“Today is the very best day for bein’ green. Happy #EarthDay !”
— Kermit the Frog via Twitter.
“During the pandemic, @realDonaldTrump has rolled back clean car standards, undermined mercury protections, & refused to strengthen air quality rules — all of which pollute the air & put folks at higher risk of COVID-19 complications
For #EarthDay Trump planted a f*****g tree”
— League of Conservation Voters National Press Secretary Emily Samsel via Twitter.
“Happy Earth Day
Reminder that taking care of Earth should not be a one day commitment, but an ongoing everyday habit”
— Youth climate and Indigenous activist Xiye Bastida via Twitter.
The Washington Post: Joe Biden scores endorsement from big-spending green group
E&E News: Major green group endorses Biden
Heated: Biden signals a climate shift
LCV’s affiliates are hard at work protecting the environment and fighting climate change in the states. Here’s what people are reading across the country:
San Francisco Chronicle (CA): Editorial: Congress should stick with conservation funding in a dark time
Asbury Park Press (NJ): On this Earth Day, let’s work toward a 21st century clean energy future
EARTH DAY LIVE! The youth climate coalition mobilized a three day livestream program to mark the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, from April 22 – April 24. Activists, thought leaders, and artists came together online to host workshops, panels, and performances centered around building a more sustainable and just future for all, including a Black Millennials for Flint Twitter roundtable discussion. Over 650,000 people joined the livestream on Earth Day, but there is much more to come. Be sure to join Justin Kwasa and Nicole Morales on Friday, April 24 at 7:30 PM ET at www.earthdaylive2020.org to talk about the importance of a complete census count for our democracy and our climate!
ADDRESSING ENVIRONMENTAL RACISM & THE RIGHT TO VOTE: LCV’s Voting Rights Program Director Justin Kwasa had an article featured in Blavity drawing connections between the ways that communities of color, specifically black communities, are overburdened by health and environmental racism while also traditionally and intentionally being left out of the democratic process through targeted voter suppression. Black people already face discriminatory impacts associated with climate change, housing, healthcare, voting and now COVID-19, and in order to fix these systems, Congress needs to provide states with at least $4 billion to fully fund and administer the 2020 elections in a safe, fair and accessible manner for all.
CHISPA EARTH DAY!: Just in time for Earth Day, the In The Thick political podcast welcomed LCV SVP of Community and Civic Engagement Jennifer Allen Aroz and Data for Progress’ Julian Brave NoiseCat to discuss organizing for environmental justice for Indigenous and POC communities. Listen to the full podcast here! In more Chispa news, Chispa National Director Johana Vicente wrote a blog about her life growing up in harmony with nature in her home country of Ecuador and what Earth Day means to her. She discusses how she got involved in the environmental movement once she and her family moved to the United States. Read Johana’s full blog here and check out Chispa’s Earth Day Poster below created by Yocelyn Riojas – @yocelyn_riojas!
BIDEN 2020: The League of Conservation Voters Action Fund, which works to elect pro-environmental candidates, enthusiastically announced its endorsement of Joe Biden for president of the United States. Biden’s climate plan details his commitment to a 100 percent clean energy economy by no later than 2050; recommitting to and exceeding the Paris Climate Agreement; building climate-smart infrastructure; centering racial justice and equity in his climate policies; increasing our ability to hold polluters accountable, including for communities of color most affected by pollution; and securing benefits for workers in the fossil fuel industry, their families and communities. Biden’s plan is based on science, rooted in equity, and prioritizes justice. Building on his international experience and relationships, he plans to rally the rest of the world to meet the threat of climate change and lead an effort to get every major country to ramp up the ambition of their domestic climate targets in the Paris Climate Agreement. Vice President Biden told LCV Action Fund he is committed to building on his climate leadership with additional policies, including in environmental justice, new, concrete emissions reduction goals to achieve within a decade, and more investments in a clean energy economy. LCV Action Fund looks forward to continuing to work with Biden as he further develops his plans on the campaign trail and as president.
OUR TAKE: LCV Action Fund SVP of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “We are proud to endorse Joe Biden to be the next president of the United States. The 2020 election is our last, best chance to address the climate crisis, and we simply must have strong leadership in the White House. We cannot afford the cost of inaction or another four years of a Trump presidency. Donald Trump is the most anti-environmental president in history, period. Voters are demanding action and we are confident that as president, Biden will immediately put our country on track for a 100 percent clean energy economy with policies centered in justice and equity that restore America’s global climate leadership.”
BIDEN’S TWITTER TAKE: “I am honored to have the endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund, a leading environmental advocacy organization. Climate change is an existential threat, and there is no greater challenge and opportunity facing our country and our world.”
21st AIR QUALITY REPORT: This week, the American Lung Association released its 21st annual “State of the Air” report, detailing the air quality in each state and each county across the country. The analysis includes a report card style grading system, ranging from A-F, and features the categories of high ozone days, particle pollution, and at risk groups for each state. The American Lung Association is continuing to provide a critical resource that helps people identify the state of their air and encourages them to take action to improve or protect their air quality, which has so many impacts on our health — most recently being linked in a Harvard study to an increased risk of death from COVID-19 .
ENVIRONMENTAL RACISM HEIGHTENED: LCV’s Legislative Director Matthew Davis shared his thoughts in a blog on three of the Trump administration’s anti-science rollbacks during the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to working at LCV, Davis worked for the EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection under the Obama administration. In his blog he addresses the heightened environmental racism under this administration’s anti-science attacks on public health, which is compounded by COVID-19 and is disproportionately affecting low-wealth communities and communities of color.
BAILING OUT OIL: Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration has been continuing harmful environmental rollbacks and refusing to put the health of families first. This week, President Trump tweeted that he “will never let the great U.S. Oil & Gas Industry down.” Now is the time to support communities, especially the low wealth communities and communities of color suffering the most from the coronavirus pandemic, the climate crisis, and toxic pollution — not bail out some of the biggest polluting industries and put our health at further risk.
OUR TAKE: LCV SVP of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Suggesting a bail out for Big Oil on the heels of the 10 year commemoration of the catastrophic BP oil is yet another poignant example of this president’s backwards priorities. Prioritizing corporate special interests in the midst of an unprecedented public health and economic crisis is the Trump administration at its worst.”
CARES ACT PHASE TWO: This week, the Senate and House passed a new phase of the CARES Act to help those most affected by COVID-19. The bill includes more funding for the paycheck protection program, other small business loans, assistance to hospitals and for a national COVID-19 testing strategy. In the next round legislative response to COVID-19, Nancy Pelosi and her caucus have made clear that they want to move forward with additional measures to help millions of people during this difficult time, while Trump and McConnell are likely to focus on industry — as they repeatedly have in the past — rather than putting our health and families first.
TRUMP’S RACIST IMMIGRATION ‘PAUSE’: This week, President Trump announced plans to sign an executive order that would suspend immigration and the issuing of green cards for 60 days. He claims this will eliminate competetion for jobs but is just another xenophobic and racist policy.
OUR TAKE: LCV SVP of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “This is yet another shameful attempt by President Trump to play political games with people’s lives in the middle of a global pandemic. LCV stands with immigrants, so many of whom are risking their lives on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis. We are fighting for a future where all of our communities are protected from harm.”
DOUBLE TAKE: LCV Chispa National Director Johana Vicente said, “Capitalizing on a global health crisis to stoke fear in our communities is a new low, even for this xenophobic administration. “Call this what it is: another racist attack on communities of color.”
TRUMP CALLS FOR FEDERAL URANIUM RESERVE: This week the Trump administration along with the Nuclear Fuel Working Group unveiled plans to continue to protect big polluters. The plan includes buying supplies to create a national reserve for the uranium industry. The Nuclear Fuel Working Group seeks to prevent the closures of uranium mines despite uranium mining being detrimental to sacred public lands.
REPRESENTATIVE GRIJALVA’S TAKE: “The Trump administration wants uranium mining near the Grand Canyon without even minimal public oversight, and it doesn’t care about the consequences. Today’s report is a roadmap for giving the uranium mining industry everything it wants without any scrutiny. If these recommendations are followed, we’ll pay a terrible environmental and public health price – and there won’t be any public discussion about whether we need to change course. Anyone who wants to spin this as anything other than a massive industry giveaway has the burden of proof on them, and any excuse they offer won’t stack up to the plain text of today’s absurd report.”
CHAMPS GET IT DONE: House champs are standing up to the Trump administration’s dirty rollbacks during the coronavirus pandemic. Representatives Bill Foster and Mikie Sherrill led a letter to Andrew Wheeler of the EPA and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao objecting to the rollback of the clean car and greenhouse gas emissions standards. The recent rollbacks from this administration completely undermine science and continue to put the health of communities at risk, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. House champs are urging the administration to take the necessary steps to protect public health.
2020TALKS: LCV Senior Director of Political Affairs Craig Auster joined the 2020Talks political podcast to talk about LCV Action Fund’s endorsement of Joe Biden for the 2020 presidential election and how Biden will be the best for our Earth.
GO ON A HIKE: In a time when we are all itching to get outside, we’ve got the next best thing for you — go on a virtual reality hike with Chispa’s Masavi Perea in Oak Flat, Arizona. Enjoy the beauty of madre tierra, at a physically safe distance, here!
STATES ARE STILL LEADING: While Trump’s failed leadership during the coronavirus pandemic has put many lives at risk and his administration is concurrently rolling back environmental safeguards, state elected officials are leading the coronavirus response and continuing to fight climate change. COVID-19 may have delayed some legislative sessions, but state leaders continue to find ways to move forward on bold clean energy plans that will protect local communities and support clean energy job creation.
A GREEN ECON RECOVERY (MA): Senator Ed Markey joined the Environmental League of Massachusetts for the Earth Day edition of their Wednesday webinars, which, this week, focused on a green economic recovery, post-coronavirus. Leading up to the webinar, Markey pointed out, “The unprecedented tragedy of COVID-19 is also an unprecedented opportunity to reorganize our economy and prioritize the health of our people and planet over profit.” We agree.
EARTH DAY IN THE GRANITE STATE (NH): In New Hampshire, Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan joined LCV for an Earth Day zoom conversation. Senator Shaheen described her very first Earth Day and how, for her, it cemented the importance of protecting the environment and addressing the climate crisis. Senator Hassan highlighted the importance of science-based solutions — both in handling the coronavirus pandemic and the climate crisis.
INVESTING IN A HEALTHY FUTURE (NJ): Governor Phil Murphy released his strategic funding RGGI investment plan, outlining how Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative funds would be invested in the state Putting New Jersey back in RGGI was one of Gov. Murphy’s first initiatives upon taking office. The plan is to further help the state reach their goal of 100% clean energy by 2050. It will include emission cuts, natural resource protection, job growth and more. Murphy also explicitly details investing in environmental justice communities and electrifying transportation in low income communities.
CVM TAKE: New Jersey LCV Executive Director Ed Potosnak said, “As New Jerseyans reel from the harrowing realities of COVID-19, New Jersey’s commitment, under the leadership of Governor Murphy, to climate action remains unaltered. RGGI is once again generating much needed revenue for New Jersey and we are pleased to see a plan to invest in projects that reduce pollution in environmental justice communities, and thus begin to mitigate the disproportionate negative impacts on communities of color from air pollution from burning fossil fuels causing severe health disparities. Unfortunately, we are seeing these impacts in this current public health crisis. We thank the administration for a strong and equitably prioritized RGGI Strategic Funding Plan. Climate action is public health policy and economic development policy and the Murphy Administration is prioritizing these funds to improve air quality in communities of color and create good local jobs in the clean energy economy.”
April 24: Arbor Day!
May 1-30: Asthma Awareness Month
May 22: World Biodiversity Day
November 3: United States 2020 Presidential Election