Nathaniel Stinnett launched the Environmental Voter Project (http://environmentalvoter.org) in 2015 with the mission of “identifying inactive environmentalists and then turning them into consistent activists and voters.” He spoke on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 at MIT and at Tufts on Thursday, September 22 on the topic of “Modern Environmental Politics: big data, behavioral science, and getting environmentalists to vote.”
You can see his Tufts presentation at
The Environmental Voter Project concentrates on one thing and one thing only, increasing environmental turnout . Their polling data shows that environmentalists are “awful voters”: they don’t vote. They estimate 15.78 million environmentalists did not vote in the 2014 midterms; 10.12 million did not vote in 2012; and in MA 277,250 environmentalists did not vote in 2014. You can see their MA environmental non-voters by zip code map at http://www.environmentalvoter.org/blog/easiest-way-massachusetts-residents-fight-climate-change
Stinnett believes “We have a silent environmental majority right now” if, If, IF we can get those environmental voters to the polls. Using predictive modeling surveys, asking a few questions to 40,000 respondents, the Environmental Voter Project can find hidden patterns and correlations that identify environmental voters with 89% accuracy. Their research shows
homes without a landline,
people in a new home with no kids,
are all demographic groups with higher environmental concerns (in descending order) than the general population.
Nearly 90% of the population say their biggest issues are, according to the polling, national security, the economy and jobs, and immigration. Only about 4% of us list the environment or climate change as our primary issue. [Now if only someone would link national security, the economy and jobs, and immigration to a positive green future, those figures might change. We could start with Solar IS Civil Defense and work from there. Make the environmental payoff a side-benefit of more security, a better economy with more and better jobs, and part of the solution for international migration and there’s at least the possibility of a conversation.]
The Environmental Voter Project focuses on getting people to the polls not candidates or issues but they are using social pressure, peer pressure to get likely voters to vote. An example of this is in the message “Who you vote for is private/whether you vote is public record” which was shown to increase turnout by 14.1%. This is similar to what Opower (https://opower.com/products/energy-efficiency/) and other energy management companies have found when they included a “how you compare to your neighbors” energy graphic on the utility bill. “Everybody’s voting” is much better than “Voting is important,” a message which can actually be shown to depress turnout.
Roughly 220 million people in the USA are eligible to vote, 180 million are registered, and 129 million voted in 2012 Presidential election. The Environmental Voter Project wants to identify likely environmental voters and get them to the polls. If you sign their pledge, they will remind you of all your local elections: http://www.environmentalvoter.org/sign-the-pledge
The Tufts Institute of the Environment Lunch and Learn Series
has an archive of 44 hour-long talks on a wide variety of environmental topics
It is a great resource and they are always adding more.