I don’t know why people tie themselves into pretzels over this: it’s simple math. Two thirds (2/3) of eligible voters don’t vote. If only 1 in 3 people votes, it is true that 1 person will be making decisions for him/herself – plus for the other 2 people who didn’t vote.
There is nothing noble about voting, but it is a pretty sure-fired way to show your elected official that you are willing to show up at the polls. This sends a clear message that you can vote him/her out of office – which is their job – if s/he doesn’t represent you well.
This means that YOU have the power to fire politicians who refuse to be accountable to you and your wishes. And we all know that nobody wants to get fired so imagine the power in your poll-button-pushing fingertips.
Accountability means representing you authentically as constituent representatives, and you must do your job as a democratic citizen in order to make this possible. You must express your opinions, preferences and interests to your elected officials and then hold them responsible for doing their job as by representing what you want, and what is good for you. As opposed to representing their own interests, or the interests of big companies or powerful people who want them to do things that are not good for you or other constituents.
This requires a bit of work on your part, but that’s what democracy is all about. And you do believe in democracy, don’t you?
#1 How in God’s name can you get social change going in a democracy without people voting?
#2 You need to vote.
#3 That’s it.
If you’re looking for the relationship between voting and felled trees, it is this: not voting makes as much sense as asking the question of whether a tree makes a sound when it falls in the forest if no one is there to hear it fall. Actually, who cares and what difference does it make? This is nonsense, don’t waste your time thinking about it. Go vote.