7 environmental takeaways from the 2020 election period
Very well, that was interesting…and hair-elevating. At push time the harrowing presidential race of 2020…
Very well, that was interesting…and hair-elevating. At push time the harrowing presidential race of 2020 remains far too shut to call, as do a several key congressional and Senate seats. The Senate may possibly not even settle out right up until January, when Georgia will keep runoff elections and we are going to discover out which social gathering controls that household of government.
But although we hold out — patiently or normally — for people votes to be tallied, let’s take a instant to step again and appear at various major-photo environmental takeaways from the election period.
1. Local weather adjust arrived calling
In spite of the deficiency of real coverage debate — let’s facial area it, this was much less an election of tips and additional a contest of ideologies — climate alter played an unexpected and grateful role. That started most noticeably in the unannounced local climate issue in the course of the initially presidential discussion. Just after that several political adverts made climate an issue, and some Democrats stumped on it. We failed to see any speeches solely about climate, but Biden and Harris brought it up strongly many moments throughout the final days of the campaign.
And certainly, the quite authentic threats of weather alter played a function in driving people to the polls. A study executed last thirty day period discovered that 58% of Us citizens were being both “pretty concerned” or “relatively concerned” about the threats of local weather transform. That involved 90% of voters who favored Biden at the time. Biden and Harris spoke to that, and voters listened. Lifetime lesson: When you speak about and consider very seriously challenges that impact peoples’ lives, they lend you their ears.
This escalating help for weather motion signifies that if Trump ultimately wins reelection, and then carries on to dismiss climate (as he definitely would), there will be costs to shell out on the international phase starting in January and yet again at the polls in 2022.
2. The overlooked crisis
But the extinction disaster did not get any authentic enjoy in this election, even from progressive Democrats. Taking into consideration the outsized job of wildlife trafficking in the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, preserving biodiversity will require to develop into a key coverage initiative transferring forward.
Luckily lots of environmental corporations made this a essential connect with for the duration of the campaign, so we can assume to see some development on this if Biden is confirmed as the following president. (If not, expect far more Trump attacks on the Endangered Species Act and other wildlife policies.)
Racial inequality was just one of the key themes of the election, but the candidates did minor to tackle income inequality, the finest driver of political and social unrest in this state. If we you should not choose remarkable action about that shortly, it will give even further power to the Very pleased Boys, QAnon conspiracy junkies and their extremist ilk — and that will spill out into environmental concerns like livestock ranching, community lands protection and environmental justice.
Fortuitously the presidential and vice-presidential debates, and Democratic candidates on their own, produced a massive deal out of other difficulties connected to inequality, these as racism, LGBTQA+ rights and women’s rights. Regrettably, the truth that nearly half the nation voted to reelect a racist misogynist — and a lot of other candidates who rode on his coattails — does not bode very well for the upcoming. These are all issues that have deep environmental implications, so we as a persons and as a region need to have to do a large amount better.
Persons like to vote. And record figures turned out this yr, even amidst the pandemic. But who knows how several extra votes would have been counted — and how a lot of races would have had unique results — if not for the 29 Republican procedures for voter suppression used throughout this election?
So appear on, Republicans, end seeking to stop our citizens from carrying out their democratic responsibility. If you can’t participate in truthful, get out of the recreation. (And whilst you might be at it, quit suppressing science associated to pandemics and local weather change, ‘K?)
Absolutely everyone else: View your back. The exact Republican-appointed, Federalist Culture loyalist judges who have dominated (and may nevertheless rule) on so lots of of this year’s voting lawsuits will shortly uncover situations about local weather transform and other environmental threats on their dockets.
The Democratic Social gathering demands to refine its messaging on oil and gas. It is really bought some good procedures — this kind of as ending subsidies and halting enhancement on federal land — but that won’t relieve the fears of individuals terrified by a forced transition in their lives and careers. The evidence is distinct that these industries not only hurt the planet and peoples’ wellness, they’re also failing fiscally. The more rapidly we changeover people jobs, the a lot less soreness we’ll all feel when oil, fuel and coal collapse like a dwelling of playing cards.
6. Faux news
Speaking extra broadly, the media landscape continues to be hopelessly bifurcated, and that seeds division in just the place, reaching from politics to basic details this sort of as COVID-19 security steps and crises like weather transform. That demands to change. To address this concern, education and learning specifications should include things like instructing media literacy — and all grown ups really should be encouraged to learn how to spot disinformation and bias. (It is telling that Media Literacy Week 2020 was held the week in advance of the election.)
It truly is all a bit even bigger than this, naturally. Most people today self-recognize as belonging to — or diverging from — a single political party very first, then select the media outlet that supports that worldview. But the right-wing media notoriously spreads far more disinformation about environmental challenges, so discovering a way to crack that chokehold will go a long way towards bridging that divide.
7. Income, dollars, revenue
An obscene quantity of cash was collected and expended on this election — a record $14 billion, according to OpenSecrets, which tracks political spending.
On the just one hand, we noticed an remarkable increase in compact, person donations. That is great.
But company and PACs poured money into candidates’ coffers (possibly directly or in guidance of their strategies), and it felt like most of that went to fund blatantly dishonest campaign adverts.
And what is the ultimate value of those people donations? Will unique passions return with their palms out? We are going to under no circumstances know for guaranteed, due to the fact most of these pounds (on equally sides of the political aisle) are concealed from the general public file, while it really is definitely transpired ahead of. That requirements to modify if we ever hope to completely transform this financial system and save the world.