ICYMI – June 12, 2020
First up, let’s talk about climate justice. Maybe this is a new term for you or maybe it’s a term you know but don’t fully understand. Here’s the thing, climate change disproportionately affects BIPOC communities and hits those on the frontlines first and worst. If you’re still learning why that is and are looking for resources, we rounded up some great coverage on this very topic in this week’s news.
We recommend diving into the details of climate justice by starting with a reading list from the New York Times on the links between racism and the environment. Then learn about how the current administration’s most recent environmental rollbacks will impact minority communities. After that, jump into Yale 360’s explanation of the deep links between racism and climate change. Maybe take a breather, then dive back in with this story from the Sierra Club on how racism is killing the planet. Finally, wrap up with this piece from Grist on why racial justice is climate justice. Sit with these stories, then jump back in next week with us and learn more.
In case you missed it, POW and our sister org the POW Action Fund have been in D.C. all week lobbying on behalf of the Outdoor State. Well, not exactly in D.C. (because pandemic) but the next best thing. Dozens of Alliance members met with dozens of lawmakers through digital Zoom meetings, hundreds of people signed up for and attended POW’s online Lobby Camp Orientation and lunchtime meetings and still hundreds more called their reps asking for action on climate. And while it was a bummer not to physically be on the Hill this year, racing between buildings and meetings, going totally digital made it more feasible to bring the whole community into the lobbying loop. Seeing so many faces from the outdoor community tuning in to learn and take action made it all worth it.
If you missed the orientation, lunchtime talks or any other portion of our Lobby Camp, you can check out a big portion of the week here.
“When U.S. citizens faced dirty rivers and piles of trash in the 1970s, they didn’t expect executives to re-imagine capitalism, they demanded that pollutants be regulated. When smog overcame U.S. cities, activists didn’t invite heroic CEOs to create win-win solutions; they called for emission standards. When toxic chemicals turned up in Love Canal, citizens did not ask for a circular economy, they demanded regulations that tracked the location and use of dangerous chemicals; and when the world faced its first global threat to our shared atmosphere (damage to our ozone layer), citizens and lawmakers did not ask for companies to create “social purpose” charters — they forced global leaders to negotiate a worldwide ban. As a result, our rivers are healthier, our air is safer, and the hole in the ozone layer is closing.”
Hope without action and accountability is not a strategy for solving climate change. And most importantly, there are no magical solutions, and there especially aren’t solutions that don’t come with serious work. Which, for the outdoor community, probably comes as no surprise. No one drops their first big line without first trekking up the mountain. Put us in coach! We’re ready to do the work.
“Plummeting wind, solar, and storage prices have fallen so fast that the United States can reach 90% clean electricity by 2035 – without raising customer costs at all from today’s levels, and actually decreasing wholesale power costs 10%.”
We can have our cake and eat it too––emissions reductions, with economic growth while reducing consumer costs are all possible. And it’s not a radical idea.
Sorry to end on a low note, but…
“We need to place people over profit,” Victoria Midence told Grist. “As we suffer through this pandemic with the fear that our lungs and heart are already compromised because of diesel pollution, Trump is removing perhaps the last protections we have to raise our voices and demand environmental justice.”
The Trump administration signed an executive order that would waive key requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This act is pretty important when it comes to holding federal actions accountable in terms of environmental regulations and also will have massive impacts on frontline communities.