Your weekly resource to learn what the environmental movement is saying about the news of the day and the political fight of our generation. Be sure to follow LCV on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
“Through his actions, President Putin has provided the world with an overwhelming incentive to move away from Russian gas and to other forms of energy.”
–President Biden, in a statement regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and resulting sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
“Every child in America deserves to have an experience of wonder during their youth. Our national parks embody that space where astonishment is the atmosphere we breathe. Those moments of transcendence provide a strong foundation for a future where all our dreams of a truly inclusive democracy can take root, grow, and become kin to that luminous entanglement we call a forest, a desert, a wetland, a homeland, a home.”
– Yosemite National Park Ranger Shelton Johnson, who was awarded the 2022 American Park Experience Award last week for his lifelong effort to promote more diversity in national parks. His work particularly focuses on telling the story of the Buffalo Soldiers, Black soldiers who were among the first park rangers before the creation of the National Park Service.
“I trusted the government that we had a deal, and down here at the end of the day, the rug gets pulled out from under me.”
– Brandon Smith, a Black, fourth-generation cattle rancher in Bastrop, Texas, who was counting on debt forgiveness set aside for Black farmers, who have endured decades of discrimination from banks and the federal government. The initiative has been stymied amid lawsuits from white farmers and groups representing them that questioned whether the government can offer debt relief based on race.
“This is what environmental justice looks like. All levels of government working together to protect vulnerable communities from pollution in their backyards. As we did in Chicago, EPA stands ready to work hand-in-hand with local and state partners to fix environmental wrongs and achieve shared goals of protecting all people from pollution.”
— EPA Administrator Michael Regan speaking on a major environmental justice victory won last week by a majority Latino neighborhood on Chicago’s Southeast Side, who successfully blocked a permit for a metal shredder to relocate from the wealthy, white neighborhood of Lincoln Park to a majority Latino community surrounded by Black communities amid concerns of environmental racism.
JUDGE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON: On Friday, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson made history as the first ever Black woman nominated to the Supreme Court. We know that our environmental laws are only as strong as the judges who uphold them — Judge Jackson’s exceptional qualifications and her service as a public defender will add a substantial voice to the Supreme Court.
OUR TAKE: President Gene Karpinski said, “The historic nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the nation’s highest Court is a milestone in the fight for racial justice and equity. We applaud President Biden for fulfilling his campaign promise to nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court, showing that elections have consequences, and for selecting a fair-minded jurist who will uphold the promise of equal justice under law. This next Justice will impact our climate, environment, and voting rights for decades to come. We are confident that Judge Jackson will add a critical perspective and unique voice on the Court, and that her distinguished service on the D.C. Circuit and D.C. District Courts, as well as the U.S. Sentencing Commission, makes her exceptionally well-qualified. We look forward to the Senate swiftly confirming Jackson while simultaneously addressing massive challenges and transformational opportunities for our environment, democracy, and lower courts.”
DOUBLE TAKE: Chispa National Campaigns Manager Alejandra Ramirez-Zarate said, “We applaud President Biden’s decision to nominate Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman on the Supreme Court. Judge Jackson’s exceptional career and record of service will add much-needed expertise and equity lens to guide the Supreme Court’s decisions. The Supreme Court’s extensive power is critical at a time when civil and human rights, particularly for Black, Indigenous, and people of color, are under attack. We require a Justice for the people. Judge Jackson will add needed insight and impartiality based on legal expertise gained during her decades of experience as a federal appeals court judge, federal district court judge, Vice Chair of the US Sentencing Commission, and federal public defender.
For far too long, Black women have fought for fair recognition, representation, and compensation for their labor. Judge Jackson’s confirmation to the nation’s highest court brings us closer to realizing a democracy that works for all its people, particularly women of color, but we know this is not enough. We need to address socioeconomic disparities and institute critical reforms that facilitate entry and create pathways for Black women into the legal and other fields. Our country will only succeed when we address the intentional and historic neglect and exclusion of Black communities and work to remove barriers through intentional policy-making that addresses those critical needs. Chispa LCV strongly supports Judge Jackson’s nomination and calls on the Senate to provide a speedy and equitable confirmation process.”
UKRAINE: Our hearts are with the people of Ukraine, under unlawful attack by authoritarian dictator Vladimir Putin. LCV is watching the conflict and its impact on energy prices closely and will continue to remind the public that investing in clean energy at home would protect our economy from overseas conflicts. We issued the following statement this week.
OUR TAKE: President Gene Karpinski said, “We stand with the people of Ukraine. We condemn Russia’s unprovoked assault on Ukrainians trying to live in peace as a sovereign nation with a democratically elected government. This act of war flies in the face of building a more just, equitable and safe future for all people. In addition to the catastrophic human cost, the economic ramifications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are a stark reminder that it’s time to double down on clean, renewable, domestic energy — not only to address the climate crisis, but also to end our reliance on volatile interests and polluting fossil fuels. Moving to a clean energy economy will provide greater economic stability, lower energy costs, and protect our national and climate security.”
BLACK HISTORY MONTH REFLECTIONS: As an organization that builds political power for people and the planet, LCV and our work are deeply indebted to and entwined with the environmental justice movement. This Black History Month, we reflected on how the environmental justice movement came to life, and highlighted some of the Black leaders who birthed this powerful movement and continue to lead its work today. Read our blog HERE.
32,413 PEOPLE WANT BBB: 32,413 people so far have signed LCV’s petition telling President Biden and members of Congress that we don’t have time to waste to take meaningful action on climate, environmental justice, and clean energy now. The Senate must now pass the House-passed $550 billion in investments for climate, justice, and jobs that will create a healthier, safer, and more just future for all communities. Add your name HERE.
CHISPA AZ JOINS THE HEALING JUSTICE COHORT: On Wednesday, Chispa Arizona announced it will be joining the Healing Justice Cohort. The Healing Justice Project, launched by singer Camila Cabello and nonprofit Movement Voter Fund, focuses on giving activists access to mental health support. Thanks to this project, Chispa AZ will receive $20,000 to help its members and staff access mental health services. Visit Chispa AZ’s post on the cohort HERE.
CHISPA AZ NEW HIRE: On Wednesday, Chispa Arizona announced its new hire of Communication Deputy Director, Nuvia Enriquez. She is passionate about education advocacy and has worked closely with the Isac Amaya Foundation, Valley of the Sun United Way, and Expect More Arizona. Visit Chispa AZ’s announcement post HERE.
CHISPA MD RALLY FOR CLEAN AIR: This past Tuesday, Chispa Maryland hosted a rally for cleaner air, healthy niños, and a better future as part of Chispa LCV’s Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign. THe rally had a great turnout with intergenerational support. Visit Chispa’s post on the rally HERE, and see photos of the event HERE and HERE.
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IS RACIAL JUSTICE: On Thursday, Chispa Arizona hosted Dr. Tara Armstead in a webinar to learn about historical data on redlining and urban landscapes in Black communities and to discuss solutions to environmental racism.
NYLCV AND REP. BOWMAN ON BBBA: On Wednesday, New York League of Conservation Voters hosted a virtual town hall with Representative Jamaal Bowman to discuss the future of the Build Back Better agenda in New York’s 16th Congressional District.
NYLCV WESTERN NY PRESS CONFERENCE: On Tuesday, New York League of Conservation Voters President Julie Tighe joined Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, New York state Senator Sean Ryan, and Citizens Campaign for the Environment to discuss the urgent need for climate investments and the Build Back Better agenda.
NYLCV TAKE: New York League of Conservation Voters President Julie Tighe said, “If we’re going to meet the moment and make transformative investments that not only stop the impacts of climate change in its tracks, but reverse course and build back smarter, stronger, and more sustainably, then we need major federal climate legislation.”
ELECTRIC VEHICLES AND EJ IN RIVIAN, GA: Last week, residents in Social Circle and Rutledge, Georgia were shocked to hear about a deal to build a $5 billion Rivian electric vehicle factory in their community. After failing to get clear answers, the community came together to raise money to explore their legal options in opposition of the project. Unfortunately, this type of closed-door development, with deals made without any input from affected communities, happens all the time, particularly in Black communities and other communities of color.
GCV TAKE: Georgia Conservation Voters published a response to the Rivian electrical vehicle plant announcement, saying “GCV stands with the community in their concerns about how the Rivian electric vehicle plant will impact their quality of life, especially air and water quality. Still, we know that we need to transition to a clean energy economy as fast as possible to protect our quality of life, air, and water now and for future generations. Electric vehicles are critical to that transition. In 2017, vehicles accounted for 43% of Georgia’s CO2 emissions — our most significant source. Switching to electric vehicles will help us dramatically reduce these emissions. The switch to EVs will also help improve air quality and help lower the rate of asthma in communities. So yes, we are very excited about Rivian!… [However,] Rivian must keep its promise to prioritize community involvement and develop the plant with minimal disruption to people’s lives and the natural environment.” To read the full response, click HERE.
MASSACHUSETTS CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK: On Tuesday, the Environmental League of Massachusetts joined partner organizations to host an online event to discuss how municipal light plants (MLPs) empower communities to transition to clean energy. MLPs are run by elected officials and have the power to prioritize local needs over profit. To learn more, click HERE.
CHISPA AZ CLEAN UP: On Sunday, Chispa Arizona hosted a community clean up at the Rio Salado in Phoenix to build community and clean up trash that had been collected by the river.
FROM THE FIELD: Across the nation, LCV’s field team continues to hear that communities across the country want climate action now – we’ve knocked on over 514,000 doors and have activated nearly 31,000 people to advocate for the critical climate provisions in the Build Back Better Act. And, over 24,000 businesses are displaying their support for climate action, too.
ALL OF FEBRUARY – Black History Month
ALL OF MARCH – Women’s History Month
FEBRUARY 26 + 27 – Battle Born Progress’ Progressive Summit
FEBRUARY 28 – Supreme Court will hear WV v. EPA
MARCH 1 – President Biden’s State of the Union address
MARCH 1 –Texas Primary Election
MARCH 11 – Government funding expires