To protect the environment, we need a functioning democracy

In order to fulfill Earthworks’ mission to protect communities and the environment, the United States needs a functioning democracy that is responsible to the people it governs. People are inextricably part of the environment, and the environment is significantly affected by governments at all levels.  A healthy environment needs a healthy democracy.

We know that for democracy to work for all it must include all of us. It is for this reason we urge everyone to act to protect our democracy and to participate in the upcoming election. 

Earthworks does not support any particular candidate, but we  support free and fair elections where all votes are counted and voters are not intimidated. All communities should have equal access to the pillars of our democracy, from equitable participation in elections, an equal seat at the table in government decision making, and equal access to justice in fair and independent courts.

To that end, we urge you to join in the efforts to ensure a free and fair election through Protect Our Election, a nonprofit coalition of concerned citizens. There you can sign their Citizens’ Pledge to Protect Our Election to confirm support for election officials, signal commitment to democracy, and hold yourself accountable to principles including but not limited to voting, rejecting claims of a rigged election, condemning voter intimidation, and encouraging county and state election officials to ensure a fair, transparent, thorough voting process. 

We cannot take our democracy for granted. People are part of the environment: neither we nor any other environmental organization can do our jobs, and protect communities, biodiversity, and the global climate, without basic democratic freedoms and a functioning government. 

It’s important to note that even at its best, American democracy has been differently accessible and inaccessible to different populations: communities of color are more likely to be disenfranchised at the ballot box, and are disproportionately harmed by polluting industries. Environmental racism is not abstract: it means that real people live with poisoned air and water and suffer real harm. 

We urge our members and anyone who is able to participate in our democracy to do so, whether through voting or Protect Our Election or another avenue. All people, especially those disenfranchised and most vulnerable to environmental injustice, have a right to a government that functions in their best interests. 

Earthworks will be continually updating this blog, as well as our social media channels, with resources as the situation evolves.