How to make a green impact in the Swedish elections
In 2030, we should have halved the global emissions (if not even earlier!) – that is only two mandate periods away! In less than two weeks, we have the elections in Sweden, which will impact the politics for the coming four years. Four years which are critical to take urgent climate action, in order to decrease the greenhouse gas emissions in Sweden! And not only climate action – but also action for nature, for animals and for people.
I had already thought earlier this year about the elections and whether or how I should get involved to get more people to vote for parties, which have more ambitious environmental agendas. However, the elections still seemed far away and during summer I enjoyed taking time off - and all of a sudden it was only five (5!) weeks left until the elections! So, during a weekend when I had planned to do other things I instead read up on how I could get involved in the campaigning of the Green Party in Sweden (Miljöpartiet).
I had actually been active in Grön Ungdom, the youth chapter of the Green Party, during the years 2010-2014, including being in the regional board for Stockholm, which had 700 members. I also represented Grön Ungdom towards Miljöpartiet on a regional level, pushing the "mother organisation" to be more ambitious. Towards the end I was very active in the climate campaigning group, in a local Grön Ungdom group, pushing one municipality for more green rooftops and walls, and was actually on the local list for the regional elections (!). I also helped with campaigning for the elections in 2014, just after I moved to study in Lund. However, after that I was less active, because "Hey, I'm studying to become an environmental engineer" so I thought that I had enough of environmentalism from my studies. (I was still a member though.) Later on I realised though that "Ok, I'm learning a bunch of stuff in uni, but that doesn't make an impact TODAY! We need urgent climate action NOW." So, then I got involved in Lund Sustainable Engineers and in the Fossil Free campaign and in PUSH Sweden – but more about that in another blog post.
What you can do to make an impact
So, what did I find out about how I could get involved in the Green Party campaigns? (Because now I'm too old for Grön Ungdom...) You can:
- Follow Miljöpartiet on social media and share their content! - I was already doing it, but made sure that I got it on the top of my feed and also followed the new-ish party leaders (or språkrör (spokesperson) as we say in Swedish). (P.S. I know the criticism towards social media, so I'm not the biggest fan of using it, but more about that in another blog post. A tip is to watch the Netflix movie The social dilemma).
- Donate money to Miljöpartiet - I had done it a bit earlier after seeing it in the newsletter I still got from being a member, but did it again, and even more. Because the other big parties have much larger budgets, so every single krona makes a difference for the party to reach more people.
- Sign up to become a volunteer in the election campaigns - I already got the internal info to my email, but if you're not active already, this is the place to start! Then you will be contacted and will get the info you need to participate in the campaigns, such as handing out flyers, cheering on bicyclists and knocking on peoples' doors.
Actually, I was suddenly called up by a member in the party who informed me about the page Kampanja med Miljöpartiet Stockholmsdistriktet 2022, through which I would get updates on all campaigns in Stockholm and that they had actions soon to knock on people's doors just the next week. I felt that I didn't know so much about what policies Miljöpartiet is actually pushing for this year, but thought that I probably could join anyway - as long as I could go with another person who knows more. If you want to know what Miljöpartiet is focusing on, read Miljöpartiet's election manifesto.
Doing some campaigning!
So, one Thursday evening I met with some people from the party in Stuvsta, where I lived 8 years during my childhood, and got paired with a friendly guy, who had knocked on doors at least two times before. We walked to the addresses according to a manual and started ringing on people's door bells. Many weren't at home, and some saw that we were from Miljöpartiet and politely made an excuse not to talk to us - but some we had a really nice conversation with! I learned that a good conversation starter was "Hi, we are from Miljöpartiet. What do you think about your neighbourhood?" or "How do you feel about the elections?" and then ask them "Which topics are most important to you?". After that we tried to explain, what Miljöpartiet wants to do related to those issues. Many said "schools" or "care", where I knew less (compared to climate), but luckily my buddy knew more. I was honestly a bit skeptical regarding how many people we convinced (even indirectly) to vote for Miljöpartiet, but it was kind of fun and a new experience for me, and I thought that if no one would do this campaign, the party would definitely get fewer votes.
After this I felt like I wanted to do more. Via the campaign page on facebook I saw that they have a "morning cheering for bicyclists" action exactly where I would pass by on my bike to work, which sounded fun. So, this Wednesday morning I went up half an hour earlier, to meet up with the people from Miljöpartiet. I got a green ribbon with the party name, went to a good place, and got a sign. Together with two other signs it said "Thank you for biking!". And then we cheered on the bicyclists with "Heja!", "Well done!", "Almost there!" (even if it might not have been true for some XD), "Keep on fighting!" and "Have a good day!" and gave them high-fives. Apart from making many of them happy, I got in a very good mood myself! I will most likely join next Wednesday again!
Yes, why am I supporting Miljöpartiet? I know there is some criticism against it (as it is towards all the parties) - no party is perfect. And you won't agree to 100% with everything which a party wants. But: To me, the climate and environmental issues are very important and, out of the current parties in the parliament, it does have the most ambitious environmental/ bicycling/ animal rights policies according to:
- Naturskyddsföreningen (Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, SSNC) and their party scrutiny
- WWF (Världsnaturfonden/ World Wide Fund for Nature) and their election scrutiny
- Klimatkollen (would be Climate Tracker in English) and their analysis of the parties' climate targets
- Cykelfrämjandet and their Vägvalet for best biking policies
- Djurens rätt and their party ranking with an evaluation of the parties' animal policies
If this wouldn't convince you (if you also care about the environment), I don't know what would convince you. Or, if other issues than the environment are more important to you, you can check out what Miljöpartiet wants to do in other areas here.
Even though I strongly consider to vote for Miljöpartiet in the elections, it is not ambitious enough for what we actually would need to do to act according to climate science. So, is there any alternative? Yes, there is! It is called:
I'm not sure how, but probably I found Klimatalliansen (Climate alliance in English) via social media this spring. Then, I didn't do much, but now that the elections came closer, I:
- became a member,
- signed up for their newsletter,
- followed them on social media (facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
- donated money to them, and
- looked up what I could to get active in order to have an even larger impact - see this page for info on how you can get involved
Because I really agree with their 15 political demands, which I think are more ambitious than any other party. Klimatalliansen is considering that we are in a climate emergency and need to strive towards an economy within the planetary boundaries. We need to focus on welfare and well-being, rather than economic growth.
A short while after becoming a member I was contacted by a person from Klimatalliansen who invited me to a chat, where we coordinate, who can hand out flyers. Luckily, the place was just on the way home from work for me, so last Wednesday I joined them and handed out flyers while saying "Vote for the climate!". We had nice weather, I got to hand out many flyers and it was nice to afterwards chat with the other activists (of varying ages! no, not all activists are young like me ;) ).
Again, as during the actions with Miljöpartiet I don't know how many people who will actually vote for Klimatalliansen just because they got a flyer, but if we wouldn't take any action at all, no one would vote for Klimatalliansen! And we are happy to contribute to that climate gets higher on the agenda and list of "hot topics" for the elections. And hopefully other parties can take over the demands of Klimatalliansen to their agendas (even if Klimatalliansen wouldn't get into the parliament).
To end this blog post – thank you for reading this far! I hope I could inspire you to take some action for more votes on parties who take the climate and environmental crises seriously - and/or to make yourself considering to vote for Miljöpartiet or Klimatalliansen! The coming four years are crucial for climate action.