The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Young people are the demographic most passionate about protecting the environment and addressing climate change, perhaps because they're the one who will have to live with it the longest. The problem is they're also the least likely group to vote. That means that their voices and their concerns are often drowned out by the well-funded lobbying of fossil fuel interests.
Now the nonpartisan group Headcount.org, which uses musicians and other celebrities with appeal to a younger audience to drive voter participation, has announced a massive Election Day social media push to get people to #GoVote. The organization hopes to reach the so-called "drop-off" voters who cast ballots only in presidential years, not realizing the significant impact of midterm elections.
And while Headcount.org doesn't endorse candidates or positions, more younger voters casting ballots is good news for the planet, likely leading to elected officials paying more attention to issues young people care about, like fracking and the Keystone XL pipeline. A poll from the University of Texas at Austin, released this week, found voters under 35 are significantly less likely than those over 65 to vote for candidates who favored building the Keystone XL or expanding offshore oil development and much more likely to vote for one who supported reducing carbon emissions, expanding incentives for renewables and decreasing coal use.
“The incumbent Congress is the least popular in history, so we can't leave it to the candidates alone to inspire people,” said Marc Brownstein, HeadCount’s co-founder and bass player in the Disco Biscuits. “We're trying to get the message across that being dissatisfied is a bad reason not to vote—it's the exact reason why participation is so important."
More than 300 entertainers have already signed up for the effort, promising to post photos of themselves to social media on Election Day, urging their fans to #GoVote. Among the celebrities who have taken photos of themselves holding artwork that says #GoVote are Dave Matthews, Linkin Park, RZA, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Fergie, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, Russell Simmons, T.I., Weird Al Yankovic, Stephen Colbert, Conan O'Brien, Sarah Silverman, Lewis Black, Andy Richter and George Lopez. To show they're not just interested in young voters, Crosby Stills and Nash, Quincy Jones, Mavis Staples, Chaka Khan, Ed Asner and all the living members of the Grateful Dead are participating too. Together these celebrities have more than 350 million followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Each of the participants will tweet and post the photos on Election Day—Tuesday, Nov. 4—to create a media blitz that anyone using social media won't be able to miss. And each post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr will include a link to a page where voters can find information about their polling place location, ID requirements and what's on their ballot. You can preview the photos here.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Brian Barth
Late fall, after the last crops have been harvested, is a time to rest and reflect on the successes and challenges of the gardening year. But for those whose need to putter around in the garden doesn't end when cold weather comes, there's surely a few lingering chores. Get them done now and you'll be ahead of the game in spring.
By Bailey Hopp
If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.
(R) The measles virus pictured under a microscope. PHIL / CDC
The Pacific Island nation of Samoa declared a state of emergency this week, closed all of its schools and limited the number of public gatherings allowed after a measles outbreak has swept across the country of just 200,000 people, according to Reuters.
By Alison Cagle
Rising above the Arizona desert, the Santa Rita Mountains cradle 10,000 years of Indigenous history. The Tohono O'odham Nation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and Hopi Tribe, among numerous other tribes, have worshipped, foraged, hunted and laid their ancestors to rest in the mountains for generations.
Native Americans are disproportionately without access to clean water, according to a new report, "Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States: A National Action Plan," to be released this afternoon, which shows that more than two million Americans do not have access to access to running water, indoor plumbing or wastewater services.
By Nanticha Ocharoenchai
In the Czech Republic, horses have become the knights in shining armor. A study published in the Journal for Nature Conservation suggests that returning feral horses to grasslands in Podyjí National Park could help boost the numbers of several threatened butterfly species.