If we are to honor our commitment to environmental solutions as our God-given task of Creation Care, which our ELCA Assembly and our Northeast Iowa Synod resolved to do, we need to think about how we can persuade more people to act to solve climate problems and avoid environmental dangers. Our 16th century founder, Martin Luther, stressed the need for active civic involvement as part of a Christian’s vocation. To get necessary change on a larger scale, we need government policy on this issue both locally and at the state and national level.
The way for each of us to make this process work is to become a CLIMATE VOTER: learn about candidates’ records and commitments to solving environmental issues. Learn whether and how each candidate supports sustainable energy solutions, clean air and water legislation, fossil fuel regulation and reduction, public transportation, sustainable agriculture, and climate justice (making sure the air and water in low income communities is as clean as it is in higher income communities, etc.). Go to candidate campaign functions: voice your worries about a climate that is worsening for human habitation, and tell candidates that your support and your vote depend on their commitment to climate remediation, legislative action, and social and economic justice.
Then commit to voting in this election. Make sure you’re registered at your current address and decide whether you will vote in person or by mail. In Winneshiek County, you can vote in person between October 19 and November 7 at the Auditor’s Office (County Courthouse, 2nd floor). If you are voting in person on election day, find out your poll’s location beforehand (https://winneshiekcounty.iowa.gov/departments/auditor) and go to the polls on November 8 between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. If you are voting by mail, you will need to have already ordered your absentee ballot from the Auditor’s Office (deadline was 5:00 pm, October 24). Be sure to follow the directions exactly as you fill out the vote and prepare it to mail, and be sure to mail your completed ballot enough days ahead of time in order for it to be received at the Auditor’s Office by the time polls close on election day: 8:00 p.m. on November 8. There are several ways to have even more impact than voting. You can challenge yourself to get at least three more people—family, friends, or neighbors—to vote. You can join a climate organization, such as Citizens’ Climate Lobby or Interfaith Power and Light. And you can join a phone bank to contact voters (see, for example, https://www.environmentalvoter.org/) or you can write letters to voters encouraging them to vote for climate solutions (see, for example, https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/toolkits/letter-writing-101-build-the-climate-vote/). Be a Climate Voter!