“The idea is to change the nature and value system of the nation as whole”― Sunday Adelaja
It’s a frustrating time to be a progressive voter. On one hand, the existing power structures seem inclined to corporatism and incrementalism, when what we need are sweeping changes, fast. On the other hand, the opposition parties in many countries seem actively regressive, and so the choice seems to be vote for the status quo and hope to inch it forward or risk sliding backward.
It also doesn’t help that world leaders spend a lot of time pointing fingers at each other, insisting that the other country needs to go first when it comes to cutting emissions and reducing pollution. While it’s true that certain countries have outsized numbers because of the size of their population (e.g., China) or the size of their economy (e.g., the USA), the truth is all of us, particularly the rich, so-called “developed” nations have terrible numbers on a per person basis. For example, Canada emits 16.1 tons per person versus India at 1.9 per person.1 In fact, on this basis, Canada is worse than China and India combined! So don’t assume your country is doing well based on overall numbers. Dig into the data, and use these numbers when you take action. Speaking of which:
How to Take Action
- Vote! The nail-biting closeness of the 2020 US elections is evidence enough that every vote does count. Make sure you vote in every election that you can, at every level, but especially the national level.
- Work against gerrymandering, which can happen anywhere. Make sure your voting district hasn’t been tinkered with such that it favours one party over another.
- If you can’t vote to move forward, at least vote to prevent harm (to yourself but especially to vulnerable and marginalized populations). Do consider what splitting the progressive vote in your district might do before marking that ballot. The same goes for deliberately spoiling your ballot or abstaining from voting. It might give you a temporary righteousness boost, but it won’t change a damn thing, except maybe to make things worse.
- Email or call your current national representative and be sure they know how you feel about environmental issues.
- Change things from the inside: actively join the party that has the best chance of forming a government and start grassroots work to make the party platform progressive.
- Join big organizations that change things from the outside. Groups like the World Wildlife Federation, Greenpeace, and others have enough members (and funding) that they can browbeat governments into being better from time to time.
- Protest! Join or organize peaceful demonstrations.
In our next post, we’ll discuss the power behind the throne: big corporations.