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Patagonia launches 'Vote the Environment' campaign

The apparel company is campaigning to overcome voter apathy in order to elect officials who will support replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy.

As a member of BICEP, a coalition of mostly consumer-facing companies organized by Ceres and committed to advocating for meaningful energy and climate legislation, Patagonia “wants to be in business for a long time and a healthy planet is necessary for a healthy business. We want to act responsibly, live within our means, and leave behind a planet we would want to live in,” the apparel company states. “We need leaders who are committed to this vision. That’s our stake in the midterm elections.”

According to Ceres, “BICEP members believe that climate change will impact all sectors of the economy and that various business perspectives are needed to provide a full spectrum of viewpoints for solving the climate and energy challenges facing America.”

While the mainstream media may have already ceded control of the U.S. Senate to climate-denying Republicans, Patagonia and its allies in the recently launched Vote the Environment campaign contend that increasing voter participation in the upcoming midterm elections could turn the tide toward the election of environmentally responsible representatives.

To publicize the urgent necessity of voter participation in next month's elections, Patagonia has teamed with Creative Action Network and the Canary Project “to launch a crowd-sourced art campaign inviting artists and designers to create a collection of 'Vote the Environment' designs that will be turned into buttons, stickers, prints and T-shirts,” the company states. “Forty percent of the profits will go directly to the artists, 30 percent to supporting the project, and 30 percent to HeadCount, a non-partisan organization that uses the power of music to register voters and promote participation in democracy.”

HeadCount stages voter registration drives at concerts, and states that it has registered over 300,000 voters since 2004.

“I join Patagonia in calling for us to Vote the Environment,” Annie Leonard, the executive director of Greenpeace USA, wrote in a recent blog post. “Government...has been hijacked by corporate interests and paralyzed by partisan ideologues, but we can—and must—fight to reclaim it as an ally for advancing solutions.

“A vote for a candidate who supports renewable energy is a vote for jobs and independence from oil imports, which is an investment in peace,” Leonard continued. “A vote for candidates who will protect clean air and safe drinking water is a vote for public health.”

Much has been made of progressives' disgruntlement with the Obama administration's pace of change, and Leonard goes on to advise that voters maintain their involvement with the process of government after Election Day. For example, she touts the work of Money Out-Voters In, an initiative launched in 2012 with the aim of reducing the influence of money in electoral politics.

“Together with our allies across the political spectrum, we pledge to fight for the rights of all voters in our nation and to move that much closer to creating a more perfect union,” Money Out-Voters In states. “The future of our democracy depends on it.”

“I have no illusions that it is going to be easy to get the government working for environmental and other solutions,” Leonard's post concludes. “Every journey starts with the first step. So register to vote. Then take the next step, and then the next. Each step brings us closer to the solutions we, and our planet, urgently need.”

“Voting is an action we can all take, the ballot a place we can all be heard,” Patagonia's Vote the Environment campaign contends. “Take the planet into the voting booth on Tuesday, November 4, 2014.

This article originally appeared at SocialFunds.

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