Summertime in the U.S. conjures images of cookouts with family and friends, parades that celebrate our diverse heritages and traditions, and trips to community pools, local beaches, and state and national parks. But summertime has also become synonymous with extreme heat and its impacts:
- Wildfires that burn so hot and fast that people must flee for their lives, while clouds of smoke turn the sky a hazy orange and ash threatens our ability to breathe
- Flooding so severe that the homes of entire communities are swept away
- Rising sea levels that threaten our coastlines and the industries and communities that rely on them
Climate change is here, and the impacts are getting increasingly dire with each passing day. Our friends, families, and neighbors deserve a healthy environment that ensures our collective ability to sustain life and livelihoods. That’s why LCV is working hard to push Congress to take bold action and pass legislation this summer that addresses the climate crisis while also creating good-paying union jobs and moving our nation to a clean-energy economy. As Representative Katie Porter (CA-45) wrote in Teen Vogue recently, “the climate change and infrastructure crises are interconnected.”
These crises are also intertwined with racial injustice. Frontline communities — most often communities of color and low-wealth communities — are hit first and worst by climate change impacts because of degraded infrastructure, and toxic pollution is more likely to be generated in or transported to these communities. This means that residents — including vulnerable populations like children and the elderly — have disproportionately higher rates of asthma, heat stroke, and other environmentally-linked health conditions.
This month marks the second anniversary of the Equitable & Just National Platform, which calls for national climate action that confronts racial, economic, and environmental injustice as it enacts deep cuts in climate pollution and accelerates a pollution-free energy future that benefits all communities. The same week that the platform turned two-years-old, co-authors of the Equitable & Just National Climate Platform, including LCV, released a statement calling on the Biden-Harris administration and Congress for further, and swifter, action. The statement includes a list of urgent needs that must be addressed this year with federal action on recovery, jobs, climate, and infrastructure legislation. (Read it here.)
With your continued support, LCV will keep the pressure on Congress and the Biden-Harris administration to enact legislation with transformational provisions on climate, clean energy, jobs, and justice. It is the only way we can ensure healthy, safe, and enjoyable future summers for all.
Now, here is your LCV Top 5 for July 2021:
This month, LCV, alongside partner Climate Power, hosted a special press event offering reporters the opportunity to hear stories from people across the country and learn how climate change-fueled extreme weather events have hurt their communities.
In attendance were U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (CO), Catherine Cortez Masto (NV), Chris Murphy (CT), Tina Smith (MN), Ron Wyden (OR), and U.S. Representatives Sean Casten (IL-06), and Joe Neguse (CO-02). They joined constituents who told stories of the devastating impacts that severe weather events like wildfires, extreme heat, hurricanes, and flooding have had on their families, businesses, and communities.
This unique press event highlighted the urgency of this moment and underscored the need for Congress to take bold action on the climate crisis. Click here to watch the event and hear community members’ powerful stories.
Earlier this month, LCV was joined by U.S. Representative Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), to discuss the critical health, environmental, and community benefits of transitioning to pollution-free, electric buses. He spoke with LCV Government Affairs Advocate Darien Davis, California LCV Federal Advocacy Coordinator Aaron McCall, and Sybil Azur, a mother and community organizer, about the urgent need to rid our communities of dirty diesel buses.
Currently, over 25 million children ride the bus to school and thousands of bus drivers breathe polluted air from dirty diesel school buses. That’s one reason why Rep. Cárdenas recently introduced the Clean Commute for Kids Act, alongside Rep. Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Sen. Alex Padilla (CA), and Sen. Raphael Warnock (GA). The bill would authorize $25 billion to rapidly transition the nation’s school bus fleet to clean electric buses over ten years, prioritizing the public health of communities most impacted by air pollution, particularly communities of color and l0w-wealth communities, and including labor standards centered on protecting workers. The bill’s introduction is thanks in part to the grassroots organizing of LCV’s Chispa program and members of the national Electric School Bus Coalition, which have been pushing for federal legislation of this kind for years.
“We know that children in historically marginalized communities are most impacted by toxic air pollution — this is especially harmful to their health since they are still developing,” said LCV Government Affairs Advocate Darien Davis. “A bold investment in the transition to clean, zero-emission school buses is a crucial step towards addressing the inequities that children in low-wealth communities and communities of color face.” Learn more and watch the full discussion here.
This month, LCV published a new blog post by LCV Voting Rights Program Director Justin Kwasa and LCV Law Clerk Melanie Fineman about the late Representative John Lewis’ lifelong fight for civil rights, the connection between the right to vote and the right to a healthy environment, and the importance of passing the For the People Act.
“The late John Lewis is best known as a champion for civil rights, but he was a champion for environmental justice as well. He knew that the impacts of corporate pollution and climate change are often felt disproportionately by communities of color across this country. It’s why he co-sponsored the Environmental Justice Act with then-Senator Al Gore back in 1992.
When we look at the root causes of these inequities, we always point back to a lack of influence and representation for these communities throughout the decision making process….” Continue reading here.
This month, a coalition of progressive groups, including LCV, wrote a letter to urge Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to hold another vote on the landmark voting rights legislation, the For The People Act, before the August recess. Enacting the For the People Act would supersede suppressive state laws and modernize our voting system to ensure a consistent, accessible, and secure process for voters across the country. With the future of our democracy at stake, and hundreds of anti-voting laws being introduced (and, in some states, enacted) across the country, the U.S. Senate must act now. Read the full letter here.
Throughout the spring and summer, LCV and partners have been running a massive multi-million dollar ad campaign to raise awareness and support around the country for bold Congressional action on climate, environmental justice, and a clean energy economy that creates good-paying jobs. As more ads hit the airwaves, this month’s LCV Top 5 includes a roundup of some of these ads, all of which have district-specific messaging:
“Wisconsinites overwhelmingly support bold action on climate, clean energy, jobs, and justice,” said Kerry Schumann, Executive Director of Wisconsin Conservation Voters. “These timely ads highlight the opportunities a clean energy economy and high-quality union jobs would bring to Wisconsin.”
“New Jersey supports bold action on climate, clean energy, jobs, and justice,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director New Jersey LCV. “We are excited to see our national partner LCV run these timely ads highlighting the opportunities a clean energy economy would bring to New Jersey— including high-quality, union jobs.”
“Arizonans support bold action on climate, clean energy, jobs and climate justice,” said Chispa AZ State Co-Director Vianey Olivarria. “We look forward to working with Rep. O’Halleran to continue the fight for historic climate legislation with investments at the scale that science and justice demand.”