In the United States, our vote is our voice. Our democracy doesn’t work unless we all participate. The roots of the word ‘democracy’ come from two Greek words: ‘demos’ meaning ‘whole citizen living within a city-state’ and ‘kratos’ meaning power. Our style of government’s very name says it all: the people have the power, and we exercise that power with our vote.
We Vote For All
The 2019–2020 Congressional term was a busy one for the environment. 350 bills were introduced that represent a wide variety of environmental concerns from environmental justice to clean water to endangered species protection. Though our policies have a widespread impact on the planet and all species who call this home, we are the only ones who get to vote. When we walk into the voting booth or mail in that ballot, we are voting on behalf of all species and the health of our air, water, and land. As one of the youngest species on the planet, other species are our mentors, guides, and teachers. If we lose them, we lose their knowledge and wisdom, and that’s a loss we cannot afford.
Our Planet, Our Health
It’s impossible to live a healthy life in an unhealthy home. The Earth is our only home, and as the saying goes, there is no Planet B. If the health of our planet is degraded, it will of course impact our own health. We’re already seeing this happen with high lead levels in water, air pollution leading to increased amounts of respiratory disease, and harmful chemicals leaching into the soil in which we grow our food. Additionally, we’re experiencing an increased number of severe storms, wildfires, and days of excessive heat.
While in some cases the changes are gradual, though consistent, and the impacts could seem isolated to specific geographic areas, the effects are and will continue to be global. For example, wildfires on the west coast will impact all of us because a good deal of our food sources are grown and raised there. As biomimicry teaches us, we are not apart from nature; we are a part of nature. What affects one, eventually affects all because we operate as an integrated ecosystem. Our policies and politics must recognize and respect this.
From a medical perspective, many of our most potent and promising pharmaceuticals and treatments that we use to treat diseases such as cancer originate in nature. Today’s cutting-edge biotechnology utilizes plants as natural and efficient factories to produce therapeutic proteins that we use to manufacture advanced medications. Experts estimate that we have yet to discover 81% of the species that exist on this planet. That means there are millions of mentors who we have yet to meet. If we continue to destroy the natural environment we are quite literally destroying cures for what ails us before we even find them.
On November 3rd, the world will have all of its eyes on the United States. Though our policies and practices have global implications, only American citizens have the right to vote. We may fill out our ballots independently, but we are far from alone in our political choices. This power is not only a privilege; it’s also an awesome responsibility that we must take seriously.
Vote on November 3rd like our lives, and the lives of all our kin, depend on it, because they do.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Biomimicry Institute.
Christa Avampato is a writer and the founder of Double or Nothing Media in New York City. She is currently a graduate student in the Biomimicry Program at ASU.
Twitter: @christanyc | Instagram: @christarosenyc