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Activists Team Up To Put Climate Awareness On The Ballot

Karen Lee

Climate activist groups in the Shenandoah Valley have teamed up for a project collecting video testimonials.  It’s an effort to urge voters to consider the environment as they vote in this election season. WMRA’s Calvin Pynn reports.

Although climate change is one of the most urgent concerns on the ballot this November, environmentalists have not been known for showing up at the polls in recent years. Data from the Environmental Voter Project shows that more than 10 million eco-minded registered voters skipped the 2016 election.

But why is that?

Credit Earth Day Every Day
Karen Lee is a member of both the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley and Earth Day Every Day.

KAREN LEE: For example, a lot of people recycle, but that’s really about the only thing they do, and they may not have taken that extra step to realize that they have a huge part to play.

Karen Lee is a member of both the Climate Action Alliance and Earth Day Every Day. She spearheaded the “One Minute for Earth” project to mobilize environmentalists ahead of the 2020 Presidential Election.

LEE: If we got a large variety of people to talk and just be a shining example, then people might relate to them, to give people a chance to say this is what I care about, and this is why I’m voting earth.

(Sound of clips for “One Minute to Earth” videos)

BJ BRYSON: I want my grandchildren to be able to see what I have seen, even though I see the impacts of sea level rise.

IRVIN PECKHAM: I can’t in any way understand people who are thinking in terms of now, the economy as opposed to preserving the earth.

BRYANT BEVERLY: If we can’t come together at least over this most crucial issue, then Gaia will no longer deem us worthy of calling her our home.

That’s just a few voices out of more than 30 people around the Shenandoah Valley who submitted their videos talking about their connection to the environment, and what they do to help it.

ANYA NEWMAN: We can go paperless, we can shop sustainably, we can donate to organizations that protect our forests…

SANDRA PARKS: Middle schoolers have asked really good questions about pipelines: what if they leak, what if it explodes?

Credit James Madison University
JMU's Wayne Teel also contributed a video for the project.

Wayne Teel is a geographic science professor at James Madison University who also contributed a video to the series.

WAYNE TEEL: A lot of action is rooted in understanding that the local is connected to the big issue.

It may be just a drop in a very large bucket, but every little bit helps, and by seeing what your neighbors are doing, that – we hope – can help encourage other people to get started.

The “One Minute for Earth” videos will be part of a virtual showcase streaming on Earth Day Every Day’s Facebook page on Friday night.