Ten Ways to Make the Environment Matter on November 2
by John Byrne Barry
"Every vote makes a difference. But some votes make more
of a difference than others."
Election Day is coming fast. And there's still time to make a difference.
While war and the economy are dominating the attention of Americans,
for one in ten voters, the environment is the most important electoral
issue, according to a Yale Survey in May 2004.
Environmental voters have the power to swing the 2004 election.
In Florida, where the margin of victory four years ago was 567 votes,
there are more than 200,000 "environment first" voters.
Unfortunately, many of these "environment-first" voters
don't always make it to the polls. So getting them there is one
of the Sierra Club's top priorities this November.
"Every vote makes a difference," says Debbie Sease, director
of the Club's Environmental Voter Education Campaign. "But
some votes make more of a difference than others."
In other words, we need your help.
Here are ten ways to make the environment matter on November 2.
1. Tell your friends.
The biggest single reason that infrequent voters vote is because
someone asks them. You can be that person.
Urge your friends, family, and neighbors to learn more about the
environmental records of the candidates and to vote on November
2. You can look at a side-by-side comparison of George Bush and
John Kerry on pages 4 and 5. (Feel free to clip and copy, or go
org/resources/bushkerryfact.pdf.) And you can find and forward
this list of ten ways at sierraclub.org/insider.
2. Educate yourself.
The side-by-side comparison of Bush and Kerry is a good place to
start. Or visit the Sierra Club's Web site-sierraclub.org-where
we're counting "100 Reasons to Get Involved," with a new
reason every day until November 2.
3. Walk and talk.
Join a voter-education walk or phone bank in your community. If
you live in Philadelphia, for example, every weekend you can join
environmental advocates going door-to-door to educate voters about
the candidates' records on clean air and clean water. Four days
a week volunteer phone-bankers cram Club offices downtown or in
year, the Club voter education program is reaching thousands of
voters in Philadelphia and ten other communities-Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania;
Tampa, Florida; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota; Las Vegas and Reno,
Nevada; Albuquerque/Santa Fe, New Mexico; Columbus, Ohio; Portland,
Oregon; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the state of New Hampshire. For
contact information visit sierraclubvotes.org.
4. Give money.
Every $50 donation creates 30 more direct contacts with environmental
voters in critical battleground states. Go to sierraclub. org/politics
to find out how to contribute.
5. Hit the road.
What if you don't live in a battleground state and you want to make
Enter the Sierra Club's Road
to Somewhere program. By November 2, Club volunteers and staff
will talk to tens of thousands of voters on the phone and at their
doors, telling them about Bush and Kerry's records on the environment
and urging them to vote. While local activists will do most of this
work, the Road to Somewhere program is a way for committed volunteers
to reach across state lines and help where help is needed most.
In September, for example, Club volunteers from the Illinois Chapter
headed north to help with door-to-door outreach in Milwaukee. Massachusetts
Chapter members went next door to New Hampshire. Loma Prieta Chapter
members hopped on a bus from the San Francisco Bay Area to Reno.
And if you don't live near a battleground state or want to help
without leaving town, you can make phone calls, either from your
own home or, in some cases, from another member's home or a Sierra
Club office. The Sierra Club supplies phone scripts and call lists.
(See a sample phone script and more.)
or go to sierraclubvotes.org
and click on "Road
6. Register to vote.
If you're not yet registered to vote, you may still have time. Registration
deadlines vary by state. Most are between 10 and 30 days before
the election. You can get a national voter registration form and
instructions at sierraclubvotes.
While you're at it, encourage five of your friends and neighbors
to do the same. Remember, millions of people move every year, and
many of them neglect to register at their new addresses.
7. Pick up a pen.
Write an editorial to your local paper contrasting the candidates'
records on environmental protection and urging readers to get the
facts before they vote. Letters to the editor are one of the most
widely read parts of the newspaper. Here are some tips
on writing an effective letter.
8. Open your mouth.
Call a radio talk show to talk about the candidates' records on
9. Host a party.
Have fun. Invite your friends, family, and neighbors. Talk about
how the candidates' environmental priorities affect your community.
Contact your Club chapter for mailing lists and house party tips.
10. Vote. And urge others to.
Make sure you get to the polls and vote on November 2. Also, consider
ways you can help friends and family to vote, like calling to remind
them or offering to drive them to the polls on Election Day.
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