Earth here again.
I’m writing this on the way home to visit my family in Antarctica – because after a long and tough run up (waddle up?) to this year’s midterms, I can’t think of a better way to spend the winter than surrounded by family with some fish in my beak. I can’t wait!
But before I take some time off, I wanted to make sure to tell you this: I hope each of you are proud of yourselves because, as far as I’m concerned, we had plenty of peng-wins on November 6.
That’s me, feeling all hopeful and fuzzy inside, after the midterms.
There have been so many headlines since the election. But here’s my favorite hot-take: When young people across the country raised their voices, it made a difference in a big way. Check it:
- In early voting alone, the young-adult turnout surged an incredible 188 percent compared to 2014’s midterms! That. Is. Incredible.
- In and around Chicago, a surge in young voters casting ballots contributed to the highest overall turnout there since 1986.
- About one-third of eligible young voters between 18 to 29 cast a ballot this year – more than the last seven midterms. That’s huge progress – and who knows? I bet we could even do better next time.
I’ve also got some good news for the planet. States across the country elected new officials who are promising to push for 100 percent clean energy, or proposing increases in renewables and energy-efficiency.
You guys know how important these issues are to me, and I’m happy to see that some of the people who were elected are making the planet one of their priorities.
And we’re just getting started. Across the United States, committed people just like you are joining Climate Reality chapters to work together for practical climate solutions in their hometowns and states. (Get this: Climate Reality even has chapters headed up by students at universities and colleges!)
In fact, the Portland, Oregon chapter was instrumental in helping to make sure the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Initiative passed in their city. The initiative helps fund clean energy programs and job training so the city can meet its renewable energy goals.
Even if your candidate didn’t win or your initiative didn’t make the cut, your vote mattered. We make this country together by all speaking up.
But here’s maybe the most important thing to mention: Voting in one election isn't enough. We have to do it in every single election, big and small. Voting isn’t a sprint; to me, it’s like a trek through a snow and ice where everybody wins when we all stick together. But I just finished watching my favorite movie (March of the Penguins), so maybe there’s a better metaphor. You get my point.
This little penguin is hopeful for the future, but we still need to stay involved. Be sure to check out Climate Reality’s chapters and show the world that young people aren’t done yet.