The Youth Strike for Climate Justice rally marches down Fifth Avenue in Oakland on Wed., Sept. 21, 2022 (Pittsburgh City Paper photo).
Climate change and the economy are interrelated issues. That’s the point environmental groups across Pennsylvania are trying to make to voters ahead of the Nov. 8 general election.
In a virtual briefing on Thursday, Katie Blume, political and policy director for Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, and Dan Taylor, Appalachian regional field organizer for Blue Green Alliance, explained how they are engaging with voters on environmental issues such as climate change ahead of the election.
Blume and Taylor said that while the economy, jobs, and inflation continue to be a top concern for voters, many don’t realize that these key election issues are “quite intersectional” with environmental concerns such as air and water quality and climate change.
“Inherently the environment and the economy are linked,” Taylor said.
Taylor pointed to $370 billion in federal investments in energy security and climate change that are part of the Inflation Reduction Act as examples of how the U.S. can create jobs while addressing climate change.
“Economy is always top of mind, and I think we are doing some important stuff that’s going to pay off,” Taylor said.
With the world “at the tipping point,” Blume stressed the global need to find meaningful ways to address climate change, which include electing “the right people.”
She said communicating the potential impacts to voters has been part of their strategy this election cycle.
Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania has been “telling voters that this impacts them, their pocketbook, their health, and other things,” Blume said.
She added that “it’s cheaper to address climate change” than to address the long-term public health effects of poor air and water quality.
“We have a lot of Pennsylvanians affected by a lot of issues,” Blume said. “We need to elect leaders who will address all of those issues.”
To engage with voters, Blume said Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania has been working in “great coordination” with other environmental groups in the commonwealth to educate communities about the candidates on the ballot and the contents of legislation such as the IRA.
“We’re utilizing every tactic we can think of,” Blume said. “We really hope that voters look ahead at all of the issues.”
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