First, a word to my fellow Minnesotans. Go the the damn caucus tonight! For the rest of you, please become aware of the political process where you live and get involved. Science-oriented people, people who understand that climate change is real and important and that we need to develop a green energy economy (with our without nuclear, that’s a separate issue not an alternative) need to become more involved in the political process. Support candidates who understand these things and who will work towards saving us from driving of the cliff we are heading rapidly towards. Also, keep gender in mind; support excellent women candidates. Also, keep diversity in mind. Support diverse candidates. OK, you really can’t be a “diverse” person, but you know what I mean.
Climate change did play a measurable, observable role in some of the elections last year. I don’t think we can say that it was the deciding issue in any campaign, but there is almost never a single deciding issue. Rather, there is a short list of issues that matter in many campaigns, and quite possibly, for the first time ever climate change was on that short list for some contests. It is YOUR job (and mine) to make sure that climate change is on the short list for all campaigns ever from now on. We have to start by getting involved in the electoral process. In the 17 or so US states with a caucus system, this means becoming a delegate. Being a delegate means candidates go out of their way to find you, talk to you, find out what is important to you. Why the heck would you NOT want to do that? Eventually, you will be a member of what is effectively a small Electoral College who will decide who runs from your district. Your vote may end up being one of only dozens that determine candidates for your party at various levels.
For me, I’ll be working to retire the Republican representative from my district, Minnesota CD3. Erik Paulsen is probably more pro-environment than he votes, but he is a cookie-cutter Tea Bag Republican and votes the party line along with Michele Bachmann (I can see her district from my living room) and the rest of the over-the-top conservatives who run the Republican party, and thus, the House, at the moment. He needs to go.
I’ll be working to recruit a woman of color who has a background as a scientists (chemistry degree, worked in green technology early in her career) and for whom climate change and green energy are top issues, along with the usual social justice and economic issues. This is why I’l be supporting Sharon Sund if she runs. (If you want to help me help her to decide to run, even if you don’t live in Minnesota or, for that matter, the US, pleas go SIGN THIS PETITION!)
I’ll also be working with Shawn Otto and others to advance the Science Debate Project. I don’t know what we’d be doing this particular election cycle but we need to have the candidates for president in two years debate science in the public forum. In the mean time, everybody should be debating science in the public forum. And no, I don’t mean science vs. science denialism. I mean demonstrating an understanding of the science on one hand and making claims about policy that is actually based on the science on the other.
Sitting around and complaining about how science does not enter politics and when it does, it does so as a lifeless Tea-Drinking Zombie, is uninteresting and unproductive. It isn’t that hard for individuals to do something, and if enough pro-science individuals get involved, change can happen.
Go make change happen. Please.
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