October 15, 2020
The polls are open + we’re armed with our best voter’s tips + tricks! Happy election season everyone — if you’re like me, you tend to find the election season a *tad bit* exhausting. From one campaign to the next, it can feel like a whirlwind. But that’s why I love it when I find people like Kate Glavan. Kate is a political and environmental justice enthusiast who offers resources + great voting tips for the average person. We couldn’t think of a better individual to spotlight as our GOOD CHATS feature for October! Voting doesn’t solve ALL our problems, but it sure can help steer us in the right direction, right?!
So, get your notepads out + be prepared to get that one last push to the polls.
Introducing October’s Good Talks guest, Kate Glavan:
SG: Tell us a little about who you are + your journey to getting involved in politics / environmental justice.
Kate: My name is Kate Glavan, I’m a senior at New York University in a program where you design your own individualized major — which is super awesome for personal growth because the program encourages you to follow where your passions take you. (I’m originally from Minnesota, by the way!) I came to New York City with interests in both fashion and politics, mostly for the ways that fashion and politics both tie to things like sustainability and the environment. I started to work in the fashion industry during my freshman year of college. I’d always been involved in political clubs and organizations throughout high school, but as a woman I never felt “smart” enough to seriously pursue politics. At the end of my freshman year — I felt more compelled to pursue politics than fashion with my degree, so started to do political work.
SG: You are an influential voice on social channels such as IG and use that platform to inform, educate, and make bold political statements. What inspired your desire to pursue + join the political conversation in this way?
Kate: First of all — thank you! I find that my political “voice” started to come through on Instagram about 2 years ago when I began writing a bi-weekly newsletter with the intention of making politics more digestible and accessible. As a gen-z news consumer, I find that the modes of consuming news from my parents generation no longer serves young people. It is no longer the most effective to “stay in the know” with all that’s going on. We’re on our phones — thus, I wanted to harness the power of our smartphones instead of relying on cable news pundits to talk over the concerns of my generation. I wanted to fill that void by leveraging Instagram as a platform to engage with politics for those my age who want to learn more and spread awareness about important causes — whether that be on climate change, income inequality, the Electoral College, or the Supreme Court.
SG: From your perspective, what are the areas of US politics that are still inaccessible? Can you share what changing that might look like?
Kate: I find that we all focus on hypernational, sensationalized news instead of what’s going on in our own communities. It is difficult to stay in the know with things impacting your own neighborhood — ie. you may need to start consuming local newspapers vs. CNN — but I find that we all are experts on the places we live, thus need to start at the grassroots and build up! A lot of local political changes at the City Council or school board level get swept under the rug because everyone’s eye is on what Trump is tweeting. I find that we all should focus local if we want to make the most enduring, tangible impact on those around us.
SG: What is 1 thing you wish everyone knew about politics + voting?
Kate: Voting is a privilege. Make sure you vote in off-year elections — not just once every 4 years!
SG: Can you define what “environmental justice” means for us? & How do the topics of environmental justice and politics intersect?
Kate: Environmental justice is an ongoing struggle to make sure that all people have a voice in the political dialogue around urgent crises like climate change, by addressing racism and inequality when we talk about environmental issues. Frontline communities that have been suffering the most from exploitative, capitalistic, and extractive policies must be heard in the policymaking discussions for a ‘just’ transition to take place. Environmental justice is a way to tie political issues like fair housing, wages, jobs with areas that may seem separate at first glance such as air/water pollution, climate change, etc. These issues are all connected — thus a political solution must address all of these crises together.
SG: For many of us, voting often can feel obsolete or an ineffective way to pursue change. How would you encourage those who feel this way to register and authentically show up to vote this year?
Kate: Voting is just one piece of the puzzle, and I agree — with the Electoral College, it is easy to feel small and useless with your one vote. However, your vote at the local level has sway over who your District Attorney is, who your Congressperson is, who your City Council person is. You have tremendous power over what’s happening in your city when you show up to vote for *all* elections.
SG: What is your definition of success? What do you consider your most recent accomplishment? (this can be anything! Within business, your own personal health goals, family, etc.)
Kate: Success is knowing yourself! I’m graduating college this December, thus have been doing a lot of academic writing to “explain” who I am for my academic concentration. It’s been a very exhausting exercise to keep rewriting what I *think* I want to do with my degree when the world feels so uncertain. Yet this exercise of reflection has forced me to find out what my strengths are and start to talk kindly about myself. Self-confidence is an ongoing struggle for me, but writing about how I’ve changed these past four years has helped me to realize that my 18 year-old self would definitely be proud of who I am now.
SG: Who is a woman who inspires you and why?
Kate: My mom. It’s corny, but she’s who I look up to the most! She grew up playing sports after Title IX was established in 1972, thus often talks about the hurdles she faced as a female athlete. Not to mention, she was really talented — being an All-American and professional volleyball player. Her tenacity, take-no-prisoners attitude as a woman is something that reminds me to keep going and fighting, shaping how I stand up for myself.
SG: Just for fun, how do you take your coffee? If you don’t drink coffee, what’s your go-to drink of choice for a pick me up?
Kate: I drink my coffee black! And then I mix in some Tocos from Sun Potion and Reishi from Moon Juice to stay balanced 🙂
SG: What is your go-to self care practice these days?
Kate: Running — surprisingly, it is something I hated as a kid! I enjoy using it as a time in the morning to start my routine when I feel like my thoughts are all over the place. Challenging myself physically in the morning forces me to slow down my brain by focusing on something as simple as my breath. Then I usually make some superfood pancakes to get my day started with good intention 🙂
Okay, feeling motivated over here!! a couple key takeaways for me:
- We all should focus local if we want to make the most enduring, tangible impact on those around us.
- Make sure you vote in off-year elections — not just once every 4 years
Vote local local local!