Don’t Sit This One Out … We Aren’t

Patagonia  /  3 Min Read  /  Activism

On Election Day, we close up shop to urge everyone to vote the environment.

Marching for clean water in Flint, Michigan. Photo: Zackary Canepari

We’re five days away from electing a President, 88 percent of Congress and countless other local elected officials. In total, across the U.S., we elect over 500,000 offices, from the federal government all the way down to school districts. We have a lot of work to do as voters.

This year, millions of people are feeling the urge to protest America’s broken political system by staying home on Election Day. It’s difficult to blame them. Voters hear ugly rhetoric on all sides, and many Americans believe Washington has failed them for too long.

In the last presidential election, just 60 percent of eligible citizens bothered to vote. And only 25 percent of citizens ages 18 to 30 voted in the recent midterm elections. Those numbers threaten to drop even lower in 2016.

The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.

Robert Swan

But the planet continues to suffer on our watch and looking away won’t help. In three presidential debates, we heard exactly zero questions about climate change—despite polling data that shows over half of Americans say they are concerned about climate change. Many issues demand our attention during an election year: foreign policy, immigration, jobs, health care and campaign finance. Yes, they’re important, but we’re missing the point: None of it matters on a dead planet. The health of our planet must be a strong foundation for everything else, not an afterthought.

Change happens through action, not by sitting on the sidelines. This country was born in protest by men and women who believed that citizens should decide their own destiny. Let’s act as citizens. Let’s stand up and loudly oppose the destruction of our air, water and soil. Let’s vote for candidates up and down the ballot who support clean water, clean air, strong climate action and a courageous shift to renewable energy.

Politicians are like weathervanes. Our job is to make the wind blow.

David Brower

That’s why, this year, Patagonia is closing all of our retail stores around the nation, our headquarters in Ventura and our Reno distribution and customer service center on Election Day, November 8, to encourage customers, employees and citizens to head to the polls, champion local environmental issues and engage in civil democracy.

We’re encouraging our employees to not only go out and vote, but also to help mobilize other voters in their community. If you want to help get out the vote this year, check out a few of our partners for ways to get involved:

Voting is direct action. This Tuesday, join us at the polls and bring your friends. Cast your ballot for America’s air, water and soil.

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