Today is Earth Day. But let’s get serious: Every day needs to be Earth Day. 

What if we all commit to that? What if we see that people and nature are not separate? Then we can create this kind of world, a place in which plants and fungi, kelp and orca, people and eagles, bear and salmon—all of us will thrive. 

What’s one easy action you can take to make that promised land closer to reality? Vote. 

If you’re freaked out about the climate and unsure what to do, you’re not alone. Most of us feel that way. But voting, and encouraging other people to vote, is a concrete thing you can do to get more leaders into office who will push for the transformational change we need.

Don’t doom-scroll yourself into stupefied depression or inaction. Remember: Your life and future matters. Your actions matter. Every election matters. Every vote matters. Every person and every community matters. Every landscape and watershed and ocean and flyway matters. And voting for the environment in every election matters.

That’s why today, Earth Day, Washington Conservation Action is launching an ambitious campaign, “Call 4 Climate Action.” Our goal: get 50,000 new or infrequent Washington voters to commit to casting a ballot in November. But we need your help!

Why are we committing to this huge effort?

  • We’ve hosted voting events for decades. In the last 5 years or so, we’ve had huge success with our annual “Queer the Vote” parties, for example.
  • A lot of people who can vote in Washington just don’t. Last year, 2023, a record low of 36% of those registered voted in the General Election. In even years, when more people show up to vote for national offices, an average of just 74% vote. That’s not a lot when you consider that we vote by mail. 
  • When more people vote, more voices are heard. As a result, our lawmakers and our officials better represent our diverse communities. 
  • More diverse representation leads to results that are better for both people and nature. When more people are represented, we begin to pass laws and to construct policies that help everyone and everything to thrive. 

That’s not pie-in-the-sky dream talk. It happened in a big way just three years ago, in 2021. That’s when the Climate Commitment Act (CCA) became state law. 

After decades of trying to pass a climate bill in this state, we began to elect diverse environmental champions. Then a broad coalition including labor, various Tribes, the environmental community, families and medical professionals, and BIPOC organizations came together and helped push lawmakers to pass the CCA, the nation’s strongest cap and invest legislation. 

The CCA requires that polluters pay for their emissions of greenhouse gasses. The state takes the funds generated by these polluters to mitigate climate change and clean our air of pollution, to transition away from a fossil fuel economy, to help families make their homes more energy efficient, to help Tribes and other communities deal with the problems already created by climate change.

Only implemented in January 2023, the CCA has already generated more than $2 billion to protect people and nature as one in every corner of our state: $80 million to help families weatherize and make their homes more energy efficient, $10 million for air quality improvements for communities, funds to make transit free for everyone under 18,  $14 million to expand transit access in rural areas and for people with disabilities, $4 million to plant trees in cities, $85 million for EV charging infrastructure, $120 to help medium and heavy trucks, $50 million to help farmers plant trees along rivers, millions to protect our region’s forests, millions to help eastside communities cope with wildfire, electrifying our region’s ferries, good paying family-wage jobs, and much, much more.

All these and hundreds more projects are happening because people turned out to vote for environmental champions and they worked to get others to do the same.

Now, a tax-dodging hedge fund multimillionaire has used $6 million of his own money to put an initiative to repeal the CCA on the November ballot. We cannot allow this cynical initiative to succeed. 

That is one of many reasons that we are promoting voter turnout across the state and especially in new legislative districts that more fairly represent communities. We need people of all ages, from all communities, to join our Call 4 Climate Action!

This year, both democracy and the environment are on the line. It will take a collective effort to protect people and nature as one. Today, at 6 pm join us to hear our vision for the campaign and sign up volunteers and partners. 

Democracy is merely what we all agree to do together. Healing the planet takes all of us. So, vote! And join us to engage Washington voters in the 2024 election.

Kat Holmes is field director for Washington Conservation Action.

Zachary Pullin is communications director for Washington Conservation Action.

Joy Stanford is political and civic engagement director for Washington Conservation Action.