As every Presidential race does, the 2016 election will carry a great deal of weight. The human we choose to shoulder this responsibility will effect the lives of global citizens for generations to come. If you are an advocate for sustainability as it pertains to the planet, as well as the 7 billion people living on it, you should vote for Bernie Sanders.
Sanders is the only Presidential candidate in the 2016 race who brings hope into view. This politician acts from a very different place than the rest of them; a place of love and compassion. When asked whether he believed in God, Sanders spoke instead about love, and how it brings us all together, creating us all as equals. This is the basic assumption that we, as humans, need to work from if we are ever to create positive change in our world.
How do love and compassion create a platform of sustainability? In order to continue existing for an indefinite amount of time, we humans must coexist with each other without destroying our home (Earth) or our neighbors (everyone). In order to sustain life, we must discontinue the status quo of violence, inequality and greed. In the midst of Sanders' stellar position on many issues, here are two big ones that pertain specifically to my community of sustainability advocates.
Climate change was actually the reason I became an advocate for sustainability, which I'm sure many of you can relate to. This issue is a very real, very scary one that has been continuously debated and ignored in political policy. Since politicians have ignored their responsibility to act on this global crisis for so long, we are left with a sliver of a window of time to prevent the worst. Though we have already made irreparable damages to our climate, and will be dealing with these in the future both near and far, we still have a chance to save our children's children from utter chaos.
This chance will be gone in the next 10 years, and Sanders grasps this fact. He does not let greed, fear, or apathy cloud his decisions when it comes to climate change. Not only does Sanders recognize climate change as a pressing issue, he also has real plans and policies to act against it. By fighting to ban fracking and offshore drilling, by refusing to take money from oil companies, and by working to increase renewable energy as well as protection of wild lands, Bernie Sanders stands with sustainability advocates on climate change.
Much of the conversation in the world of sustainable/ethical fashion revolves around labor. With this week marking the third year since the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, the demand for transparency around garment factories has finally become mainstream. Even if one doesn't care about fair labor practices around the world, many do advocate for bringing manufacturing back to the USA in the interest of creating good-quality jobs here.
Rather than supporting or ignoring major trade deals, Sanders, along with model sustainable brand, Patagonia, is vocally opposed to them. Instead of supporting free global trade geared towards inflating the income of international corporations, Sanders supports USA manufacturing and international fair labor laws. His opposition to trade deals like NAFTA (which helped to gut the textile industry in the USA) and the TPP (which would decrease transparency in overseas manufacturing as well as the responsibility of big companies in regards to managing their supply chain) makes Sanders a supporter of fair labor and Made in the USA.
While I always advise that you vote with your dollar, for consumer demands do add up (as Bernie Sanders says; "We can win this fight if we stand together"), you need to know that actual voting is even more important. If you vote for fair labor by supporting small, artisan-made brands, yet choose to cast your vote for a Presidential candidate who supports big, international corporations, then what's the point? If you support sustainability, as it pertains to people and planet, you should vote for Bernie Sanders.