An Open Letter to The American Undecided Voter

Dear American voter:

If you are still undecided or thinking of not voting in this upcoming election, please, let me explain, as a non-American, why your voice is so important. I promise to not mention either name of the candidates.

As you know, your nation is a super power, and that is why the whole world is following your elections - especially with the current polarization in American politics, and this consequential election 2016.

At every election, we say: "these are the most important of our lifetime", but it seems like this time around, it's truer than ever.

I'm a Canadian citizen, I cannot vote in the U.S. and normally, I shouldn't have a say.

So, recurring themes such as healthcare, taxes, LGBTQ community, and on women's rights - from equal pays, to decisions relating to "her" body, - are all specific domestic issues pertaining to your side of the border; all that has no effect on me.

So why do I care so much about your vote, and why won't I mind my own-side-of-the-border business? And why am I writing this letter to the Undecided American voter?

Well, domestic issues aside, here is where your decision on Tuesday, November 8, affects you, me, and the rest of the world:

Borders are man-made. And even if more walls are erected and separate us, some things cannot be kept outside or away. One of those things is global warming.

At the very beginning of the election, I had a Facebook friend ask me the following question:

"You don't actually believe in Climate Change, do you?" That shocked me, especially from a 20-something year old.

"Believe"?! Climate Change is not some philosophical question; we're talking about something we can actually witness ourselves in our lifetimes! From hearing repeatedly about melting glaciers in the coldest parts of the world, to extreme weathers conditions such as drought in warmer areas, and to the more frequent and powerful tornadoes and hurricanes...

I live in Montreal, where in winters we get heavy snowfalls and temperatures dip as low as -4°F, or lower. Just this past August, following the annual re-evaluation of my monthly set payments, my electric utility provider, first, sent me a credit for having paid too much the previous year. And, as per their analysis for the year ahead, they summed up my new equal monthly payments to an amount that is even less than I paid two years ago (and this, with yearly increases in rates!).

Do we still have snow in Montreal, and can we still make snow balls? Sure we can! But our winters have been noticeably dryer, and significantly warmer than previous years.

Climate change is not a partisan issue, and should not be looked at that way. On science matters, we should be listening to scientists; while politicians should be taking note.

Almost every country in the world participated in the COP21, held in Paris last year - which was one of the largest gatherings of world leaders - and with a mission to negotiate and agree on how the world should act now, in order to reduce emission of greenhouse gases, known as the "Paris Agreement".

Think about it, how often that many politicians get together and actually agree on something. That was over 190 countries agreeing that this is an important issue. This is kind of a big deal!

This is not an Obama or a Democratic issue. This is a global phenomenon.

I'm not a scientist and I don't quite understand the whole "greenhouse gases" explanation. Just like I don't understand how doctors cure disease, or how engineers get to build a robot that goes to Mars!

But this is how I see it: as a teenager I was introduced to the "3-Rs": "Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle", and around the same time, I learned about the devastating consequences of land, water, and air pollution. Soon after that, cities provided us with weekly recycling pickup services, and as individuals, we could all do our parts and recycle materials such as paper, metals, and plastics. Super initiative!

Don't we all want to live in a clean planet for ourselves now, and for our children? Climate change regulations is merely world leaders trying to insure that with seven-plus billion global population, we are keeping track of all the harmful activities we do to the planet, and try to decrease them systematically. That way, our lands and oceans are clean, and the air is healthy and breathable.

As intelligent, innovative human beings, why not do what we can to make this earth more inhabitable and clean for future generations? Global warming is basically an accumulating of air pollution. And just like we put our recycling bins out weekly and do our part as citizens (of our nation and of the world), world leaders are too doing their part in keeping this world cleaner for us all.

Global warming has no borders. A president who is willing to listen to the scientists and experts is an open-minded and responsible leader who wants to insure the best decisions are made during their time in office for a better tomorrow. (Along with global warming, other issues that have no borders include infectious diseases and viruses such as Zika, the global economy, and of course, all foreign affairs and diplomacy issues.)

As you can see, the whole world is watching the U.S. elections because you live in a nation that is a super power, and your decision on November 8 really does affect us all.

Borders are man-made, and the world is smaller than we perceive it to be. We're really in this together. I hope you vote.


Your neighbor from Up-North