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1,200+ U.S. Officials and Candidates Have Rejected Fossil Fuel Cash

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1,200+ U.S. Officials and Candidates Have Rejected Fossil Fuel Cash
Minnesota candidate Ilhan Omar is poised to become the first Somali-American elected to Congress. Sunrise Movement / Facebook

With record-breaking hurricanes, furious wildfires and an ominous report from the United Nations that forecasts catastrophic climate change, it's more important than ever to vote for leaders who are defenders of the environment.

Thankfully, we have candidates running for all levels of government who will take a stand on these critical issues and are promising ambitious climate policies if elected.


In fact, more than 1,200 elected officials and candidates running in local, state and federal elections are standing up to Big Oil and Gas and have taken the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge.

A number of high-profile candidates and incumbent lawmakers have joined the movement. This includes Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont; Rep. Beto O'Rourke—Ted Cruz's foe for Senate in Texas; New York's Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is on track become the youngest ever woman elected to Congress; Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum; and Randy "Ironstache" Bryce, of House Speaker Paul Ryan's Wisconsin district, who is trying to flip the seat blue.

The list also includes candidates who lost their bids, i.e. Cynthia Nixon, who ran for governor of New York.

"Taking the pledge means that a politician and their campaign will adopt a policy to not knowingly accept any contributions over $200 from the PACs, executives, or front groups of fossil fuel companies—companies whose primary business is the extraction, processing, distribution, or sale of oil, gas, or coal," the pledge website touts.

The No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge is a pointed effort against the Democratic National Committee, which decided in August to reverse a ban on fossil fuel donations.

You can use this search tool to see if your election candidates have taken the pledge.

The Sunrise Movement, a politically-minded organization of young people uniting to stop the climate crisis, has endorsed a full slate of candidates who have rejected fossil fuel cash and promise to fight climate change.

For instance, they've united behind Minnesota candidate Ilhan Omar, who is poised to become the first Somali-American elected to Congress.

"Ilhan has fiercely backed a moratorium on new oil and gas infrastructure, especially when it comes to the Line 3 pipeline. She's promised to stop tax loopholes and giveaways to fossil fuel executives, if elected to office and will support legislation to create good-paying, union jobs in the clean energy sector instead," the group writes.

There are other tools that environmental voters can use before heading to the polls. As Vox reported, Vote Climate US PAC has created a climate change voter's guide for House and Senate races that's based on what incumbents and challengers have said they'll do to address Earth's rising temperatures, from a carbon tax and their stated position on climate change.

You'll be unsurprised to find that the vast majority of the so-called "climate heroes" in the guide are Democrats.

"We all know that there are differences between Republicans and Democrats on the issue, but to me what was stunning was the extent of the divide between the parties," Karyn Strickler, president of Vote Climate US PAC, told Vox. "What this demonstrates is that climate politics are overwhelmingly driven by party."

The Sierra Club has also issued a voter guide and made endorsements for candidates and ballot measures. The environmental group has even created a personalized ballot based on your address.

There are many reasons to head to the polls on or before Nov. 6. Saving the environment should be one of them.

Former U.S. Sec. of Energy Ernest Moniz listens during the National Clean Energy Summit 9.0 on October 13, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Isaac Brekken / Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit

By Jake Johnson

Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.

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Climate change can evoke intense feelings, but a conversational approach can help. Reed Kaestner / Getty Images

Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.

"It's easy to feel dwarfed in the context of such a global systemic issue," says psychologist Renée Lertzman.

She says that when people experience these feelings, they often shut down and push information away. So to encourage climate action, she advises not bombarding people with frightening facts.

"When we lead with information, we are actually unwittingly walking right into a situation that is set up to undermine our efforts," she says.

She says if you want to engage people on the topic, take a compassionate approach. Ask people what they know and want to learn. Then have a conversation.

This conversational approach may seem at odds with the urgency of the issue, but Lertzman says it can get results faster.

"When we take a compassion-based approach, we are actively disarming defenses so that people are actually more willing and able to respond and engage quicker," she says. "And we don't have time right now to mess around, and so I do actually come to this topic with a sense of urgency… We do not have time to not take this approach."

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

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