In 2004 I was a 19-year-old idealist, living in Venice Beach, surfing, skiing and confident in the American democratic system. But the debacle that played out in Florida deflated any confidence I might have had in the electoral system and, simultaneously, put to rest my faith in an individual's ability to affect change. Over the past four years, I have developed an acute cynicism when it comes to all things political. I'm not proud of this.
Now I'm not even sure why I vote. I would like to say it's out of some romantic belief that my vote will make a difference, but sometimes I think the reality is that I vote out of a mixture of habit, obligation and guilt. I wrestle with this a lot. I want to feel as if my vote matters. I want to feel that the system of government we have in place allows me to speak and be heard, but I have a hard time convincing myself.
What I don't have a hard time convincing myself of is that I should still vote. Despite my uncertainty of its importance today, I have hope of its importance tomorrow.
So this November I will vote again. One of the issues I will be voting for, without a doubt, will be the health of our natural environment. This issue is so fundamentally connected to the survival of our species that it strikes me as unarguably nonpartisan. So, alongside thousands of my peers, I will cast my second vote for the president of these United States. Hopefully it will be the first step towards a healthier, cleaner and more sustainable future.