The “I” in Voting
The doers and sufferers have been familiar with the term “Climate Crisis” in recent years. But what is it really? It’s the maturity of humanity’s little baby called “climate change.” It’s so normalized that it’s commercialized by the corporate world, which is also the same world that contributes a huge chunk to this crisis. It’s so normalized that we don’t treat it as what it is—an emergency.
If it’s something hugely present in our daily lives, then it must be taking place in our society. The society, which is governed by policies and administration, and operates within and with the law. The society where educational institutions are seated and where we were taught “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”—words that the human population knows by heart. However, although these Rs are something, and relevant, what the schools failed (and perhaps continuously do so) is to emphasize that they are not enough.
For a very long time, the youth and humanity, in general, have been eating up the idea that the climate crisis is something personal. That it’s something caused by a person and, therefore, solvable by a person. There may be some truth in that but an inadequate truth is always dangerous. They sell to us an idea and lifestyle of a climate emergency in the frames of individuality when it is something systemic.
The whole truth? The climate crisis and its threatening effects are both personal and societal, but heavier on the part of the latter. A person can reduce, reuse, and recycle their entire life, and even pass that on to their next generations, but it would not be enough to answer to a year of destruction brought by multinational, multimillionaire, profit-obsessed corporations, capitalists, and government. You can give up using plastics, and the sweet taste of meat, but if industries continue with their ways, you will still taste the bitterness of this truth: you can do a lot, but you cannot do everything. This is where voting comes in.
We operate in a society guided by laws, and these laws are made, unmade, and administered by the government. And this government is composed of people operating through our votes. We say who gets the power. Voting is important because it is important to give power to people who can guide and redirect the society in facing, and hopefully, solving a societal problem such as the climate crisis.
Our vote should go to candidates who have platforms for the environmental sector—platforms that are intersectional, pro-poor, sustainable, and not commercialized. Moreover, our vote should go to rightful candidates who have the courage to face capitalists—deserving candidates who reject to be part of the machinery.
Some government initiatives that we’d like to see be implemented are (1) sustained and institutionalized pro-environment policies that extract accountability from people and organizations that cause widespread environmental destruction through their businesses, and (2) more funding for pro-environment projects—conservation, protection, and proactive responses.
Chomsky once said, “If you go to one demonstration and then go home, that’s something, but the people in power can live with that. What they cannot live with is sustained pressure that keeps building, organizations that keep doing things, people that keep learning from the last time, and doing it better the next time.”
With our fists raised, our calls heard, and our fingers inked, let’s do better this time. Our vote is our sustenance. Power from the people, for the people.
(Featured photo from Climate Reality Philippines)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jazmine Cate Pama is a Management student at the University of the Philippines Visayas. She advocates for an inclusive, pro-Filipino, truth-led, Philippines. This essay is a winning piece of the Student Blog Post Competition of Climate Reality Philippines.