If we want a Green New Deal, we need climate leaders in office — but how?
by Adrienne Lowry
November 2, 2020
Everything is at stake this election season. To make the green and just future we dream of, Greenpeace put it all on the line in 2020 to build and demonstrate our independent people power.
Everything is at stake this election season. To make the green and just future we dream of, Greenpeace put it all on the line in 2020 to build and demonstrate our independent people power. We know that we have to make politicians and candidates beholden to our influence, not the other way around if we are to truly end the twin racial and climate crises we’re facing. And we know it’s doable: In the 2016 election, 10 million people who said they cared about the climate didn’t vote. In this 2020 election, if every climate voter gets to vote, we have the power to swap a destructive force in the White House with a movable one, someone whose stance on environmental justice can be pushed with enough political pressure.
Since August, Greenpeace has doubled down on this strategy, using the moment to build up a national volunteer program with like-minded partners, climate champions, and Fire Drill Friday’s to build a movement of millions of climate voters who will show up to vote, and demand accountability from elected leaders to protect the environment. Elections have a really clear goal (boot Trump out of office), strategy (get people to vote), and tactics (text bank, phone bank, relational organizing, and GOTV).
To date, over 4,000 volunteers from across the country have signed up to text bank, phonebank, or reach out to their friends and family members with Greenpeace and Fire Drill Fridays. We’ve already contacted over 2 million people using sophisticated targeting data to identify these climate voters and make sure they know the stakes in this election and how to cast their votes in support of our planet.
Volunteers like Amalia A. — a new member on our Unidxs team who deeply understands the importance the Latinx community has in this country and this election — know that while this work starts with getting Donald Trump out of office, it doesn’t end there.
We are empowering, organizing, and mobilizing an unstoppable wave of climate voters who will not only win the presidency, keep the House, and take back the Senate, but will push all of these — and future — elected officials to have the confidence and fortitude to pass a Green New Deal once in power.
When it comes to people power, we know that “if we aren’t growing, we are shrinking.” And this key organizing mantra doesn’t just mean the sheer numbers of people we need to mobilize. It also means the skills we are offering to our fellow comrades to help them fight on their own terms. If we want to hit Erica Chenoweths’ 3.5% of active popular support needed to bring about real change, we can’t do it on our own. We need volunteers with the skills, knowledge, and resources to fight against the injustices we see in this world and towards the green and just future we envision.
We recently completed a 6-week training series where we had 50 GP volunteer graduates who learned not only our GOTV tactics, but they learned how to also recruit and mobilize their friends and family to push for social change. Pamela N., a long time Greenpeace volunteer is one of our new leaders, said she is “grateful for the opportunity to bring [her] heart (the environment) to the election in such a powerful and action-oriented way” and that this work —- the calls and texts to voters in swing states and races — is the most impactful work she’s ever done with Greenpeace.
If you’d like to learn more information about how the volunteer program works and making a plan to vote, visit Vote for Climate where you’ll learn more about Greenpeace’s national volunteer program and the following volunteer teams:
- Call Team — Facilitating critical conversations with voters about climate justice and the 2020 election over the phone
- Text Team — Reaching out to Greenpeace supporters through text messages
- Greenpeace Unidxs — Using both phone banking and text banking to do outreach to elevate stories from the Latinx community, all in Spanish
- Advanced Call Team — Call members from all different parts of the Greenpeace volunteer team, serving as an agile, flexible team ready to support the movement in whatever ways it needs
No matter the outcome of the election, we cannot win transformative campaigns without high levels of public participation, and we cannot gain high levels of participation without deeply committed, empowered volunteers to do the most important work of the movement.