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WRA is Sparking Hope and Igniting Advocacy This Election Year

In 2024, WRA’s “Bright Climate Future” campaign is shining a light on climate solutions and planting the seeds for a better tomorrow. Throughout the year, we’ll provide resources to help organizations and citizens take advantage of key civic opportunities.

Haley Littleton

Haley Littleton

Associate Director of Marketing


Navigating an election year can feel like trying to find your way in the dark – confusing, a little frightening, and seemingly endless.

With our busy lives and responsibilities, it can be daunting to understand every candidate’s positions on climate change. It’s hard to know what policies will actually make a difference in the face of droughts, wildfires, environmental injustice, and air pollution. That’s where we want to help with our “Bright Climate Future” campaign.

At WRA, we believe in a brighter climate future, and we’re charting the path forward to actionable climate solutions. This election year is a critical opportunity for us to make that a reality. In fact, 2024 marks the biggest global election year in history with over 60 countries heading to the polls. This means the impact of civic engagement and advocacy has never been more important.

While there will certainly be a lot of information and conversation across our digital platforms, WRA wants to carve out a space to serve as a calm and positive voice about climate change. We want to share why we’re hopeful about the climate solutions that we know can create a brighter tomorrow.

We get it. Giving into the anxiety or the apathy created when facing the reality of climate change can be appealing. But we see the disconnect between what people want and what is happening. Across the polling, we see that people from all demographics want climate action. The Yale Center for Climate Communication Studies found that two thirds of Americans support 100% renewable energy by 2035. From Colorado College’s Conservation in the West poll, an overwhelming majority of Westerners want to protect public lands and believe that we need to take urgent action to protect our water sources.

Often, however, people see the opposite occurring. Governments are making more investments in oil and gas or making clean energy investments even harder. Legislatures are stalling out when it comes to acting with urgency on drought. More and more land and wildlife habitats are under threat from human development. Many feel helpless when it comes to climate change. The situation feels too large, too out of their hands, and many are unsure of what to do.

Part of WRA’s campaign this election year is to combat this anxiety and apathy by showing, first, that there are realistic climate solutions to the challenges we face. We know because we are making substantial progress in our work to address climate change and we’re winning in decision making venues across the West. Second, we want to share the things that individuals can do to hold governments and organizations accountable in fighting climate change.

Election years are the perfect time to take advantage of our time-honored civic processes like voting and holding representatives responsible for their actions. We believe that the antithesis of climate despair is climate action, and we do this by engaging in civic opportunities like contacting your representatives, asking candidates where they stand on climate policies, or getting involved in a local environmental issue in your community. That’s where our Bright Climate Future pledge comes in.

Your Advocacy Matters

This 2024 election year is our opportunity to use our voice to remind people in power and candidates that climate change is a priority across demographics.  We want to show everyone that they can make a difference by using their voice, and the Bright Climate Future pledge is the first step in committing to all the different ways to get involved this year.

As a thank you for taking this pledge and a sign of their commitment to a Bright Climate Future, WRA will send pledge takers a complimentary lightbulb pin.

This lightbulb pin is meant to be a symbol of hope and a reminder of the policies being passed today that will bloom into a thriving and sustainable West.

But the pledge is just the first step. Our journey together has only begun. Throughout the year, we’ll be sharing resources about civic engagement opportunities, key environmental issues across the West, bright spots to celebrate, and other advocacy-focused tools to fulfill the pledge.

There are many things that individuals can do while also holding decision makers accountable and supporting real policy change. Throughout the year, we’ll share downloadable resources that will help you do things like:

  • Learn about the solutions and actions that will create a brighter climate future in the West.
  • Find out who your representatives are and how to contact them.
  • Learn about the power of public comment and how your advocacy can make a difference in decision-making processes.
  • Make a voting plan based on key environmental issues affecting your state and community.
  • Learn why voting in all the elections on your ballot matters when it comes to climate solutions.

During this campaign, we want to show all the exciting ways that change is happening at the regional, state, and local level and why voting in these elections is critical for a bright climate future. It’s common to feel uncertain about commission elections or statewide ballot initiatives, but this can often be where the rubber meets for the road in fighting climate change!

State representatives, ballot initiatives, and elected commissions play a major role in climate solutions and where political will and advocacy can be leveraged to make important progress. Many states’ elected commissions approve and oversee regulations that affect things like our air quality, the price of our utility bills, the availability and affordability of electric cars, and how we’re able to hold utility companies accountable to reducing their emissions.

Our state representatives have the power to decide if our communities use water in a smart, sustainable way or build new climate-resilient developments or if our states have the funding to protect our public lands and make them accessible for all. This is why “down ballot voting” or voting in all the elections on your ballot is so critical for decision-making positions that affect our everyday lives like the air we breathe and the water we drink. While people may look at the federal level and feel discouraged, there’s so many hopeful opportunities for positive change right where we live!

Why We’re Hopeful

While we are unwavering about fighting climate and realistic about the challenge ahead of us, we’re also hopeful about the future. We know the devasting impacts of climate change and the threats of water overuse and habitat loss, but we also know the solutions to address it. As a society, we know how to create an economy that runs on clean energy; we know how to conserve water and protect our rivers; we know how to protect our public lands and habitats and make them accessible.

We’re hopeful because we know what the policy solutions are to the challenges before us. We need to:

Cut carbon emissions 50% by 2030 and near-zero by 2050.

Use 25% less water to protect the Colorado River and other rivers.

Protect 30% of the West’s land from development by 2030.

And the exciting part is that we’re making progress. We’ve seen wins in the West that have happened because advocates, decision makers, and experts came together to make a change. We’ve protected 8 million acres of land from development in the last three years and seen states like New Mexico make historic investments in conservation.  We’ve invested more than $400 million in transportation electrification that’s going to create cleaner air for our communities. We’ve seen communities get water wise and significantly reduce their water use, while also planting beautiful native gardens.

Many of these things have happened because people made their voices heard in the process. We have seen advocates completely change the trajectory of a policy decision by showing up and making their voices heard. In New Mexico, if it wasn’t for the hundreds of advocates who attended hearings, reached out to decision makers, and submitted comments, it would have been much harder to pass the new clean cars and truck standards. These standards will now ensure that all New Mexicans have cleaner air and equitable access to electric vehicles.

Persistence and Resilience

When we show up and persist, we can make a difference. Part of our campaign is to remind voters that electing representatives who support their climate values, sending an email to their state representative, or showing up to a local town council meeting, can make the difference between whether we continue with the status quo or we start building this brighter climate future.

Nothing changes if we do nothing. We see a better future, and we can take the steps to create it, but it requires persistence and resilience. Solving the climate crisis is going to take courage, resolution, and belief that we can create climate-resilient communities that thrive.

This campaign is here to remind individuals that every bit we do matters. Some may see the enormity of climate change and feel like giving up because it seems that we’ll never get there. But every drop of water saved, every particle of pollution removed from our air, and every acre of land protected will save lives and impact our communities and our ecosystems for the better.

During this election year, we’re not giving up, and we’re not going to let our leaders give up either. Neither should you. 

What does a bright climate future look like to you?

Share your vision for the future of the West to be featured on WRA’s social media platforms.

For me, it’s that all beings can thrive. That all humans, regardless of where they live, their economic status, any of their identities or demographics, can thrive. That they can have clean air and clean water and access to the public lands that belong to them. And that all of our wildlife communities and our ecosystems can thrive too. Finally, that everybody is able to live a sustainable, resilient, thriving life.
Haley Littleton, Associate Director of Marketing

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