Do's and Don't's of Post-Election Panicking
For every side of the political spectrum, the country is tense. From immigration to healthcare, from human rights to Webster's definition of "fact," norms are questioned in ways they never have before. This being said, here are some of my do's and don't's of post-election panicking.
1) Do your research.
If we can gain anything from turmoil, it's a well-read audience. To best defend your values, remain informed on what's being discussed both in the ivory tower and on the streets. To start your morning off right, be sure to read up the daily e-mail blast by The New York Times. And before you go to bed, tune in to VICE News Tonight for a thirty-minute blast told by millennials for millennials. They offer the "untold stories" and global perspectives. Don't forget! There are other countries dealing with bad news too!
2) Do your civic duty.
Trust me, our representatives aren't telepathic. Call. Write. Be an active citizen. And I may be an old-fashioned southerner, but I was raised to value the handwritten note. I have heard from countless congressmen and women and their staffers that letters mean so much more than an email or a tweet.
"It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we've been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours. Because for all our outward differences, we all share the same proud title: Citizen." -President Barack Obama
If you're wanting some instant gratification, I can help you too. In coordination with Phone2Action, Sustainable Directions has the tools to get you directly to your Congressional representatives via Twitter, Facebook, and email to defend scientific integrity. Simply fill out the form at the bottom of this post and in ten seconds flat, you've become an active science advocate.
3) Do go outside. And bring a new friend with you.
Over the next few weeks, dare to explore the sites and sounds that serve as our country's foundation. Most importantly, bring a new friend, and you get bonus points if its a friend who voted differently than you. When visiting our national parks, discuss why these places are so important to the country, and why they are important to you. Ask yourself how you personally gain by visiting.
Unfortunately, our national parks are on the docket for the new Administration's budget cuts. In a single line of changes to the rules for the House of Representatives, Republican lawmakers have lessened the value of 640 million acres of federal lands, making it easier for the land to be sold off for mining rights. This threatens countless endangered species, ecosystems, climate sinks, and the authority of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Forests and Federal Wildlife Refuges - all of which contribute an estimated $646 billion each year to the GDP from outdoor recreation and 6.1 million jobs.
4) Do protect the institutions and agencies that need your protection.
This includes the National Park Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department, federal climate change researchers, and the media outlets that serve as our watchdogs, fact-checkers, and voice. Subscribe, donate, visit, contact.
5) Do understand that no administration can stop the renewable energy revolution.
The global renewable energy revolution is already so strong, the federal government has little power to stop it. Wind power shows projections to create the most jobs in our country over the next decade, with Texas leading the largest renewable-energy boom the country has seen. According to MIT, Texas would be the sixth-largest generator of wind power in the world if considered its own country.
2016 also marks the third consecutive year of massive growth in solar employment and technology. Deemed the largest quarter for solar in history, the United States installed over 4 Gigawatts of capacity, enough to power 6.5 million American homes.
Nationwide, nuclear energy is enjoying a bipartisan boost as public concern decreases and capacity skyrockets. The power source drives over $60 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) per year and supports about 475,000 full-time jobs.
4) Don't get angry at your neighbor/uncle/boss who voted differently than you.
Sure, we can debate popular vote versus electoral college, but the Patriots still won the Superbowl and Donald Trump still won the election. Okay, maybe it's not the same thing. But nonetheless, it's clear we have to listen. Half of voters during this election sought disruption and a major change to the system. This doesn't mean that your neighbor/uncle/boss is against climate science. It simply means they were worrying about something else a lot more, and we must respect that. It also tells me as an environmental advocate that I now have the perfect opportunity to explain why sustainable design and renewable energy deployment actually holds the key to their own concerns. This leads me to the next "don't...."
5) Don't. Give. Up.
Above all else - above anything else - do not give up. Our country needs you, our environment needs you, I need you. Your energy and passion is special. For many, these past few weeks have shaken our core and tested our trust in this country. And yet, fear has served us our awakening.
Millions are mobilizing, vocalizing their concerns, donating to the organizations they admire, and volunteering for their local communities. This amount of love at this scale - it's striking!
Keep it up. Together, we will reunite this country and move forward in a sustainable direction.