THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION(!) – SEPTEMBER 3, 2021

Mika Hyer, mhyer@lcv.org, 940-783-2230

THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION(!) – SEPTEMBER 3, 2021

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.

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

“We are a force of nature. This is a battlefield of morals and you are armed with the truth and the truth is a flame, you cannot extinguish. People have done it before, and we’ll do it again. We will demand federal voting rights until we have them. So don’t give up. Don’t give in. Don’t give out. You are the dream, and this is our moment to make it true.”

— Martin Luther King III, speaking at the 58th anniversary of the March on Washington over the weekend.

“Our access to the natural resources and food security has been everything for our sovereignty. When you take the people away from the bayou you’re literally taking them away from their ability to feed themselves. Plus, at the end of the day, you can’t run from climate change.”

— Monique Verdin, a member of the United Houma Nation who working with the community group Another Gulf is Possible in Vox article, “Why Hurricane Ida has been so devastating to Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.”

“When you talk about the disparities in which the kinds of risks and vulnerabilities in terms of people being able to evacuate, or people being able to somehow be protected in terms of having resources…The disasters will make the inequalities that we know in our society even more visible, and climate change will create more marginalized communities and more vulnerable communities.”

— Dr. Robert Bullard, the “father of environmental justice,” in Slate interview, “America Is Segregated, and So Is Pollution”

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LCV IN THE NEWS:

Roll Call: Climate groups launch $1M ad campaign aimed at six battleground Republicans
Successful Farming: Green, Farm Groups offer their plan for conservation spending in reconciliation bill
Cape Charles Mirror: Rep. Luria Supports John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act
E&E News: Democratic governors push for climate programs in reconciliation

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:
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:

El Nuevo Herald (FL): Rebuilding Better: Clean Energy That Benefits Our Latino Communities | Opinion
AZ Central (AZ): Arizona just passed laws that make it harder to vote. We’re suing to stop them
Energy Central (MI): Elected officials, nonprofits call on utilities to do more to avoid outages
Insider NJ (NJ): After Turbulent Day at Gottheimer’s Office, A Win for Infrastructure
The Nevada Independent (NV): From buses to clean water to cheaper housing, Nevadans weigh in on how to spend billions in federal aid
Press Herald (ME): Maine Voices: The Maine reason we must act on climate, enact carbon cashback
Florida Politics (FL): When it comes to Florida politicians and the environment, a myth is as good as a mile

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MARCH ON WASHINGTON: Saturday was the 58th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington, where advocates marched across the nation to demand our elected officials pass federal voting rights protection. There’s no healthy environment without a healthy democracy and in state legislative sessions this year, 48 states have already introduced, prefiled, or carried more than 389 bills to restrict or limit voting access. These bills were intentionally written to suppress the record numbers of Black and Brown voters who turned out in 2020 — we must protect access to the ballot box for voters. LCV was proud to unite with March organizers as partners in the DC march and co-hosts of the Las Vegas event

KING TAKE: Yolanda Renee King, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 13 year-old granddaughter, stated during Saturday’s March, “The torch is being passed to us and it’s time for our generation to wake up the world so we can stop talking about the dream and start living the dream. We will be the generation that earns and wins our freedom once and for all.”

OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski joined in the day’s events and had this to say: “58 years ago, Dr. King led the March on Washington — this weekend, I am proud to march alongside the more than 250 social justice organizations that continue to fight for an end to current-day voter suppression tactics and to give power to the people once and for all. We will never achieve environmental justice if the communities most affected by climate change and pollution are not represented in our democracy. Together we march and demand that Congress denounce voter suppression, ensure fair, easy access to the vote for all, and finally give the 700,000 majority Black and Brown residents of D.C. a vote in Congress — it’s time for the Senate to eliminate the filibuster and pass the For the People Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and D.C. Statehood.”

NEW AD ALERT!: This week, LCV and Climate Power launched a new seven-figure ad campaign in six U.S. House districts held by Republicans where constituents are suffering from the devastating impacts of climate change. The television and digital ads show just how out of touch these members are with the reality on the ground in their California and Florida districts on the frontlines of the climate crisis. These ads are the latest effort in LCV and Climate Power’s historic summer of climate advocacy. In August so far, LCV and Climate Power have already invested $14 million in national, state, and district level paid media campaigns; LCV organizers have knocked over 140,000 doors, distributed almost 10,000 ‘Climate Action Now’ yard signs, and garnered support from nearly  5,000 businesses across the country; and LCV and Climate Power have held over 35 events with key Members of Congress, Biden administration officials, state and local elected officials, labor unions, environmental justice partners, and more. 

CLIMATE POWER TAKE: Climate Power Executive Director Lori Lodes stated, “Florida and California citizens are on the front lines of the climate crisis and their Republican elected officials must treat it as the existential threat it is. Climate change is happening right now. It’s disrupting lives and threatening livelihoods. Meanwhile, Republican members of Congress refuse to act. There is no more time for denial and any leader who stands in the way of climate action will be held accountable by voters.” 

OUR TAKE: LCV SVP of Campaigns Pete Maysmith stated, “These Republicans’ decision to oppose popular and necessary action on climate and clean energy puts their constituents who are already experiencing the devastating impacts of the climate crisis in even greater danger. From the ‘code red for humanity’ IPCC report to devastating extreme weather and long-standing environmental and racial injustice and economic inequality, it’s never been more urgent or more important to act on climate at the scale that science and justice require.”

WATER CRISIS AT LAKE MEAD: This week, LCV launched a new ad campaign highlighting the Lake Mead crisis and the growing threat climate change poses to water supplies. The campaign will target communities in Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado hardest hit by water shortages, drought, and rising temperatures. Lake Mead, the country’s largest reservoir, supplies drinking water for roughly 25 million people across the West. Currently, the Colorado River reservoir is at its lowest since the lake was filled after the Hoover Dam was completed in the 1930s. Water rationing and cuts have already begun across Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado throwing the future for farmers, ranchers, and smaller cities and towns into question — the Build Back Better Act could help provide billions in drought relief, funding to upgrade water treatment facilities, and protections for critical drinking water, in addition to fighting the root cause of the drought – climate change. See Nevada’s ad HERE.

BUDGET RESOLUTION MARKUP IN HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE: This week, the House Natural Resources Committee began a markup on its portion of the Build Back Better Act. We’re thrilled that the process of developing the Build Back Better Act has kicked off with robust investments that will strengthen our economy and create jobs by leveraging our public lands and waters into assets in the climate fight, and making access to nature more equitable. It’s past time to make polluters pay their fair share and to invest in clean energy and our public lands to address the climate crisis. Hurricane Ida’s devastation, resulting in over a million people without power, and deaths throughout the nation is a somber reminder that we cannot wait to take action on the climate crisis — especially for those most vulnerable to extreme weather events. 

NEW FROM CAP: This week, Center for American Progress released a new brief examining climate-fueled extreme weather trends in the U.S., and how it will continue to cost taxpayers billions. The brief shows how the number and the severity of extreme weather events is increasing — and how these events disproportionately impact historically marginalized communities, including communities of color and communities of low wealth. It’s clear from these recent climate reports, including the latest IPCC climate report, that our communities and our planet can no longer wait for climate action. Read the full brief HERE.

CAP TAKE: The CAP report concludes, “Climate change will only continue to exacerbate extreme weather disasters. The United States will continue to see an increase in frequency, intensity, and cost of these disasters if leaders do not take bold action. Congress has the opportunity to make a huge leap forward in addressing the planet-warming, storm-fueling greenhouse gas emissions that have spurred or worsened so many of these billion-dollar disasters. By enacting the full scope of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, Congress can make aggressive and meaningful investments in climate action. Science indicates that the international community only has a few years left for impactful action. The time is now.”

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

RESTRICTIVE VOTING IN AZ: In an opinion piece from Alejandra Gomez, co-executive director of LUCHA – Living United for Change in Arizona, Vianey Olivarria, state co-director of Chispa Arizona, Carolina Rodriguez Greer, state director of Mi Familia Vota, and Reginald Bolding, co-executive director of Arizona Coalition for Change wrote on the ramifications of restrictive and racist voting restrictions in Arizona. Last month, voting rights advocates including Chispa AZ, Mi Familia Vota, Arizona Coalition for Change, and Living United for Change in Arizona filed a lawsuit in the state’s federal district court, challenging two new voter suppression laws that would harm voters of color and other marginalized Arizonans by removing voters from voting lists and restricting the amount of time allocated to fix mail-in ballot issues. 

🎨ART ACTIVATIONS: Across the country, communities are joining with local artists to demand climate action, justice and clean energy jobs at the scale that science requires. With the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report declaring  a “code red for humanity” as Congress develops the Build Back Better Act, this is our now or never moment. See photos from this week’s activations in Napa, Scranton, and Oceanside HERE.

POWER UP FOR RECESS!: This week, we continued LCV and Climate Power’s Climate Action Now: Great American Build nationwide August recess tour. In coordination with LCV’s state affiliates and partners, we held events and town halls in key states and Congressional Districts, urging Congress to tackle the climate crisis and invest in a dual-track package for clean energy, justice, and jobs. See last week’s August recess recap HERE.

IN COLORADO: Conservation Colorado partnered with the Blue Green Alliance on a clean transportation press event with Senator Hickenlooper, Governor Polis, and Representative Neguse at Union Station.

IN GEORGIA: Georgia Conservation Voters hosted an event with Congresswoman McBath and over 40 environmental advocates, local elected officials, faith leaders, solar installers and health care professionals at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta in Dunwoody, Georgia to talk about the Build Back Better agenda and the benefits that federal climate investments can bring to Georgia’s 6th district.

IN NEVADA: Nevada Conservation League hosted a press conference focused on extreme weather impacts. Speakers included local elected leaders, faith leaders, and other local officials.

IN NEVADA AGAIN: As children across Nevada head back to school, Senator Cortez Masto joined Chispa Nevada, Nevada Conservation League, Climate Action – Nevada, and Moms Clean Air Force – Nevada for a virtual conversation on her efforts in Congress to increase funding for school districts to improve energy efficiency measures and transition to clean, electric school buses. 

IN WISCONSIN: Wisconsin Conservation Voters hosted a press conference with Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich, County Supervisor Tom Friberg, and small business owner Marissa Michalkievicz, advocating for President Biden’s Build Back Better Act. 

COMING UP:

SEPT 25 – OCT 3: National Drive Electric Week
SEPTEMBER 28: National Voter Registration Day
SEPTEMBER 30: Government funding expires

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