Editor’s Note: As part of LS&Co.’s ongoing commitment to address climate change, we regularly send employees to Al Gore’s Climate Reality Training. Employee Brooke Bryant attended the last training, and shares her experience.
So you think of yourself as an environmentalist. You recycle and compost, you avoid disposable coffee cups and water bottles, use energy efficient lightbulbs and public transportation.
None of that, according to uber-environmentalist and former vice president Al Gore, matters nearly as much as the one thing you can do next Tuesday.
Go out and vote.
“It is important to change the lightbulbs,” Gore says. “But it is way more important to change the laws.”
Levi Strauss & Co. recently sent a group of employees to Al Gore’s Climate Reality Training in Los Angeles – part of the company’s ongoing commitment to addressing climate change – and I was lucky enough to take part. The message over the three-day training was unequivocal: The science is real and the problem is dire. There is no denying the devastation that rising temperatures are already wreaking on the planet, and left unchecked, the future looks bleak.
But there is also reason for hope and optimism: The solutions already exist. We know what policies and technology are required to counter the worst effects of climate change and return to a more sustainable path.
We just have to demand them.
“Use your voice, your vote, your choices to speak truth to power,” Gore says.
In fact, all of the experts and activists who joined Gore on stage had the same message: The most important action that you can take today as an environmentalist is to vote. Cast your ballot for green initiatives and candidates who speak up for strong environmental policies; take a stand for renewable energy, land conservation, clean water and breathable air.
The startling truth is that even with all that’s at stake – our planet! – people who care about clean air and water don’t always show up at the polls. In fact, as Gore points out, between 10-15 million registered voters who say the environment is a top issue for them have stayed home in recent national elections.
That can’t continue. It would be inexcusable to look back a generation from now and say that we saw the problem, and we knew the solutions … but we just didn’t care enough to demand change.
So on Nov. 6, I will take my reusable mug of coffee and an energy-efficient mode of transportation to the polls, where I will follow Gore’s advice: “Vote like your world depends on it – because your world does depend on it.”
We’re featuring stories about our voter engagement efforts every Tuesday leading up to Election Day on Nov. 6. Check back to learn more about how we’re encouraging everyone – from employees to consumers – to get informed, get involved and get out to vote.