I came to GOTV this year because I felt it’s probably the most important election of my lifetime. As a world, we can’t wait any longer with changing the course of emissions and if the US (where the average person emits practically the most greenhouse gasses in the world) doesn’t start changing, we lose our hope to live in a climate that suits us. I’ve been worried about climate change and biodiversity loss for many years, since I come from Sweden and the climate changes faster in that northern part of the world and the changes have been visible for a while. But last year, when traveling for work, I realized how clearly it now impacts people all over the world: I was in Cambodia during monsoon season, and we didn’t see any rain for the entire week. A little later I came to Uzbekistan, where it was the usual dry season, but there we had rain on several days. In both countries, the colleagues had no doubt that the changes were due to climate change; these were new weather patterns to them. Needless to say, the impact on agriculture can be devastating. The unfairness of these countries suffering under something they have barely contributed to is staggering to me. At the same time, I work in microfinance where our goal is to support people in poor and developing countries to raise their income. If we don’t change the way we generate energy, raising the income of poor countries will lead to even higher emissions in the future. So, I am really happy to be in the US at exactly a time when I can do something to contribute to a change and I’m very grateful to the 350CO team to give me the opportunity to do it!
A note from 350 Roaring Fork Coordinator Will Hodges
Beatrice first appeared on my zoom screen for our municipal divestment workshop in Sept. Then she showed up at our Climate Leadership training. Next, it was our first Get-Out-the-Vote recruitment phone bank, at which staff, board members and most dedicated volunteers called our universe of 350 supporters and donors, enlisting them in further phone banking. Always donning her headphones and bright smile, she listened quietly and intently. But as with the nature of zoom and this new era of online organizing, I still didn’t know her or how she even learned about our events. It was when we debriefed our first team phone bank that we heard her Swedish accent and perceptiveness. She expressed the challenge we all faced calling voters—long waits, hangups, impatient blurts of “I already voted!” We were calling likely but inconsistent environmental voters with drop-box locations, making sure every environmental voter voted. But she had a determination, reminding us that every voter who told us they had voted, was possibly someone who didn’t vote four years ago. Every wrong number, we could weed out, thus honing our list further. She kept her eye on the ball: “Well, I reached six people, two were wrong numbers, two were other members of the household, one wanted the website and one gave me a big thanks!”
Beatrice was a rockstar. She came to 10 of our 13 phone banks, plus a couple national 350.org phone banks. That is more than 20 hours in three weeks! These were in the evening after a full day of work! All to turn out environmental voters and run up the margins in a make-or-break election. Hardly anyone enjoys cold calling strangers, nagging people in the evening. It takes a certain thick skin and focus. But the more one does it, the better one gets. So Beatrice compounded her value to the cause with each phone bank.