As fires rage in the west, droughts plague the middle of the country and hurricanes batter the east coast, we are starting to ask ourselves tough questions, like how far would you go to protect your niños from climate change? Well, how about just voting? There’s no greater way we can impact our communities and the future of our society than by voting to make a difference. That’s part of the philosophy that sparked #VoteLikeAMadre.

A little girl imagines how far her mom will go to protect her in this short film for #VoteLikeAMadre.

#VoteLikeAMadre is a campaign spearheaded by Latinx organizations that aim to galvanize the power of Latina moms to encourage their community to make a plan to get out to vote, on, or before, November 3rd, prioritizing candidates that support climate action. Climate change is one of the top concerns for Latinos at the polls. 

The truth is, our Earth is getting warmer. With this change, our climate is evolving in ways that jeopardize the future of life on this planet. If we don’t drastically reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases, our kids will be robbed of the beautiful world they were born into. So, we have to act now and elect leaders with bold plans to fight climate change. Making a voting plan is one of the best ways to make sure you know when, where, and how to vote. 

Think back to the past year. This summer reported the highest temperatures ever recorded and scientists say this is just the beginning. We currently have the highest level of CO2 in the atmosphere ever recorded. In fact, all the carbon in the atmosphere is creating what is comparable to a 10.5 foot thick blanket of pollution that’s trapping heat and warming the planet to a dangerous degree.

This will result in much more than just unbearable summers. A change such as this in global temperatures will impact growing seasons, affecting the availability of food crops. Climate change of this kind will also lead to rising sea levels, stronger hurricane seasons, and dryer conditions that exacerbate and strengthen forest fires, which have been at their most deadly this year.

And that’s not even getting into the implications for our health. The harmful pollutants in our ozone can trigger a number of health problems, especially in children, the elderly, people who often work and play outdoors, and those with breathing issues. Besides worsening conditions like asthma and bronchitis, breathing in these damaging pollutants can also reduce lung function and harm lung tissue, resulting in chronic health conditions. 

Unfortunately, Black and brown people and those living in low-income communities are the largest demographic impacted by pollution. A 2012 environmental study found that Latinx people were exposed to airborne pollutants at a higher rate than any other race/ethnicity. So, for our community, climate change has very real consequences. 

The realities of climate change are scary but we aren’t helpless in our fight for a cleaner environment for future generations. While it might not seem like individual people can do much in this struggle, the most effective tool we have against climate change is the power of our vote. Our government has the power to regulate pollution and incentivize clean energy production on the scale we need to operate if we’re going to solve this problem for our children.

According to the Pew Research Center, 32 Million Latinx people will be eligible to vote in the 2020 election. This makes us the largest group of non-white voters for this election. There’s a lot of untapped power there! 

So, we know why we need to take on this responsibility, but how exactly do we take the vow to #VoteLikeAMadre? It’s simple! We make a promise to those we are fighting for.

The first step is to make a pinky promise with the kids in your life swearing to them that you will vote for candidates with bold plans to fight climate change and protect their futures.

Next, take to Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or whatever your fav social media site is and share your promise. You can even get competitive and challenge your followers to #VoteLikeAMadre too. Soon, your feed will be nothing but pinky promises! 

The final step is to make a plan to vote during this election. Look at the candidates in your local and national elections. Do they acknowledge that climate change is real and man-made? Do they have a plan to hold corporate polluters accountable? Do they swear to protect communities most vulnerable to environmental racism? These are the questions to ask when deciding who will do the most to protect our environmental future. Just make sure you have a plan to vote on or before November 3rd

The weight of future generations is a heavy one to carry, but we can make all the difference in the lives they’ll be able to live. It doesn’t matter if you’re their mamá, abuela, tía, hermana, neighbor, or friend; you are responsible for the Earth you leave behind for them, so it’s our turn to protect the next generation. It’s a promise that we must keep.