Regeneration and Civic Engagement: the Student Guide to Getting Civically Engaged in Summer 2022 and Beyond
Every ten years, states redraw voting district lines. Redistricting has already taken place based on the results of the 2020 U.S. Census, but the upcoming November 8, 2022 elections will be the first time the new district lines go into effect.
Redistricting also means some voters will have to go to a new polling location to elect 34 Senators and vote for 435 House seats in November.
Getting involved and raising awareness of the midterm elections, the new district boundaries, and the importance of supporting candidates who can help with the shift to the regenerative economy is more important than ever. As a student, you can take advantage of the summer term to explore civic engagement options.
How government policies can support a regenerative economy
Businesses and consumers have an important role to play in the shift to a circular economic model by making more sustainable choices. However, the government can also support these efforts through policies and incentives.
Fiscal policies and government spending are major reasons these elections matter, but a new Congress could also have a different stance on things such as the carbon tax or pass the Right to Repair bill to reduce waste.
Fracking has been an ongoing hot-button issue. While the Biden administration has taken steps to ban new projects on federal land, a new generation of Representatives could go further and ban fracking on private land.
The U.S. government has several policies in place to preserve the environment, including the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 and the Endangered species Act of 1973. However, many of these pieces of legislation are several decades old and don’t necessarily reflect the latest challenges of climate change. A new Congress could bring fresh ideas to the table and adopt a more modern regulatory framework to protect the environment.
Lastly, mid-term elections can significantly impact local communities through new policies to address labor challenges, promote social entrepreneurship or improve access to healthcare. Updated foreign aid policies could also go a long way in making communities more resilient around the globe and supporting the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Getting involved as a student
There are different civically-minded ways to support a regenerative economy as a student.
1. Register to vote
You can register by mail or do it online if you live in one of the 42 states with an online registration system. Take a look at resources specific to your state to learn more about deadlines and how to register.
You can also make a difference at the local level by volunteering to help people register to vote.
2. Educate yourself
You can get started with online resources, explore your campus library, or even reach out to your civics professor.
Educating yourself about how the government works will help you better understand why these midterm elections are so important. Learning more about the top social and environmental challenges will help you assess how well candidates are prepared to tackle these issues.
Knowledge will help you make the best decision possible when voting, but it can also be a powerful tool for starting meaningful conversations with others.
3. Make your voice heard
Reach out to current Representatives running for re-election with a phone call or a letter to draw attention to important issues linked to the regenerative economy, including recycling, sustainability, and impact investing.
You can find contact information for current Representatives on the White House website or check Ballotpedia to find new candidates for your state, along with links to their campaign websites.
If a candidate has values that align with yours, consider volunteering for their campaign. It can be a great way to gain some experience before exploring impact careers for your future.
4. Get involved at the local level
The midterm elections matter because they will shape federal policies. However, change can also happen at the local level.
You can make a difference this summer by getting involved with local non-profits. You could learn from community leaders by joining a community development organization, support access to education by tutoring students, or even help create a more resilient community by working on a community garden.
5. Be active on social media
For students with busy summertime schedules that include classes, internships, or a part-time job, social media can be a great way to make a difference.
Getting involved can be as simple as posting to remind people of the upcoming elections and encouraging them to find out if their polling station has changed due to redistricting.
6. March, rally, and advocate
Exercise your First Amendment rights this summer by participating in a march, protest, or another event.
7. Plan a watch party
We’re seeing a disturbing trend emerge ahead of the midterm elections as more candidates opt out of debates.
If your state and local candidates are debating, encourage everyone you know to watch by planning an in-person or virtual watch party. You can also draw attention to why debates matter by posting on social media, writing a letter to your local newspaper, or even reaching out to a candidate’s campaign if they decide not to debate their opponent.
8. Make a difference as a consumer
The results of the midterm elections will shape the country's future, but you can also make a difference at the local level to promote the regenerative economy.
Find out more about local businesses to determine which ones have adopted sustainable practices. Shopping locally can reduce the environmental footprint of the food and other items you purchase, and you can support recycling efforts or community-oriented programs from businesses in your area.
Get involved with Net Impact
Net Impact offers more opportunities to get involved this summer with more than 300 chapters worldwide! Take a look at our local election page to find more ideas for making a difference.