If you are a human living on planet earth (which most of us are), then clean energy is an issue that affects your life and your future. It is most definitely “on the ballot” this November.
It doesn’t take much to see how differently candidates for office see our future – some want to increase Americans’ access to solar, electric vehicles, and other sources of renewable energy, while others want to stay entrenched in polluting, climate-harming energy sources that rely on fossil fuels. We need people in power who listen to scientists rather than downplaying the certainty and scale of the climate crisis at hand.
We need to let candidates know voters care about clean energy and plan to elect candidates that do, too. It matters for federal, state, and local elections too—places where much of the clean energy action is happening.
Americans want clean energy
Americans across the political spectrum recognize the importance of climate change as an issue and want clean, renewable energy now. Roughly half of registered voters say climate change is either “very important” or “one of the most important issues” in their vote for who represents them in Congress.
With increasing weather extremes and hurricanes, climate change is now top of mind for many Americans. In fact, public support for government climate action is higher among U.S. adults who have been personally affected by extreme weather events than those who have not. Bold public investment in clean energy is critical to moving us towards a better future.
Across both sides of the political spectrum, there is broad support for clean energy policy. In fact, many red states are poised to benefit from clean energy development and local jobs, especially as the South turns into a hub for EV manufacturing.
Climate doesn’t have to be as partisan as we’ve made it out to be. Climate Leadership Council CEO Greg Bertelsen argues that “Republicans in Congress can work on climate change and be on rock solid ground with their base,” pointing to their candidate’s success in previous election cycles.
In a time of polarization, clean energy continues to poll as a winning issue. The 2021 cycle offers many examples of candidates who emphasized clean energy and climate change more than before, and won. For example, Michelle Wu was elected mayor of Boston following a campaign in which she emphasized environmental justice, sustainable transit, and the need to cut carbon emissions across the economy.
If you care about climate change, head to the polls
Politicians listen to their constituents, so showing up and voting is just as important as who you cast your ballot for. We need more voters showing up at each election and at town halls, telling their representatives that climate is an issue that matters to them.
Since 2015, Environmental Voter Project has contacted 8.6 million non-voters and seldom-voters, and over one million of those people have become “super-voters,” meaning they cast a ballot in every election. These were all once environmentalists who never or rarely voted, but now they consistently vote their values, electing climate champions and voting for clean energy. Now every election, one million more voices elevate the importance of climate as an important issue not to be forgotten.
Your vote matters, so make sure it counts
So if you’re ready to head to the polls, make sure you’re registered and know where your polling place is. Until election day, it’s time to be vocal and influence your networks. Tell your friends and co-workers about why you are voting and what issues matter to you—hint: climate change, clean energy jobs, affordable energy, etc. You can also level-up and take your advocacy to the next level by volunteering with Environmental Voter Project and help turn environmentalists into voters, or volunteer to help staff your local polling place and ensure we have safe, fair, and efficient elections for all.
Want to know who the best climate champions are in your upcoming state and local elections? Check out the nationwide candidate endorsements from Sierra Club. Climate Cabinet has some handy state scorecards for AZ, MN, TX, and NC. Your local Sierra Club chapter should be able to provide greater details regarding local races and ballot measures, too. The League of Conservation voters has a national environmental scorecard, too.
Americans support climate policies, but at the same time, we underestimate popular support for climate action by nearly half. The climate movement can’t afford to only get political every 2 or 4 years—having climate champions in local offices are key to moving climate policy forward year-round.
We need your voice. Show up to the polls this election—and every election—to vote clean energy.