This Week In Climate (In)Action


Jul 24, 2020

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 and Twitter.



“Take a long, hard look down the road you will have to travel once you have made a commitment to work for change. Know that this transformation will not happen right away. Change often takes time. It rarely happens all at once. In the movement, we didn’t know how history would play itself out. When we were getting arrested and waiting in jail or standing in unmovable lines on the courthouse steps, we didn’t know what would happen, but we knew it had to happen.”

—  John Lewis on protesting in Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for  Change

“Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.”

— John Lewis speaking atop the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 1, 2020

“These young people are saying we all have a right to know what is in the air we breathe, in the water we drink, and the food we eat. It is our responsibility to leave this planet cleaner and greener. That must be our legacy.”

— John Lewis on youth climate activists in a statement released in September 2019




Bitterroot: This Group is Building a Latinx-led Climate Movement

E&E News: John Lewis remembered as civil rights, environmental champion

E&E News: Negotiations intensify this week on new COVID-19 package

Bloomberg: Biden’s Climate Plan Puts Inequality and Jobs on Par With CO2

Forbes: John Lewis And His Environmental Legacy

Grist: The Chamber of Commerce says it’s woke. Its actions say Black lives really don’t matter.

Politico: Lawmakers try again on PFAS

E&E News: Groups launch another round of anti-Trump ads

E&E News: Growing chorus for clean energy aid in relief talks

Bloomberg Law: Major Bipartisan Conservation Bill Passes House

Politico: Congress passes ‘holy grail’ conservation bill




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:


Politico (NY): The coronavirus comeback no one wants: New York City traffic

The Hill (AK): The Trump administration hates the National Environmental Protection Act

The Toledo Blade (OH): Ohio leaders react to nuclear bailout corruption probe

Huntington Beach News (CA): Landmark Conservation Bill Passes Congress

WHTC (MI): Michigan implementing stricter PFAS standards

KRWG (NM): Toulouse Oliver Assumes Presidency of National Association of Secretaries of State

Insider NJ (NJ): Flood Defense Coalition Pushes for Stormwater Investments in New Jersey


RIP JOHN LEWIS: We lost a great environmental champion this week. While Representative John Lewis was a legendary civil rights advocate — a member of “the big six” — he was also a steadfast protector of the environment. Representative Lewis was one of our first national leaders to articulate the connection between climate change, health and racial disparities, introducing the Environmental Justice Act in 1992. He firmly believed in the importance of environmental justice and was an outspoken supporter of the Green New Deal. As he remarked, “we do not live on this planet alone. It is not ours to hoard, waste or abuse. It is our responsibility to leave this world a little more clean and a little more peaceful for all who must inhabit it for generations to come.” John Lewis leaves behind a generation of young people inspired by his legacy and eager to take up his fight for a just and equitable future for our planet and everyone on it. 

OUR TRIBUTE:  LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “John Lewis was my hero. He is the standard we should all hold ourselves to — for service, for activism, and for justice. Representative Lewis was rightfully known first and foremost as a champion for civil rights, but he was also a champion for the deeply connected issues of clean air, clean water and environmental justice. It’s now on us to protect the voting rights he risked everything for in order to create a just and equitable democracy, defeat the climate crisis, and provide safe and healthy communities for everyone. There is no other hero like John Lewis, but we must all strive to follow his powerful example.” 

CVM TRIBUTE:  Executive Director of Georgia Conservation Voters Brionté McCorkle said, “John Lewis’ timeless advice, to not get lost in a sea of despair, and to be hopeful and optimistic because our struggle is that of a lifetime, is truer than ever. He was a lifelong fighter for racial justice and climate justice, and always understood the connection between those issues. For a truly just and sustainable future, everyone must have access to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities. Everyone must also have the right to vote, to speak up, and to demand justice. We will continue to follow Representative Lewis’ example and keep moving the work he started forward.”

NDAA: LCV sent a letter to Congress, urging House members to support pro-environment amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the House and Senate this week. Importantly, the House bill included many climate resiliency provisions and will remove the names of Confederate generals from military installations — a shift that recognizes the pain and exclusion caused when our country chooses to celebrate figures who sought to uphold slavery and racism in this country. Additionally, LCV supported 10 amendments to the NDAA, ranging from critical PFAS safeguards to protections of our cultural and natural heritage. 

OUR TAKE: LCV Legislative Representative Laura Forero said, “Thanks to Chairman Smith and House leadership for taking steps towards ensuring that our military installations do not uphold a legacy of white supremacy and Anti-Blackness which has caused so much pain to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. The bill’s many pro-environment provisions, including those protecting our public lands and natural heritage, safeguarding our clean air and water, prohibiting the detrimental effects of new and unnecessary nuclear testing, and improving our resiliency to the climate crisis, demonstrate that we do not have to sacrifice our communities and the environment for national security. President Trump’s threat to veto this bill in order to preserve the names of military bases honoring Confederate racists and traitors is another outrageous demonstration of how out of touch he is with our country’s reckoning on racial justice. Ahead of a conference with the Senate later this year, we urge negotiators to preserve the provisions that invest in healthy and safe communities, rename military installations currently honoring Confederate generals, and protect our public lands and waters from Big Polluters.”

REMOVE CONFEDERATE STATUES: This week, LCV sent a letter to Congress urging Representatives to support the removal of Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol building. In addition to removing all statues of individuals who voluntarily served in the Confederacy, the bill would replace the bust of Roger Brooke Taney — the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who wrote the majority opinion in the notorious Dred Scott ruling that upheld slavery — with a bust of Thurgood Marshall. We cannot achieve true equity and a sense of welcome in public spaces until we remove these monuments to oppression from places meant to be enjoyed by all. We are committed to fostering a sense of inclusion in public spaces, and removing these celebrations of our nation’s enslavement of Black people is a small but important step in helping to ameliorate the pain that racism has caused Black, brown, Indigenous and other people of color over centuries. 

OUR TAKE: LCV Conservation Program Director Alex Taurel said, “Our country is reckoning with its history of racial violence and the persistent systemic inequalities that continue today. One part of that reckoning is reflecting on the fact that we shamefully continue to honor individuals in public spaces who rose to prominence upholding slavery and other examples of systemic racism. Our organization is committed to fostering a sense of inclusion in the outdoors and other public spaces, which are supposed to be for all people to enjoy. The presence of symbols that glorify the Confederacy is antithetical to that goal. Our nation’s racist history must not be forgotten — but it is past time to remove Confederate statues and other symbols that pay tribute to slavery, bigotry, and white supremacy from public spaces, particularly the U.S. Capitol building, a symbol of the people and our government where those inside are supposed to fight for all. We as a nation cannot tolerate white supremacists any longer and we stand with Black leaders and organizers who are calling to have these violent and oppressive symbols removed.”

HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS: As the fiscal 2021 appropriations bills are being finalized, we want to see our Representatives put their money where their mouths are. The nationwide uprisings for racial justice in response to George Floyd’s murder have prompted many members of Congress to make promises to fight white supremacy in the United States. The House Appropriations bills have several anti-Confederate provisions that LCV is excited to support as steps towards ensuring Black people in America are able to enjoy their right to access public spaces free of intimidation. The Interior-EPA bill bans Confederate symbols in the National Park System, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill blocks construction funding for any military base named after a Confederate leader, and the Defense bill provides $1 million for the Army to remove Confederate command names from “installations, facilities, roads, and streets.” In addition to these extremely important anti-racist measures, the Interior bill contains funding increases for environmental agencies, including environmental justice and clean air and clean water programs, and provides protections for the Arctic Refuge, the Tongass National Forest, and the Boundary Waters, and it blocks Trump’s plans to expand offshore drilling. 

GAOA PASSES: After years of advocacy from people all across the country, the House passed the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). Last week, LCV sent a letter to members of the House, urging them to support the legislation and indicating that LCV will strongly consider including votes on this bill in the 2020 Scorecard. The GAOA will boost the hard-hit outdoor recreation, tourism, and construction sectors and protect and enhance green spaces nationwide. Creating and maintaining parks is so important, but recent events have highlighted the need for Black communities and other communities of color to be safe and welcome in outdoor spaces. 

OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “The Great American Outdoors Act is a huge step forward to ensuring that every community has access to nature. This victory is a testament to the power of grassroots activists and the enduring popularity of conservation. But as a recent report from the Center for American Progress and Hispanic Access Foundation shows, there is more work to be done to ensure every community – especially low income and communities of color – has access to public lands, local parks and other outdoor opportunities. Scientists have called on the United States to preserve at least 30% of our land and ocean by 2030. Building on the success of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, we can reach this critical goal and ensure all people have access to nature and its benefits; feel safe, welcome, and included in the outdoors and other public spaces; and see their communities reflected in the stories told on our public lands about our country’s history.”

TRUMP’S HOSTILITY TOWARDS IMMIGRANTS: This week, House Democrats passed a bill to repeal Trump’s No Ban Act. Trump’s ban first took effect in 2017 when he placed travel restrictions on Muslim and African nations. It is time the racist ban — that should have never been introduced in the first place — be lifted. History was made this week making it the first time in 244 years that Congress has passed a bill protecting the rights of American Muslims. In order to dismantle white supremacy we have to dismantle racist policies that do nothing but continue to divide and harm communities.

CHISPA STATEMENT: This week, Trump released a memorandum calling for an unprecedented change to the constitutionally mandated count of every person living in the country, instructing the Bureau of the Census to exclude undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. Trump and his administration continue to spew racist rhetoric and divide this country with xenophobic, anti-immigrantion policies. LCV’s Chispa and Chispa Nevada both released statements on the memorandum.

BIDEN LEADING ON CLIMATE: As part of its ongoing $14 million anti-Trump campaign targeting 1.58 million ‘environmental swing voters’ across six key battleground states, LCV Victory Fund released new digital ads and direct mail that expose the truth about Donald Trump’s harmful environmental record. The new ads also include high impact videos that contrast Trump’s record with Vice President Joe Biden’s leadership on climate. The ongoing paid media campaign targets voters in the battleground states of Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. LCV Victory Fund is partnering with Priorities USA Action for the digital programs in Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Watch all the ads here

OUR TAKE: LCV Victory Fund SVP of Campaigns Pete Maysmith said, “Our research shows that exposing the truth about President Trump’s harmful environmental record and contrasting Trump’s failure with Joe Biden’s climate leadership is key to defeating Trump in November.Joe Biden understands that climate solutions and addressing racial, economic, and social injustice are inextricably linked and has a plan to build a more just and equitable clean energy future — we desperately need Biden in the White House.” 

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!: This week marks the one-year anniversary of the Equitable and Just National Climate Platform, a bold national climate policy agenda that advances the goals of economic, racial, climate and environmental justice to improve the public health and well-being of all communities.The full press release features contact info for the environmental justice leaders involved in the platform. We encourage you to speak with these environmental justice leaders as you cover the movement for a more just and equitable climate future.

 OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “In the year since its release, the Equitable and Just National Climate Platform has pushed national policymakers to see climate change solutions and addressing racial, economic and social injustice as inextricably linked. The vision and goals in the platform center communities of color suffering the devastating impacts of toxic pollution and systemic racism and provide a roadmap that is needed — now more than ever — for how to build a more just and equitable society that leaves no one behind.”

 LATINX CONSERVATION WEEK: Latinx Conservation Week is coming to an end, but the continued fight for environmental justice by frontline communities lives on. The Hispanic Access Foundation launched Latinx Conservation Week in 2014 to promote public lands efforts and conservation through non profits, justice, and faith based organizations. This important week has brought awareness and recognition to the greater Latinx conservation movement as well as the elected officials working hard for environmental justice.

CHISPA’S TAKE: To celebrate Latinx Conservation Week, Chispa Nevada held events, including a movie night, karaoke party, and a plant care and census talk Facebook event. Chispa Nevada also helped put together a playlist of songs by various Latinx artists to help celebrate conservation in the Latinx community. Check out the full playlist here

Estefany Carrasco-González, Chispa National Deputy Director talked to Pulso News, about LCW and their social media campaign to get Latinxs engaged while doing everyday things at home. Check out and follow Chispa’s social media content that they’ve been putting out all throughout LCW. Follow them on IG and Twitter

SHATTERING PERCEPTION: This week, LCV posted a blog from Julia Murphy, a summer fellow with our Communications team. In her blog, Julia reexamines the history of her predominantly white community following the murder of George Floyd only four miles from her house. Minneapolis is popularly known as one of the most livable, literate and liberal cities in America, which is true, but only for white people. Julia grapples with her new understanding of the racist systems that have always defined Minneapolis’s housing, education, employment, health care, and outdoor spaces. She discusses her commitment to anti-racist work, and her efforts to relearn what it means to be a resident, student, voter, and environmental advocate in Minneapolis. Read her full blog here



COAL BAILOUT (OH): Talk about a scandal! This week in Ohio it is reported that authorities are investigating a $60M corruption scheme aimed at bailing out  the Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants as well as coal plants in Indiana and Ohio. Several Ohio republicans, including Speaker Larry Householder, and high-profile lobbyists were arrested in connection to racketeering. The bailout bill was a push to roll back Ohio’s progress on clean energy, gut funding for low-income energy efficiency programs, and slow down momentum — a bill that billed Ohio ratepayers for corporate bailouts.  

CVM TAKE: Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund President Heather Taylor-Miesle said, “House Bill 6 has always been a bad deal for Ohioans, sticking us with dirtier air and higher utility bills while gutting our clean energy future. As we’ve suspected all along, the billion-dollar bailout, strong-armed through the General Assembly by Speaker Householder, appears to have been fueled by corrupt pay-to-play dealings with corporate utilities.”

CUMULATIVE IMPACTS BILL (NJ): New Jersey is owning up to its unjust treatment of Black and brown communities. Residents living in low-income communities and communities of color are exposed to high concentrations of pollutants on a daily basis as a result of industrial facilities in the area. In an op-ed, Governor Murphy explains that the issue does not lie with one factory emitting large amounts of toxic pollutants into the environment but, instead, it is a cumulative impact of numerous facilities concentrated in the same community. This injustice has resulted in higher incidence of respiratory illnesses in these communities, making residents significantly more vulnerable to COVID-19. State Senator Troy Singleton introduced a bill that would require cumulative health impacts to be considered when new facilities are proposed in overburdened neighborhoods. Governor Murphy makes it clear that this bill cannot be the beginning and end of work to address environmental injustice in New Jersey, but it is a good first step to valuing people over polluters and building a better environmental future for all. 




July 18-26: Latinx Conservation Week

July 28: World Nature Conservation Day 

August 6: 55th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act becoming law

August 9: International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

November 3: Election Day