In the week leading up to the New Hampshire primary, two eager activists traveled to the Granite State to elevate wildlife issues with candidates, press the importance of acting on climate change, and create a strong presence from the environmental community. Megan Seymour, Political Fellow for NWF Action Fund, and Lucy Evert, Senior Campaigns Coordinator at NWF, were in New Hampshire from February 5th to the 10th to visit Presidential Town Halls and ask the candidates what they are going to do to address the wildlife crisis. Local contacts in the Northeast and volunteer Eric Orff helped them to get to town halls and deliver their message. Their goal was to represent the conservation community and raise the visibility of our issues from a media perspective, as well as elevate awareness of the decline in wildlife with presidential candidates. Megan and Lucy accomplished this by attending town halls and rallies to ask the candidates questions about wildlife and get their thoughts about how to address the crisis. The go-to statistic they quoted was about the 60% decline in the New Hampshire moose population, in large part due to a warming climate. They gave candidates a stuffed animal moose, when possible, as a way for them to remember conservation priorities and also as a great visual for Action Fund social media channels. Some stats from our travels:
- Attended 9 events, including for Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg, Michael Bennet, Deval Patrick, and a rally at St. Anselm College (where the debate was hosted).
- Were able to “moose” four different candidates including Joe Biden, Andrew Yang, Michael Bennet, and Deval Patrick.
Thursday, February 6th
The first event of the day that Megan and Lucy attended was a town hall with Senator Amy Klobuchar, held at Southern New Hampshire University with the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire. It was a small venue and the conversation focused around issues of national security, foreign affairs, and America’s role in a changing international stage. However, Klobuchar did mention the importance of addressing climate change. She said that in her first 100 days in office she would rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, reinstitute the Clean Power Plan, and introduce sweeping legislation on carbon pricing.
Later in the day, they attended a GOTV event in Derry for Senator Elizabeth Warren. This event had a great turnout and even though limited questions were picked through a raffle system, Megan was picked to ask a question in front of the crowd and many news outlets. She asked Warren about her plans to address climate change and specifically in regards to how climate change had impacted the decline in wildlife, giving the New Hampshire moose population as an example. Warren talked extensively about the need to act on climate change immediately and to take not just one approach, but rather to enact as many solutions as possible simultaneously. Eric Orff was interviewed by upwards of 6 different media outlets, including BBC News and other well-known outlets. The Action Fund’s social media team helped broadcast some of its activities through its twitter account. Megan was quoted in the Washington Post and the article can be found here. A clip of Megan asking Warren her question can be found here.
Friday, February 7th
On Friday, Megan and Lucy attempted to go to one of the few Senator Bernie Sanders events that was held that week, but it was closed to sponsors only. Instead, they worked on planning events to go to, recruiting volunteers, and creating a social media document with pictures and videos to be used for Twitter content. Friday night, the eighth presidential primary debate took place at Saint Anselm College in Manchester. Megan and Lucy went to the rallies outside of the debate stage. They brought the moose along to document the occasion.
Saturday, February 8th
On Saturday, they attend a Joe Biden GOTV event in Manchester. With a full house, Biden spoke about a diverse array of policy issues and briefly touched on climate change. He spoke to the fact that climate change is a global issue and the importance of rejoining the Paris Climate Accord and holding polluters accountable. While Biden did not take questions, Lucy was able to talk to him briefly after the event and grabbed a photo with him and the moose.
After that, they headed to a Michael Bennet town hall in Manchester. Bennet touched on the importance of having someone with a strong record on climate change in the White House. Bennet’s climate plan includes establishing a commitment to conserving 30 percent of America’s lands and oceans by 2030. While Bennet dropped out of the primary after the New Hampshire vote, Megan and Lucy were still able to get a picture with him and let him know that they were there advocating for wildlife.
Lastly, they were invited to the McIntyre-Shaheen 2020 Club Dinner, a ticketed event where all the major candidates, as well as the New Hampshire legislature, speak about the primary, their ambitions as candidates, and current political events.
Sunday, February 9th
On Sunday, Lucy and Megan attended another Elizabeth Warren GOTV in Concord. Deb Haaland, Katie Porter, and Ayanna Presley opened for Warren, giving her a diverse, women-led coalition of support. She focused on her primary theme of tackling corruption, not only in Washington but in how money and power influence outcomes and diminish the voices of those without them.
They also went to a Pete Buttigieg town hall in Londonderry, which was extremely full after Buttigieg’s announced win in Iowa. They were unable to go into the main area of the event due to the number of people who attended but were able to get a picture from the overflow area, where the former South Bend Mayor came to speak.
Monday, February 10th
On their last day in New Hampshire, Lucy and Megan went to an Andrew Yang town hall in Concord with Eric Orff. As a New Hampshire native, lifelong conservationist, and former CAC organizer, Orff is well-versed in the issues important to the Action Fund. He spoke with Andrew Yang about the importance of conservation and acting on climate change to prevent the decline of wildlife, like the New Hampshire moose.
The last event they attended was a town hall with Deval Patrick, former governor of Massachusetts. Megan was able to ask him a question about addressing climate change and specifically what he would do to help declining wildlife populations, such as the moose. He answered that he would create green jobs and that in regards to wildlife, he needs to learn more about the topic, but that he would start with strengthening and modernizing the Endangered Species Act.