Climate Change Politics

This year the other Earth Day will be Vote Day

zero emissions
Written by Sven Eberlein

Though I’ve personally always been more inclined to go with the “Every Day is Earth Day” modus operandi, I think it’s still worth celebrating and uplifting the “official” Earth Day. Especially in these times when there are so many things going on in the world and we’re all exposed to a plethora of news and events from a firehose of outlets. I feel like it helps to reflect, refocus, and recalibrate on the one issue that affects us all in profound and existential ways: the health and balance of this planet’s living systems.

Earth Day 2024: Planet vs Plastic

Bringing together over 1 billion people in more than 193 countries to celebrate, inform, or otherwise participate in organized events, the official theme for 2024 is something that has been close to my heart for a long time: “Planet vs. Plastics.”

A lot of folks still think of the plastic pollution issue in terms of our personal practices to reduce, reuse and recycle. However, the actual scale of the problem has grown beyond our individual capacity to deal with. This is because the fossil fuel industry has shifted towards petrochemicals (aka plastics) as their next major growth market in light of grids and automobiles rapidly transitioning to renewable energy.

A mountain of fossil fuels

What this means is that while it will continue to be important for consumers to reject and demand alternatives to single use plastics as well as educating about the harm of microplastics across its life cycle, the intentional proliferation of plastics by Big Oil has now entered areas of global impact like climate change, ocean health, and food safety that must be curbed and regulated by governments, the only recourse society has to protect the commons from large scale legalized greed and destruction.

While it will continue to be important for consumers to find/demand alternatives to single use plastic and for activists to educate about the harm of microplastics across its life cycle, the intentional proliferation of plastics by Big Oil has now entered areas of broad global impact, such as climate change, ocean health, and food safety.

So the only recourse we have to protect the commons from such large scale legalized greed and destruction is through regulatory bodies. In other words, a functioning government working in the interest of people and planet.

The Biden climate agenda is second to none

This is one of the reasons why I’m channeling most of my environmental activism this year into reelecting Joe Biden and giving him a Democratic Congress — to continue the most ambitious climate actions and policies in history, from comprehensive legislation to ambitious executive action. Whatever you think of the Biden Administration on a single issue, it must be 100% clear that a return of Trump and the GOP to power will mean an instant end to any progress that has been made, a complete sabotage of any climate or justice action, and a free ride to all profiteering polluters.

I’m not a believer in “game over” rhetoric, but giving the reins of the most powerful nation on Earth to a solipsistic, despotic, and vengeful cult who we already had a chance to experience in power is about as close as we can come to just throwing it all away. To be clear, should Americans make this kind of consequential error in November, I will still do everything in my power to fight to avert the worst. If history tells us anything, it is that even, or perhaps especially, in the darkest moments, it is essential to never give up (active) hope.

By far the most direct and obvious route, however, to protecting all we can save with the minimum damage inflicted on the most vulnerable among us is to do whatever we can to keep trump’s dark and twisted mind from making decisions for the country and the world. That’s why I wrote and recorded Last Call to Vote, a song that seems more openly partisan than anything I’ve ever written before.

But the partisanship really is for survival and deep empathy for all living beings, and the path toward that at this particular moment in history is through protecting democracy by way of electing Joe Biden and Democrats. This will assure we maintain our chance to collectively work for solutions to the plastics and climate crises, and so much more.

In this spirit, let’s have a second Earth Day this year on November 5th: Vote Day!

About the author

Sven Eberlein

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