Environmental Advocacy

Photo Illustration by Michael Patacsil

Several environmental advocacy groups including the advocacy partner of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF Action), National Resource Defense Council, Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters are coming together this election cycle to advocate for both better environmental policy and candidates they believe are more likely to support those policies. On Aug. 27, there will be a virtual kickoff for what this collective group is calling the Green Wave. 

All summer, EDF Action has been offering free activist training programs via Zoom. These training sessions have covered topics such as effectively using social media as an organizing tool and ways to talk to friends and family about climate change. The sessions aim to build a knowledgeable volunteer base for the work EDF Action will be doing in the months leading up to November’s general election. 

EDF Action has focused their efforts within four key states that have candidates up for election. EDF Action’s strategy is to help get these candidates elected and successfully push further to the left on climate policy. The four states include Arizona, Iowa, Florida and South Carolina. Though EDF Action has been reluctant to mention specific candidates they are endorsing until they begin their activism campaign, Green Wave, the Arizona arm will almost certainly be focusing on the election of  Rep. Tom O’Halleran, incumbent running for U.S. Representative. 

O’Halleran has served two terms representing Arizona’s 1st Congressional District and is running again this year against Republican challenger Tiffany Shedd. A cursory glance at O’Halleran’s campaign website does not reveal any clear stance on climate change. This is likely something EDF Action will try to change.

The Green Wave aims to be a mass mobilization of environmentally-minded voters pushing for progressive climate policy. By forming around a collective of prominent environmental non-profits this movement will be able to reach millions of registered members of these groups. The strategy according to an informational document provided by Jeremy Pittman, Director of Grassroots Engagement for EDF Action, is to provide volunteer services for the campaigns of some 30 elections across the country and in doing so endearing those officials once elected to the cause of environmentalism.    

COVID-19 has challenged the strategy members have typically used for promoting their cause including being visible while volunteering and wearing green shirts. Due to the virus, there will likely be a heavy reliance on distanced phone banking and text banking to get out the vote. This strategy was used in the primaries by the Sunset Movement, the youth led climate activism group, with mixed levels of success. 

Those interested in volunteering with EDF Action and attending the Green Wave Kickoff event this Thursday can sign up here.