midterm elections














The 2014 midterm election will take place on Tuesday, November 4th.  Historically, midterm elections do not attract as many voters as presidential elections.  However, there are many issues at stake, particularly on the state and local levels, that affect our daily lives, often more than national issues.  Maybe you have decided not to vote in the midterm election, or perhaps, you think you have figured out how you are going to vote.  Here are some observations and final thoughts, which may get you out to the polls or may make you ponder your choices further.

Green issues and sustainability are front and center.

Perhaps the most noticeable thing about these midterm campaigns is the emphasis on green issues and sustainability.  Energy, the environment and climate control are front and center this election cycle.  So this is a special election for proponents of green living and sustainability.  Although supporters of the environment and healthy living have never required the validation by anyone or any organization, including major political parties or elected officials, to “do the right thing” to protect our planet, the fact that these issues now are central in the dialogue on government agenda, indicates a realization of the need to formally address concerns with pollution and depletion of natural resources.  As such, we owe it to ourselves and the planet to get out and vote.

Additionally, it is important to note the cost of indifference at the ballot box.[1]  If you listen carefully, much of the conversation and debate on green issues is coming from special interest groups.  Not all proposals are good for the environment overall.  Some proposed legislation needs to be rejected.  When evaluating these issues, do not rely on commercials– 30-second sound bites that do not tell the whole story.  For instance, in campaigns that promise to cut taxes, one message does not fit all situations.  Some things are worth paying for, namely education, clean water and good roads for starters.

Construction vs. Destruction.

Many people decide not to vote in midterm elections because the political climate often becomes so toxic, complete with name-calling, spreading false information and labeling, that voters become so frustrated with the process, they often disengage.  Consider this instead.  Rather than tuning out, get engaged.  Look carefully at the issues involved.  The important thing to take away from this conversation is that the goal of electing someone for a political office should never be about destruction of any laws or conditions solely for political purposes.  Rather, it should be about building something for the improvement of society.  Beware of messages from politicians that only want to tear down something with nothing better to replace it or those who are so heavily funded by special interest groups that they are unwilling to consider any collaborative efforts to address issues.  For example, why can’t solar, electric and fossil fuel energy coexist with continuing research efforts to improve the efficiency of each type of energy?

Reject the restrictions of labels.

Peel back the labels.  No one political party can totally address the issues at hand.  Rather, collaboration will work better to get the job done.  Identify the issues important to you as a citizen and vote for the candidate that you think will do the best job, regardless of party affiliation.  Also, take a look at any independent candidates.  You may be presently surprised to see people willing to commit to issues when they are not bound by party affiliations.  It is often said that “past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior.”  To that end, rather than listening to what any politician is saying to get elected, it may be best to check that individual’s record.  A great source to review the voting record of any politician can be found here.

Political Parties Crossroads Sign Democrat and Republican















Don’t let the race be given autommatically to the rich.

Face it.  We live in a time when the often the winners of political races are the ones with the most money.  Everyday we hear about how much money a candidate has in his campaign chest.  These individuals are able to bombard the airwaves with their messages and drown out the underfunded candidates, who often are more suitable people to represent the general population because they are not beholding to special interest groups.  A major step in promoting sustainability and healthy living is to reject this mentality, beginning with the realization that these commercials and advertisements most often lack full and truthful disclosure.  So many large companies tout sustainability but are abysmal failures at it, all in the name of the bottom line.[2]  It is important to research candidates to see who are backing them.  Vote with a conscious and not just along money lines.

Keep state and local initiatives close to heart.

It is safe to say that we all want safe communities, good schools, clean and efficient transportation and green space for recreation and relaxation.  Look to local and state initiatives to achieve these things, often through bond issues at the ballot box.  Whether you or for or against the legalization of marijuana, expect that to show up now or sometime soon at an election.  Perhaps there is a rogue delegate or state senator in your district, recall ballots are the way to get rid of them.






















If you sit down and seriously think about it, there are more reasons to vote than to not vote.  We hope that you will engage the political process and use your vote for change this election, particularly to address the environmental, energy and green issues plaguing our planet.  To do so is to live green, be green.


[1]  http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/09/01/politics-midterm-elections-president-obama-congress-editorials-debates/14942079/
[2]  http://www.businessinsider.com/the-15-worst-companies-for-the-environment-2009-9?op=1

Now that the 2012 election is over, Monday morning quarterbacks are examining their play books to determined what did and did not work and where they stand on their key issues.  The same holds true for proponents of green initiatives.  The commitment and actions of green coalitions, scientists and ordinary committed citizens over the past few years have yielded remarkable results in the fight to give climate change and global warming the attention it requires.  While it is unfortunate that it took Hurricane Sandy’s catastrophic descent on major northeastern urban centers in this country to garner the call to action from political leaders, it still is important to recognize that the platform is here now.  With the visual record of Sandy’s attack fresh in our minds and the costs of the devastation still rising, it is mandatory that we use this window of opportunity to aggressively move forward to advance a green agenda to address the problem of climate change.

Today we celebrate the reelection of Barack Obama, who, in his victory speech, specifically addressed the need for a country “that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet“.  Our agenda finally has made it to the national spotlight.  As concerned citizens, we must hold the President and other elected officials accountable for addressing this problem.  To do this, the green movement must rethink and regroup its strategies with the goal to establish a major voting block inclusive of all people committed to protect and preserve the earth.  We particularly need the energy of young people ages 18 to 30, who have a real stake in this movement because the condition of the planet directly affects their tomorrow.  With a strong lobby and voting block established, the green movement can secure the commitment of elected officials and candidates who have the option of effectively representing this voting block or face defeat.  This is our time to propel climate change to the position it deserves, upfront and center with health care, foreign policy and the economy.  This is a natural progression as this issue is fully woven into the pattern of all of every existing item on the national agenda and can no longer be ignored.

As we address the hard work ahead for the green movement, it is important that we celebrate the victories achieved in this election.

  • The persistent efforts and education by the League of Conservation Voters and other policy interest groups and watchdogs resulted in the defeat of three “Flat Earth Fivers”, namely Joe Walsh of Illinois, Ann Marie Buerkle of New York and Francisco Conseco of Texas.
  • Rhode Island voters approved a bond for $0 million to fund wastewater and drinking water projects.
  • The state of Maine approved several water, sewer, conservation and transportation bonds.
  • The city of Longmont, Colorado anti-fracking activists were successful in upholding a ban on hydraulic fracking and storage of fracking waste within city limits.
  • Seattle, Washington voters overwhelmingly approved a 30-year bond for $290 million to rebuild the Elliott Bay seawall.

There were a lot of lessons to be learned from this contentious election campaign.  Perhaps the most important is the admonition by former President Bill Clinton at the Democratic Convention that “we are all in this together’.  With this in mind, let’s use this new day to roll up our sleeves and work hard to live green, be green.

From Darkness to Light - please read

From Darkness to Light – (Photo credit: ecstaticist)