidates or issues, find your state’s League of Conservation Voters and your local Sierra Club chapter and look up their endorsements. A few of their Governor endorsements are listed at the end of this post.

Below you can see which candidates (for Senate, House, and President) received endorsements from one or more of the following groups (as of 9/29/2016).

[11/16/16 UPDATE: Candidates who won their races have been identified in the listing below. “Won” has been added after their names.]

Key:

  1. League of Conservation Voters endorsement
  2. ActionFundLogo.v2Sierra Club endorsement
  3. NRDC Action Fund endorsement
  4. Climate Hawks Vote endorsement
  5. NextGen Climate endorsement

Senate

CA:            Kamala Harris (2, 3, 4see key) -Won
CO:            Michael Bennet (1, 2, 3) – Won
CT:            Richard Blumenthal (2, 3) – WonCHV_Logo2
FL:            Patrick Murphy (1, 2)
HI:            Brian Schatz (2, 3, 4) – Won
IA:             Patty Judge (1)
IL:             Tammy Duckworth (1, 2, 3, 5) – Won
LA:            Foster Campbell (2) – TBD
MD:          Chris Van Hollen (1, 2) – Won
MO:          Jason Kander (1, 2)
NC:           Deborah Ross (1, 2, 5)
NH:          Maggie Hassan (2, 5) – Won
NV:           Catherine Cortez Masto (1, 2, 3, 5) – Won20140429100313132_nextgen-climate-logo
NY:           Charles Schumer (2, 3) – Won
OH:          Ted Strickland (1, 2, 3, 5)
OR:          Ron Wyden (1, 3) – Won
PA:           Katie McGinty (1, 3, 5)
VT:           Patrick Leahy (1, 3) – Won
WA:         Patty Murray (1, 2, 3) – Won
WI:          Russ Feingold (1, 2, 3)

House
(in alphabetical order, by state and then by candidate’s last name)

AZ:           Ruben Gallego (2) – Won
AZ:           Raul Grijalva (1, 2) – Won
AZ:           Matt Heinz (2)

CA:           Pete Aguilar (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Doug Applegate (1)
CA:           Nanette Barragan (1, 2, 4) – Won
CA:           Karen Bass (2) – Won
CA:           Xavier Becerra (2) – Won
CA:           Ami Bera (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Julia Brownley (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Salud Carbajal (1, 2, 4) – Won
CA:           Bryan Caforio (1, 2)
CA:           Tony Cardenas (2) – Won
CA:           Judy Chu (2) – Won
CA:           Susan Davis (2) – Won
CA:           Mark DeSaulnier (2) – Won
CA:           Michael Eggman (1)
CA:           Anna Eshoo (2) – Won
CA:           John Garamendi (2) – Won
CA:           Mike Honda (2)
CA:           Jared Huffman (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Barbara Lee (2) – Won
CA:           Ted Lieu (2, 4) – Won
CA:           Zoe Lofgren (2) – Won
CA:           Alan Lowenthal (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Doris Matsui (2) – Won
CA:           Jerry McNerney (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Grace Napolitano (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Bao Nguyen (2)
CA:           Jimmy Panetta (2) – Won
CA:           Nancy Pelosi (2) – Won
CA:           Scott Peters (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Lucille Roybal-Allard (2) – Won
CA:           Raul Ruiz (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Linda Sanchez (1, 2) – Won
CA:           Adam Schiff (2) – Won
CA:           Brad Sherman (2) – Won
CA:           Jackie Speier (2) – Won
CA:           Eric Swalwell (2) – Won
CA:           Mark Takano (2) – Won
CA:           Mike Thompson (2) – Won
CA:           Norma Torres (2) – Won
CA:           Juan Vargas (2) – Won
CA:           Maxine Waters (2) – Won

CO:          Morgan Carroll (1, 2, 4)
CO:          Diana Degette (2) – Won
CO:          Ed Perlmutter (2) – Won
CO:          Jared Polis (2) – Won
CO:          Gail Schwartz (1, 2)

CT:           Joe Courtney (2) – Won
CT:           Rosa DeLauro (2) – Won
CT:           Elizabeth Esty (1, 2) – Won
CT:           Jim Himes (1, 2) – Won
CT:           John Larson (2) – Won

DE:          Lisa Rochester (1) – Won

FL:            Kathy Castor (2) – Won
FL:            Charlie Crist (1) – Won
FL:            Val Demings (1) – Won
FL:            Ted Deutch (2) – Won
FL:            Lois Frankel (2) – Won
FL:            Alcee Hastings (2) – Won
FL:            Al Lawson (1) – Won
FL:            Stephanie Murphy (1) – Won
FL:            Frederica Wilson (1, 2) – Won

GA:          Hank Johnson (2) – Won
GA:          John Lewis (2) – Won
GA:          David Scott (2)  – Won

HI:            Tulsi Gabbard (2) – Won

IA:            Dave Loebsack (2) – Won
IA:            Jim Mowrer (1, 2)
IA:            Monica Vernon (1, 2)

ID:            James Piotrowki (1)

IL:             Cheri Bustos (2) – Won
IL:             Danny Davis (2) – Won
IL:             Bill Foster (2) – Won
IL:             Luis Gutierrez (1, 2) – Won
IL:             Robin Kelly (2) – Won
IL:             Raja Krisnamoorthi (1, 2, 4) – Won
IL:             Mike Quigley (2) – Won
IL:             Bobby Rush (2) – Won
IL:             Jan Schakowsky (2) – Won
IL:             Brad Schneider (2) – Won

IN:            Shelli Yoder (1)

KY:           John Yarmuth (2) – Won

MA:         Michael Capuano (2) – Won
MA:         Katherine Clark (2) – Won
MA:         Bill Keating (2) – Won
MA:         Joseph Kennedy III (2) – Won
MA:         Jim McGovern (2) – Won
MA:         Seth Moulton (2) – Won
MA:         Richard Neal (2) – Won
MA:         Niki Tsongas (2) – Won

MD:        Anthony Brown (1, 2) – Won
MD:        Elijah Cummings (2) – Won
MD:        John Delaney (1, 2) – Won
MD:        Steny Hoyer (1, 2) – Won
MD:        Jamie Raskin (1, 2, 4) – Won
MD:        Dutch Ruppersberger (2) – Won
MD:        John Sarbanes (2) – Won

ME:         Emily Cain (1, 2)
ME:         Chellie Pingree (2) – Won

MI:          Paul Clements (1, 2)
MI:          John Conyers (2) – Won
MI:          Debbie Dingell (1, 2) – Won
MI:          Gretchen Driskell (1, 2)
MI:          Lon Johnson (1, 2)
MI:          Dan Kildee (1, 2) – Won
MI:          Brenda Lawrence (1, 2) – Won
MI:          Sander Levin (2) – Won
MI:          Suzanna Shkreli (2)

MN:        Terri Bonoff (1)
MN:        Angie Craig (1, 2)
MN:        Keith Ellison (2) – Won
MN:        Betty McCollum (2) – Won

MO:        Emanuel Cleaver (2) – Won
MO:        Lacy Clay (2) – Won
MO:        Bill Otto (2)

MT:         Denise Juneau (1)

NC:          Alma Adams (1, 2) – Won
NC:          G.K. Butterfield (2) – Won
NC:          David Price (2) – Won

NH:          Ann Kuster (2) – Won
NH:          Carol Shea-Porter (1, 2) – Won

NJ:            Josh Gottheimer (1) – Won
NJ:            Donal Norcross (2) – Won
NJ:            Frank Pallone (1, 2) – Won
NJ:            Bill Pascrell (2) – Won
NJ:            Donald Payne (2) – Won
NJ:            Albio Sires (2) – Won
NJ:            Bonnie Watson-Coleman (2) – Won

NM:        Michelle Lujan Grisham (2) – Won
NM:        Ben Ray Lujan (2) – Won

NV:          Ruben Kihuen (1, 2) – Won
NV:          Jacky Rosen (1, 2) – Won
NV:          Dina Titus (2) – Won

NY:           Yvette Clark (2) – Won
NY:           Joseph Crowley (2) – Won
NY:           Colleen Deacon (1)
NY:           Mike Derrick (2)
NY:           Eliot Engel (2) – Won
NY:           Adriano Espaillat (1) – Won
NY:           DuWayne Gregory (1)
NY:           Brian Higgins (2) – Won
NY:           Hakeem Jeffries (2) – Won
NY:           Nita Lowey (2) – Won
NY:           Carolyn Maloney (2) – Won
NY:           Sean Patrick Maloney (1) – Won
NY:           Grace Meng (2) – Won
NY:           Kim Myers (1)
NY:           Jerrold Nadler (2) – Won
NY:           John Plumb (1)
NY:           Jose Serrano (2) – Won
NY:           Louise Slaughter (2) – Won
NY:           Tom Suozzi (1) – Won
NY:           Zephyr Teachout (2)
NY:           Paul Tonko (1, 2) – Won
NY:           Nydia Velazquez (2) – Won

OH:          Joyce Beatty (2) – Won
OH:          Marcia Fudge (2) – Won
OH:          Marcy Kaptur (2) – Won

OR:          Suzanne Bonamici (1) – Won
OR:         Peter DeFazio (1) – Won

PA:           Brendan Boyle (2) – Won
PA:           Bob Brady (2) – Won
PA:           Matt Cartwright (1, 2) – Won
PA:           Christina Hartman (1, 2)
PA:           Steve Santarsiero (1, 2)
PA:           Kerith Strano Taylor (2)

RI:            David Cicilline (2) – Won
RI:            Jim Langevin (2) – Won

SC:           Jim Clyburn (2) – Won

TN:           Steve Cohen (2) – Won

TX:           Joaquin Castro (2) – Won
TX:           Llloyd Doggett (2) – Won
TX:           Pete Gallego (1, 2)
TX:           Vicente Gonzalez (1) – Won
TX:           Al Green (2) – Won
TX:           Gene Green (2) – Won
TX:           Eddie Bernice Johnson (2) – Won
TX:           Sheila Jackson Lee (2) – Won
TX:           Marc Veasey (2) – Won
TX:           Tom Wakely (4)

UT:           Doug Owens (1, 2)

VA:           LuAnn Bennett (1, 2)
VA:           Don Beyer (1, 2) – Won
VA:           Gerry Connolly (2) – Won
VA:           Suzan DelBene (1)
VA:           Jane Dittmar (2)
VA:           Donald McEachin (1, 2) – Won
VA:           Bobby Scott (2) – Won

WA:         Suzan Delbene (1, 2) – Won
WA:         Denny Heck (2) – Won
WA:         Derek Kilmer (1, 2) – Won
WA:         Joe Pakootas (2)
WA:         Adam Smith (2) – Won

WI:          Tom Nelson (1)

WV:         Mike Manypenny (2)

 

President of the United States

Hillary Clinton  (1, 2, 3, 5)

I think it’s worth noting that none of these five environmental organizations (or any other national environmental organization that I am aware of) have endorsed the Green Party candidate. There are a number of good, sound reasons for this, beyond just viability (ability to win). For one thing, outside of a handful of local races, the U.S. Green Party has not shown itself to be an effective organization; it does not have any traction or outreach to speak of, and it has not been an effective or outspoken advocate for environmental causes. It’s telling that, in between presidential elections every four years, no one (including those of us who have long been deeply involved in the environmental movement) hears anything about or from the Green Party. While the Party’s platform is strong on environmental issues, a platform is useless if there’s no organizational acumen or political clout or credibility to get that platform implemented.  But even more importantly, many of us remember what happened in the 2000 election: People who voted for Nader instead of Gore kept Gore from winning FL and NH—he only needed to win one of those states—(and Nader votes almost cost him Oregon, as well), and Bush ended up winning the election by a very small margin. People who don’t know or remember history are often doomed to repeat it. Please don’t repeat this travesty. Learn from history. Use hindsight and foresight. There is no such thing as a “safe” state for playing with your vote.

The stakes are even higher now than they were in 2000. DT is a neo-fascist, wannabe dictator with no regard for or understanding of democracy and zero interest in addressing climate change or environmental issues; if he were to be elected, it would be, as Andrew Sullivan put it, an “extinction-level event.”

 

Lastly, here are some state LCV organizations’ endorsements of a few state Governors:

MT:  Steve Bullock – Won

NC:  Roy Cooper – Won

OR:  Kate Brown – Won

VT:  Sue Minter

WA:  Jay Inslee – Won

 

Also see:
2016 Eection and Voting Information (Part I): Important Websites & Organizations
and
2016 Election (Part III): Specific Ways to Help

 

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September 30, 2016
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Important Websites, Organizations, and Other Resources for Voters

I encourage you to check out the following sites and organizations; follow, share, and support some of them; check your voter registration status; and get involved in some way (e.g., by sharing useful information and links, sharing your opinions in a civil manner, registering new voters, volunteering for a campaign, or working at or monitoring the polls on election day). Please vote and do whatever you can to get more pro-environment candidates elected to Congress and to state-level (and local) offices, and to prevent DT from getting elected. I’m not too proud to beg and plead. It’s not an overstatement to say that our future and the collective future of humanity and our planet will be significantly affected by the outcome of this election.

[Note: Several new links have been added in the weeks and months since this post was first published.]

Candidate Endorsements sc_voterguide_logo1-300x300

See our related (Part II) post for a list of Candidates Endorsed by Enviro Groups.

Candidate Information

Voting / Election Information
(check your current voter registration status, register or re-register to vote, get ballot/election information, ID requirements, poll location, etc.)

Voting-Related Advocacy Groups

Consider volunteering for or donating to your favorite candidates (for state, local, or federal offices) or to some of the election/voting groups listed above or groups such as:

Recommended articles:

“Voting isn’t a valentine. It’s a chess move.”
[In other words, your vote should be strategic; you don’t have to love the candidate or think she’s perfect.]
– Rebecca Solnit

“Our job is not to elect a savior. Our job is to elect someone we can effectively pressure.”
– Bill McKibben

 

Related posts:

I hope you’ll share this post with your friends and community.

progress-graphic-small

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July 20, 2016
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