Voting is a superpower you possess.
The moment we step outside our doors, we are already exposed to what we call the environment. If what we want is a habitable planet for us to live on, we need to vote for it!
We dwell in a world with countless other living beings who need a livable environment like us. All of us wish and need clean air to breathe, safe water to drink, healthy food to eat, toxin-free places to live, work, study, and play, and an opportunity to enjoy the rest of nature.
Since the beauty of nature offers us so much in terms of fun and excitement, it’s only right that we contribute to the preservation of natural beauty. Voting is one of the most essential ways to do so.
Who has the right to vote?
In a democratic nation such as the Philippines, residents aged 18 and above have the right to vote for the candidates they choose to lead them in elections. Regardless of your gender, status, or culture, you are considered a voter.
These are usually outlined in a country’s constitution and a bill or charter of rights. Particularly under a system based on different electoral districts, there may be residency restrictions for registering and voting. Citizens whose voting rights have been suspended because they have been convicted of a crime or have been declared mentally incompetent in several nations are barred from voting.
Vote as responsibility
Voting is both a right and a responsibility of citizenship. Although individuals are not required to vote by law, voting is an essential component of every democracy. Citizens participate in the democratic process by casting votes.
In the United States citizen have a duty to engage in their government by registering to vote and participating in elections. Citizens have a say in their government and assist to keep the democratic representative system in place through voting. People have their choice if they would vote or not. However, they are encouraged to vote and participate in the country.
Why Should You Vote?
Voting allows you to express your preferences for who you want to represent you in various government organizations, as well as participate in the decision-making process over whether or not ballot items should be accepted.
There are also lots of reasons as to why should we vote with the environment in mind such as:
Our vote matters
In a community they have this so-called municipality that has a mayor, they have barangays which they call their leaders as barangay captains for some countries. We, the individuals living in the communities are the ones who choose them to be in that position. They also have city council members, school board members, county supervisors, and special district board members, and we also vote on local and countywide ballot measures ranging from fracking bans to property tax assessments for services.
In statewide elections, you may elect a governor and state lawmakers who share your values, as well as vote for or against initiatives that affect the whole state, prohibiting single-use plastic bags, and authorizing bonds to support water conservation projects.
You can vote for president and congress members in national elections if you participate in them. The president, in return, chooses his or her Cabinet. These Cabinet Secretaries handle the Energy, Agriculture, Education, Defense, Health, Social Services, and Environmental Protection agencies.
Our vote matters to the community
Since we’ll be electing individuals for positions such as mayor, vice-mayor, board members, council members, and even barangay captain and the other members, the outcome of each individual’s vote will have an impact on the community in which we live.
If we vote for candidates who care about the well-being of our community, our community will undoubtedly be in excellent shape. When you vote for a leader in your town who opposes the use of plastic bags, mandates river cleanup, and establishes laws and regulations to enforce such policies, for example.
Whether you vote for leaders who care about the good of the community or not, the outcome of your vote has an impact, and that influence matters to your community.
Our vote matters to our state
In our state, we have governors and lawmakers who became leaders because of the majority of the votes. They have the right to lead, provide policies such as prohibiting the usage of plastic bags and conserving water as stated above, which would affect the state.
In short, they have the power to make a difference in your state. However, the difference that they can make is in your hands. If you vote for leaders who have no plans for the betterment of your state, then there will be no difference at all. And, if you vote for a candidate that you think would make a difference to your state, especially for the environment, then your state would prosper.
That is why it is also important to choose a candidate who would be a good leader during an election.
Our vote matters to our country
During national elections, you may vote for a president as well as vice president. This is a very important election because as we all know the president is the one that will manage our country. He also chooses who handles the different agencies whose policies affect the environment.
If we vote for the presidential position down to the senators, we should choose the individuals that we think would be a good leader for us, citizens. If we want the educational system to be better for our children, then we should vote. If we want a better country, a leader that would care and fight for the environment then we should also vote. This is because voting is our ultimate weapon to make a change for our nation.
Our vote matters to the world
The presidents are the ones that connect with the other leaders as well in different countries. When we choose a president that cares not only for our country, then probably, not only one country would have a chance. For example, a president would promote a global environmental change, then the whole world would benefit from it. This is why our vote matters, not only for our community, state, or nation but for the whole world.
How should we vote with the environment in mind?
Being an environmental steward means engaging in politics. Elections are one way that we can exercise our power as citizens and shape climate policy over the coming years.
The least that we can do when voting with the environment in mind is to know the candidates for the elections. Do not just listen to what they say during the campaign. Do your own research. Find their backgrounds, especially on environmental issues.
How will you encourage other people to vote with the environment in mind?
Aside from voting, what you can do is to persuade your neighbors to vote and vote with the environment in mind. To do that, you may tell other people the impact of a vote and what it can do and how does it help our community, state, country as well as the world.
Tell other people that voting with the environment in mind would have a big impact on saving our mother nature. To preserve it for the rest of the generations. Make other people realize that every single vote counts. It still has an impact. Tell them to use their votes correctly. It’s the most powerful action you can do.
Imagine if Everyone Voted
Many people claim that they do not believe their vote matters as the primary reason for their non-voting. Your freedom to vote or not vote is undeniably yours. You can still influence election outcomes if you choose not to vote.
The individuals that will be seated in the position will be based on the majority of our votes. Come to think of it, it is our chance to help restore nature. By voting such politicians who aim to improve and make good actions to our environment. Now, imagine if all of us will vote for a person who has a good vision for the environment, not only our community will be impacted but also our nation as well as the whole world.
People can cast ballots outdoors in this election and far beyond, regardless of where you live or who you are. This earth we all occupy is in desperate need of our help. We may only have one vote each, but we can make a difference when we work together.
Voting is powerful because we participate in a communal exercise of political pressure. We can vote using our own conscience. If your country is conducting elections now, go vote. Don’t say that it might not have an impact. Go vote because it is your right as a citizen. It is your civic duty.
Show your commitment towards sustainability through voting leaders that are conscious about nature into power.