My painless primary voting experience

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I’ve lived in Denver for over four years now. Every time an election comes around, I’m reminded how easy it is to vote here, and wonder why it isn’t at least this easy everywhere. My recent painless experience voting in Colorado’s primary from Maine made that even more clear. Excellent communication and a voter-centric system can make voting, even in tricky situations, a breeze.

Colorado’s primary election is on Tuesday, June 30. But I unexpectedly went to Maine to visit my family on June 6, and am staying until early July. …


Several easy reforms are on the table right now

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Photo: Theresa Thompson via Flickr CC BY 2.0.

Let’s pretend for a minute that, starting from scratch, you were given the power to create a new U.S. election system. The goal? To get the most people to vote, and to end up with a candidate who most of the country preferred.

I’m willing to bet that what you’d come up with is better than what we have now. That’s because our current voting systems are irrational, illogical and — at worst — prevent a lot of people from participating.

The evidence of how imperfect our system is all around us — from people waiting several hours in line…


The younger generation is pushing us in the right direction

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Photo: cubicroot from Pixabay.

There’s a disconnect when it comes to addressing the climate crisis. Each week, it seems, we read about a new scientific report predicting dire impacts if we fail to act. On our TV and phone screens, we see entire towns burned to the ground in California, more than a billion animals killed by wildfires in Australia, and storms causing unimaginable destruction in Puerto Rico. But while a growing, overwhelming majority of Americans supports action to stem climate change, that public sentiment has not yet spurred the action necessary to meet the scale of the problem.

Much of the blame for…


During the holiday season, and all year round, try to avoid unnecessary stuff

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Photo: Jordache from Pexels

When my youngest brother Cooper was a toddler, he said something while opening his Christmas stocking that always stuck with me. He tore off the wrapping paper, looked at whatever trinket Santa had left for him, sighed and said: “Another thing I don’t need.” My dad happened to catch it on film, and we bring it up frequently at family gatherings.

That quote has stuck with me ever since for a couple of reasons. Number one, it’s just hilarious to hear such on-the-nose insight coming from a toddler. …


How one Tweet initiated a company-wide policy change

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Photo: Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

If you’re a regular Twitter user, you know that it can often provoke a lot of angry, unproductive conversation. I often find myself scrolling through my newsfeed, fuming silently at the latest outrage, and then abruptly quitting out — wondering why I logged on in the first place.

So I was admittedly a bit shocked when, earlier this month, something good happened on the platform — and it wasn’t a video of puppies or a beluga whale playing fetch. …


Environmental journalists grilled BLM director William Perry Pendley on climate, public lands

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BLM’s William Perry Pendley (second from left) speaks on a panel at the Society of Environmental Journalists conference in Ft. Collins, Colo. Photo: Ross Sherman.

Early this year, some of my colleagues and I went to Washington, D.C. to attend a Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) event. There, we had the opportunity to sit in on an interview between Emily Holden, environment reporter at The Guardian, and Bill Wehrum, who at the time was the head of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Air and Radiation.

Holden expertly exposed and confirmed several disconcerting positions held by the administration — including Wehrum’s statement that “everyone is still exploring the science of climate change.” …


It’s time to think big, stop compromising

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Sunset at Tiputini Biodiversity Station in Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park. Photo: Ross Sherman.

The images and videos of the fires decimating the Amazon rainforest hit me like a punch to the gut. I immediately thought back to my junior year of college, when I traveled to the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon during a semester spent studying ecology.

By the time my class of about 10 students and two professors set off for the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in Yasuní National Park, we had already been to and conducted research projects in the Galápagos Islands, the Andes, the cloud forest in Mindo and the beach at Montañita.

But it was hard for any of…


New governors across the country have grabbed the mantle to address the climate crisis

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Maine Gov. Janet Mills speaks at a signing ceremony for three major clean energy and global warming bills. Photo: Office of Governor Janet T. Mills.

At first blush, it might not seem like Colorado and Maine have much in common. The Centennial State is land-locked, while the Pine Tree State boasts one of the longest coastlines of any state in the country. They’re about 2,000 miles apart — one in the American West, one in New England — and have vastly different climates.

But they have one incredibly important similarity. And it’s not that I’ve spent big chunks of my life in both states.

Over the first half of 2019, new governors in both states — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Maine Gov. …


Even if there isn’t a climate debate, the issue is firmly in the political conversation

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Photo: Socialist Appeal via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

5 minutes, 27 seconds.

Think about what you typically do in that amount of time. It’s probably about how long it takes to trim my beard every couple of weeks, or — as often happens — the time I have to wait for all invited participants to jump on a work conference call.

If you’re more musically inclined, it’s about the same length as Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” or slightly less than two typical pop songs played one after the other.

With all due respect to Eminem, I think we can all agree that 5 minutes, 27 seconds is not enough…


Focus on green initiatives — not monsters out to destroy our environment

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Renewable energy is booming, driven by bold action in the states. Photo: Markus Distelrath from Pixabay.

It’s easy to be a pessimist.

I was exposed to this expect-the-worst mentality watching the Boston Red Sox with my grandfather while growing up. (This was, of course, before the baseball team started winning World Series championships on a somewhat regular basis.)

The Sox would load the bases with nobody out, and Grampa would mutter things such as, “oh, he’ll strike out” or “get ready for a double play.” …

Ross Sherman

Communications associate for Environment America, U.S. PIRG, TPIN.

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