“And now history has delivered us to one of the most difficult moments America has ever faced. Four, four historic crises, all at the same time. A perfect storm. The worst pandemic in over 100 years. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The most compelling call for racial justice since the ‘60s. And the undeniable reality and the accelerating threat of climate change.”
— Vice President Joe Biden accepting the Democratic presidential nomination.
“I’m proud that New Mexico has shown what climate leadership looks like. While the Trump administration has been eliminating environmental protections, we’ve expanded them…We’re laying a roadmap here for what America can and should look like in the 21st Century.”
— Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham at the DNC on night three.
“I’m Afro-Latina, and I’m a climate activist. I grew up in a low-income neighborhood, where pollution rates are often higher than wealthier areas, and a lot of kids have asthma. Switching to renewable energy would mean cleaner air, better health, and a steadier income for folks in neighborhoods like mine, because solar PV installers and wind turbine techs are some of the fastest growing jobs in the country. And Joe Biden’s plan is transformative—he knows that saving the planet isn’t just a challenge to overcome. It’s an opportunity for a better way of life.”
— Katherine Lorenzo, climate activist and former organizer with Chispa Nevada on day three of the DNC.
“Climate change is not a hoax, it’s real, and communities of color have been bearing the brunt of this reality for generations…”
— Secretary Hilda Solis and Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California on day two of the DNC.
The New York Times: ‘Climate Donors’ Flock to Biden to Counter Trump’s Fossil Fuel Money
The Washington Post: Mike Bloomberg pledges $60 million to help House Democrats
The Huffington Post: Public Land Is Getting Big Play In 2020 Elections In The West
The Huffington Post: Youth Climate Activists To Speak At Democratic National Convention
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:
The Washington Post (MT): White House withdraws nomination of William Pendley to head the Bureau of Land Management
Atlanta Daily World (GA):Georgia Artists Inspire Atlantans ToTurn Out In 2020
DNC COVERAGE: This week, former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris officially accepted the Democratic nomination for President and Vice President. The Democratic National Convention featured prominent speakers such as youth activists, Members of Congress, governors, state elected officials, and President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. LCV Action Fund worked with our friends at Climate Power 2020 to provide a wrap up of content from each day of the DNCC. Check below to find coverage for the corresponding days!
DAY 1: Many of the speakers mentioned the importance of addressing climate change, following science, listening to the experts, and leading the world to a 100% clean energy future.
That future includes a fairer democracy and access to the ballot box, whether in-person or from home; it includes effective emergency response and affordable healthcare for families, whether they’re faced with respiratory issues from a global pandemic or the air they breathe; and it includes addressing systemic racism and police brutality and taking action to fight for racial justice. It was clear from the speeches Monday night that the various crises our nation is facing are all interconnected.
DAY 2: The theme of night two of the 2020 Democratic National Convention was “Leadership Matters.” With scientists warning of a dramatically closing window to stave off the worst impacts of climate change, the need for new leadership in the White House to protect our communities and our environment has never been more urgent.
Throughout the night we heard from so many incredible leaders who share that same vision. During the Roll Call, many states used the opportunity to relay the importance of addressing the climate crisis before reporting their state delegates’ votes.
DAY 3: By this point in the convention, climate was mentioned by 51 speakers. On day three, climate and environmental justice was a clear top focus, with a dedicated segment featuring video remarks from young climate activists and an address by New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
We watched Senator Kamala Harris, a longtime leader for environmental justice and the first Black woman and first person of Indian descent to run on a major party ticket, make history as she accepted the nomination for vice president.
We heard the powerful stories of activists like Katherine Lorenzo, a former LCV Chispa Nevada organizer, Alexandra Villaseñor, Justin Onwenu, and Andrew Adamski, a volunteer with Wisconsin Conservation Voters, who are calling for a healthier and more just future. We saw workers, farmers, scientists and more demand a strong, clean energy economy that will create millions of good-paying jobs.
DAY 4: On the closing night of the convention, we heard Vice President Joe Biden accept the nomination with a clear call to act on the climate crisis. Biden spoke powerfully about the four crises facing our country — a pandemic, an economic crisis, a crisis of racial injustice and the climate crisis, but also the opportunity we have to lead the world and create millions of new, good-paying jobs.
The evening started with a stark reminder of the devastating impacts of the climate crisis today, as California Governor Gavin Newsom addressed the nation a mile away from where one of 370 wildfires in California is currently raging — a tragedy fueled by climate change. We heard from environmental justice leaders like Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM) and paid tribute to climate and voting rights champion, former Congressman John Lewis (GA).
With a record-breaking 60+ speakers addressing the need for ambitious and immediate climate action, this DNCC made history in many ways.
WHAT LCVVF IS WATCHING FOR AT THE RNC: Ahead of the Republican National Convention, and while wildfires rage in the West, the difference between Donald Trump and Joe Biden on climate change and the environment could not be more stark. If Trump’s past comments are any indication, we can expect to hear him swing wildly from his inaccurate and fear-based attacks on a “radical” environmental agenda to his equally outrageous claims about being responsible for the cleanest air and water — not to mention his occasional extended and false rants about wind power. Check out LCV Victory Fund’s memo for a reminder of Trump’s actual abysmal record on the environment and more on what we’ll be looking out for from the president and Dirty Dozen candidates next week.
COMMUNITY POWER: This week, LCV Board Chair and former EPA Administrator Carol Browner along with founder of the ReGenesis Community Development Corporation and former South Carolina Representative Harold Mitchell authored an op-ed in The Hill, focusing on the fight for environmental justice. They tell the story of grassroots organizing and how harnessing that power can bring just the kind of change this world needs. Strategies and solutions must focus on equity and they must focus on the very communities that are hit hardest by climate change and the Trump administration’s hundreds of rollbacks — too often communities of color. Administrator Browner and Rep. Mitchell currently serve on Vice President Biden’s Climate Engagement Advisory Council.
CALLING FOR DEJOY’S DISMISSAL: This week, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy attended a hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Dejoy’s actions, in only a couple months on the job, trying to hinder the postal service is more than enough to call for his resignation or dismissal. DeJoy testified that he would not be bringing back essential equipment like sorting machines and removed letter boxes which have caused significant delays and confusion, and refused to share the internal analysis that led to these controversial decisions.
OUR TAKE: LCV Judiciary Program Director Ben Driscoll said, “Postmaster General DeJoy has made it clear he cannot be trusted to run one of our nation’s most important services. We rely on a functioning post office for medicine, social security checks, and paying bills. The mail helps our country run and during a global pandemic that still grips our country, it’s essential for a safe and accurate election — especially for historically underrepresented communities of color and those living on tribal lands. Our postal workers, one of the most diverse groups in the federal government, serve on the frontlines during this pandemic, and playing political games with their safety and salaries is unacceptable. If DeJoy believed that operational changes were needed, he should have provided the analysis to back it up, but he refused. This is the most important election of our lifetimes, the future of our environment and our democracy is on the line. Americans need to know they can rely on their mail and Louis DeJoy has lost that trust.”
VOTE BY MAIL: LCV has been up and running with our now at least $6.5 million nonpartisan vote-by-mail generation and education program engaging with voters of color and young voters for over two months. Our program organizers are sharing basic information about how to request an absentee ballot with voters over the phone, asking the voter to commit to vote by mail or in person, and following up with all committed voters with a text message. There is an urgent need to continue voter education and outreach to voters of color and young voters around voting by mail in November. These historically underrepresented communities are also facing some of the worst impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis. No one should be forced to choose between their health and their fundamental right to vote.
CALLING FOR PENDLEY TO BE FIRED: Unfortunately, William Perry Pendley will remain in an acting role as director of the Bureau of Land Management following the White House’s withdrawal of his formal nomination. Pendley — who is anti-public lands and has expressed wildly racist, anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments — is in no way equipped to lead the Bureau of Land Management. As our country reckons with structural racism, we need officials to prioritize the safety of people of color in all spaces, including our public lands. Pendley is a non-starter.
OUR TAKE: LCV Legislative Representative Laura Forero said, “We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: William Perry Pendley is completely unfit to lead staff or protect public lands and he should be removed from his role as acting director immediately. We thank the entire Senate Democratic Caucus for opposing Pendley’s nomination. Trump’s decision to allow Pendley to serve in this important role without Senate confirmation is appalling and every United States Senator who has not taken a stand and should have had a say in Pendley’s nomination must join us in demanding that Trump fire Pendley now. Pendley’s anti-public lands record of listening to polluters instead of people, along with a history of making racist anti-Black, homophobic and transphobic comments have disqualified him for this role since day one.”
ARCTIC REFUGE OIL DRILLING: The Trump administration has, once again, put their relationship with Big Oil above communities. This week, the Trump administration finalized their flawed environmental review process for opening up the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. The move to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling does not only harm the planet, but would also put the health and safety of the Indigenous Gwich’in people who have relied on the land and the caribou population for centuries at risk. It is clear where Trump aligns his loyalties and priorities — not with taking action to resolve a global pandemic and not with communities of color, but with keeping Big Oil happy.
OUR TAKE: LCV Legislative Representative Laura Forero said, “The Trump administration should be focused on protecting the health and well-being of communities during this pandemic, not delivering another bailout to Big Oil. This action brings us one step closer to the desecration of this majestic wilderness and threatens the way of life of the Gwich’in people, their ancestral lands, and the invaluable wildlife of the Arctic Refuge’s Coastal Plain. The Refuge is ground zero for climate change and selling it out to big polluters is unpopular and unconscionable. We urge the administration to listen to Indigenous communities, halt its rushed and flawed process, and start over.”
OUR VOTES CAN’T BE SILENCED: Former LCV Policy and Lobbying Fellow Amy Park shared her voting experience with LCV. In her blog, she talks about growing up in Atlanta, Georgia — one of the worst voter suppression areas in the country. Amy, an Asian American woman who has not personally been affected by voter suppression, lives in a city where she has seen it affect so many communities — particularly the Black community — which drove her passion to share this story. Read Amy’s full blog here.
GEORGIA INSPIRES VOTING WITH ART (GA): In the time of COVID get out the vote efforts have had to take a more creative approach. Last Saturday, in collaboration with artists from across Atlanta, Georgia Conservation Voters Education Fund unveiled Honor the Vote – a tribute to the 55th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. The event was held in front of the city’s 60ft memorial to the late Congressman John Lewis, one of the Voting Rights Act’s biggest champions. This effort was in conjunction with similar get out the vote projects across the country that are working to inspire voting without traditional face-to-face voter contact. The event is designed to build community and engage viewers in civic action, with artist rendered voting booths recognizing the legacy of civil rights leaders and the importance of expanding safe access to the polls to ensure a healthy democracy for all.
NET ZERO IN THE BAYOU STATE (LA): Louisiana joins the rapidly growing list of states across the country committed to significantly reducing climate pollution. The state is well known as the home to a number of oil and gas majors who have for years blocked any significant climate progress. But Governor John Bel Edwards sighted the low lying state’s enormous impacts from climate change saying he wants Louisiana to be the “gold standard for climate solutions”. They are the first southern state to commit to net zero by 2050 and have the fifth highest per capita emissions in the country adding yet another example that 100% clean energy can be a reality across the country.
BYE-BYE COAL ASH (NC): Coal ash ponds have for years been an enormous problem in communities across North Carolina. Across the country, coal ash pollution has disproportionately impacted communities of color. These unlined pits have leaked toxins in the water for decades and been the subject of numerous lawsuits. Now the state’s Department of Environmental Quality is requiring Duke Energy to excavate more than 80 million tons of coal ash. As plants across the country close, a just transition away from coal includes holding corporations responsible for cleaning up their toxic legacy.
September 1: National Poll Worker Recruitment Day
September 15 – October 15: Hispanic Heritage Month
September 16: International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer
October 12: U.S. Indigenous Peoples’ Day
November 3: Election Day