Here at Klean we're committed to protecting the wild places we love. The great outdoors provide so much for us in the way of adventure and inspiration, so it's only fair that we do our part to preserve mother nature. One important way to do that is through voting.
In order to help encourage people to get out and vote, Klean Kanteen is teaming up with two nonpartisan voter initiatives; #TimetoVote and #VotetheOutdoors
Being an environmental steward means engaging in local and national politics. Elections are one way that we can exercise our power as citizens and shape climate policy over the coming years. It's crucial for all of us to show up and vote this November, which is why we're sharing some tips below on how to make sure your vote counts on the issues you care about!
Time to Vote is led by the business community, asserting that “workers shouldn’t have to choose between earning a paycheck and voting.” By working with brands, this initiative ensures that more employees have the time, information, and tools they need to easily cast their vote.
Vote the Outdoors is a campaign run by the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA). The group estimates that the outdoor industry employs approximately 7.6 million people in the US and therefore holds significant voting power. However, a poll conducted by the Conservation Alliance in August found around 24.6 million self-proclaimed outdoors enthusiasts who said they might not vote at all.
Klean Kanteen's 2020 Voter Guide: Here's How You Can #VotetheOutdoors
Step 1: First things first; make sure you're registered to vote.Check your voter registration status here, and if you're not yet registered, you can easily start your registration process online. Many states' voter registration deadlines have already passed, so be sure to check on this ASAP to make sure you don't miss yours!
Step 2: Once you're registered, it's time to make a plan to vote. If you want to vote in-person, you can use this tool to find your polling place. Make sure you note the times that your polling location will be open so you can request time off work and plan your day accordingly.
Step 3: Some states are offering early voting and/or mail-in ballots so people can vote without risking exposure to COVID-19. These rules and deadlines vary by state, so be sure to check your state's protocols here. For absentee voters, remember that you don't need to return your ballot via mail - if you want to avoid USPS delays and ensure that your vote gets counted, you can drop off your completed ballot at a local polling place or elections office.
Step 4: If you do go to the polls in-person and you experience voter suppression, stand up for your rights by notifying a poll worker (if that feels safe) or calling the Election Protection hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
OK, I'm registered and I have a plan. Now, where do I find the outdoors on my ballot?
In order to ensure that you're voting for environmental policies and candidates who support action on climate change, you're going to need to do a bit of research before filling out your ballot. Start by using Ballotpedia's Sample Ballot tool to look up who and what you'll be voting on.
When deciding which candidates to vote for, it's helpful to start by looking at the "issues," "platform," or "policy" page on their website. What is their stance on climate? Do they support a carbon tax or a Green New Deal? Look for specific commitments and clear plans of action, as political candidates will often use broad and confusing language to make you think they're more supportive of an issue than they really are.
The same can be said for propositions and ballot measures. In some states, these ballot initiatives offer an opportunity for voters to have a say in local policy decisions - so it's important to make sure you know what the implications are for each policy.
If you need some help figuring out whether the politicians and policies on your ballot are actually good for the planet, there are a number of resources and guides you can turn to for advice.
- The Outdoor Industry Association put together a #VotetheOutdoors guide that details key races and important policies.
- The No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge says that any candidate who signs on can't take more than $200 from fossil fuel executives, lobbyists, or PACs. Go here to see if your candidate has taken the pledge.
- The League of Conservation Voters keeps an environmental policy scorecard that shows you how incumbents have voted on climate policies in the past.
- Ballotpedia hosts an ongoing environmental policy guide that breaks down initiatives happening on the national, state, and local levels.
No matter where or who you are, you can take action to vote the outdoors in this election and beyond. This planet that we all call home needs us. Alone, we may just be one vote, but together we can make a difference.
Together, We Can Vote To Protect Our Planet
Voting is a crucial part of environmentalism. But we only get to vote every so often, and not everyone gets that opportunity. Luckily, there are ways that we can all #VotetheOutdoors through our daily choices and collective action.
Choosing reusables and living an environmentally friendly lifestyle is one way that we all vote with our dollars to protect the planet. Another way that we can get involved is by joining or supporting an organization that takes action on climate every day of the year. You can sign up to take electoral action through 350.org, advocate for policies that protect the wilderness with Conservation Alliance, get involved with direct action through Protect Our Winters, or dig into local politics by joining a chapter of the League of Conservation Voters.
About the Author
Written by Faye Lessler, a California-born, Brooklyn-based freelance writer and founder of lifestyle blog, Sustaining Life. She enjoys writing mission-driven content while sipping black tea in a beam of sunshine.