Ask any European what they like about the United States and their answer—at least these days—will always be about the great outdoors. Love of the natural wonders and wide open spaces of this country are one of the few things people on every side of our fractured political divides can agree on.
Climate change education and outdoor advocacy nonprofit Protect Our Winters is using that love as a rallying cry in a new campaign that call for people to vote in November’s presidential election. “Common Ground,” a short film from McKinney L.A., doesn’t advocate for a specific candidate or party. Instead, it focuses on the commonalities of a particular constituency, what it calls the “Outdoor State,” a collective of everyone who cares about nature, the environment or outdoor sports.
Narrated by Jimmy Chin, the mountain climber and Oscar-winner who produced and directed “Free Solo” with his wife Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, the film is unabashed in casting a wide net, appealing to Indigenous people, LGBTQ people, descendants of enslaved people and immigrants both newly arrived and just a few generations removed from Ellis Island—all of whom have a stake in keeping air, the water and the soil clean and pristine for generations to come. It features athletes, like rock climbers and mountaineers Tommy Caldwell and Conrad Anker.
The spot directs viewers to MakeaDamnPlan.org, an online voter guide that walks visitors through tasks like requesting an absentee ballot and finding their polling place. It also kicks off POW’s larger “If You Love the Land, Make a Plan” campaign, which rolls out between now and Election Day. It will include calls to send in absentee ballots early and—for those voting in person—to literally run to the polls to cast a ballot.
Outdoor recreation brands including Columbia, Skullcandy, Burton, Sierra Nevada and Strava will also amplify the campaign.