The Best Response To A Sordid Election: Your Clean Vote

10/30/2016 10:57 pm ET Updated Oct 31, 2016
Brian Snyder / Reuters

There have been so many awful moments in this soon-to-be-decided election season that I was surprised recently to recognize that I’d almost lost track of what is actually at stake for our families.

Our children’s future.

It is so simple, so central to a mother’s and father’s beating heart, and yet, in many ways, it has been absent in this campaign season, buried beneath an avalanche of unprecedented demonstrations of lies, ignorance, and hatred.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

The Republican presidential candidate has said: “I’m not a big believer in manmade climate change. There could be some impact, but I don’t believe it’s a devastating impact … I would say that it goes up, it goes down, and I think it’s very much like this over the years. We’ll see what happens.”

In other words, the man who would presume to be the next leader of the most powerful nation on Earth thinks the most significant threat to it and the billions of people on it is a matter of belief rather than science. His plan would be to take nothing more than a bystander’s attitude toward combatting and preparing for it.

It took my having children to truly, madly, deeply care about the state of the world and the future we will leave to our children. In the more than a decade since then, I have learned a great deal about the fact that our continued use of oil and coal is wreaking havoc with the brilliance of nature’s systems—and that there are good, cheap, realistic clean energy alternatives.

I have also learned that many powerful people and interest groups oppose the needed transition to a clean energy future for one simple reason: because they benefit from the status quo. They make too much money off the oil and coal that creates manmade climate change.

As parents, we need to stand up for interests more heartfelt than that. We need to walk into the voting book on November 8 with one equally simple but more deeply profound and principled thing in mind: the future well being of our kids.

During the first presidential debate, Hillary Clinton said, “Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. I think it’s real. And I think it’s important that we come to grips with this and deal with it, both at home and abroad.”

That is the voice of a mother and grandmother who thinks about the future, cares about the future, and has the good sense to prepare for the future. And that remains the sensibility I want in charge—regardless of the ongoing witch-hunt against this woman, perhaps most disturbingly now reflected in the FBI Director’s unprecedented eleventh-hour interference in this election.

“The best we can do is lean toward the light,” a friend said after we watched the third and final debate together. It was a good reminder of Joseph Campbell’s wise words: In the face of good and evil, light and darkness, the best we can do is lean toward the light.

As I think about the dark side of human nature that has been on display throughout this campaign season, and what could lie ahead if the person who has demonstrated and inspired such hatred is given the power of the presidency, I believe this is what it all comes down to on Election Day:

Stand up for the light, and for the children who are the light of our lives.

Please join me and make the pledge to vote—right now, right here.

Lisa Bennett is the co-author of Ecoliterate and a contributor to The Compassionate Instinct, A Place at the Table and other books. She writes frequently about parenting, human nature and climate change. This post was produced with support from Clean Air Moms Action. All opinions are her own. It originally appeared on