With Georgia's Senate runoff election underway, a pair of local environmental activists are spreading their message about the need to fight climate change.
"Our biggest message is that people need to be thinking about the climate when they're voting because people don't realize the South is really going to be — we're already being hit and we will be hit by climate change," Natasha Dörr-Kapczynski, co-founder and communications coordinator of Georgia For The Planet, a nonprofit advocacy group, told Cheddar.
She said her group is working to inform voters about the candidates' positions on climate change, which in her opinion favor Democratic challengers Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, both having advocated for rejoining the Paris Climate Accords, rebuilding the Environmental Protection Agency, and protecting Georgia's coastline.
Jordan Madden, a coordinator at Sunrise Movement Clayton County and an intern for Democratic State Rep. Becky Evans, is looking ahead to the incoming Biden administration for a more ambitious national plan to address climate change.
"First off, I'm looking for a Green New Deal," he said. "That is number one and our top priority over the next 10 years with this climate mandate."
He highlighted the need to help "Black and brown communities" who will be disproportionately impacted by climate change both in the U.S. and around the world. He also called on these same groups, particularly those employed in the fossil fuel industry, to become active themselves by unionizing and calling on their elected officials to address these concerns.
Dörr-Kapczynski noted that outside of the closely watched Senate runoff election, there is another local race Tuesday that is also crucial to the planet: the Public Service Commission, which regulates Georgia Power, the state's main utility.
She explained that the regulator is in charge of shaping energy policy in the state, including whether or not there is a transition away from coal and other fossil fuels.
"That's why it's very important to elect some new faces in there," she said.