VOTECLIMATE.NET is an initiative by friends of Green Team America, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that promotes education and action for sustainability. Their aim is to mobilize university students and first time voters this election cycle to become the torch bearers for climate change. We have conducted a short interview with Kim Heismann the campaign manager of VOTECLIMATE.NET:
How did you get yourself in VoteClimate?
As someone who is extremely concerned about recent climate disruptions, I have been monitoring the presidential election waiting for them to speak up about topics like climate change. All indications are that Climate Change, like it or not, is something we need to factor into our everyday life. The facts are daunting: 40,000 weather records were broken in the US this year alone. With the arctic ice melting faster than ever, it means less reflection of sun off the North pole and therefore an escalation of extreme weather ahead. Less ice means more water in the ocean and the very real prospect of ocean levels rising. If the ocean level rises by 5 meters, one fourth of Louisiana and one fifth of Florida will be under water.
I expected this election to go differently.
I thought the debate between the Presidential candidates would weigh in heavily on this issue, like it did back in 2008 just after Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ was released. Once I realized that they were being almost totally silent on this issue, I knew I had to do something. So a few of us who are on the Board of Directors of a non-profit organization called Green Team America, a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization, got together and we designed a campaign, last minute!
What is your level of involvement?
I am the Campaign Manager and I work with Mark Kamin of Mark Kamin and Associates as well as his daughter, Jennie Kamin a recent graduate of Tulane University. I have organized and produced a number of campaigns through my company, Bespoken Corporate Communications and previously Pop Sustainability which I founded in 1998 to popularize sustainability through film, fashion, music, art, spoken word and more.
Moving forward, what are the possible actions by the people who are concern about this issue?
1) Learn more about the threat of climate change to humanity by visiting our website at www.voteclimate.net
2) Sign the pledge on the VOTECLIMATE.NET website and Facebook Page www.facebook.com/VOTECLIMATE.NET
3) Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/VOTECLIMATE.NET and by Follow us/re-tweet our messages @voteclimate2012, or post on your own blog or Facebook Page anyone can forward the action in a minute or less!!
4) Create a team for the VOTECLIMATE.NET Challenge where students create campaigns, Get Out The Climate Vote, and stand a chance to win $1000. Vote Climate is offering generous training in quick campaign development and leading/managing teams as well as the opportunity to influence the outcomes of the election in a critical way. You can find out you have an influential voice you didn’t know you had!
5) Vote! Be sure you are registered to vote (www.turbovote.com) and VOTECLIMATE!
What does VoteClimate.net consist of? What are its strengths?
Working to our advantage is that young adults – the millennial generation, many of whom are voting for the first time this election—are the best educated, most knowledgeable and most active generation on social media. We can mobilize them and they can mobilize their friends pretty quickly these days.
Also working to our advantage is Mitt Romney’s Tea Party stance to deny Climate Change entirely. It’s absurd that someone who wants to call themselves a leader of this country in this day and age could take that position. If he were to at least accept climate change as real and have a plan to move forward, it would make the voters’ job much more difficult to distinguish between the candidates!! Big mistake Mitt!!
How can people do their part to prevent the "Silent Autumn"?
The reference to “Silent Autumn” is Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”, a book which most people agree jumpstarted the early popular environmental movement. I remember when I read it when I was about 12 years old and I had my first of many “AHA!” moments of clarity about what has been happening to Earth as a result of human activity. The book celebrated 50 years since it was published just last week. We cannot afford our leaders, those receiving the most attention this autumn, not to be straight forward about climate change. This misleads the American public into believing it is NOT an urgent or pressing issue. A tragic mistake.