It’s human nature to reflect on what has passed and what a new year will bring. With the advent of the COVID pandemic and its ongoing iterations, it often feels like we have been stuck in a time warp. However, more Americans now have a deeper understanding of the inequities within our system and the difficulties faced by others.
The power of the vote showed that under an administration that supports strong policies to combat climate solutions, change could happen.
When Deb Haaland became the first Native American to head up the Department of the Interior, a new precedent was set. Her appointment underscored that the narrative of Indigenous peoples—whose history and claims have traditionally been ignored—is essential.
In March, the Biden administration designated a team of environmental activists to be the Environmental Justice Advisory Council. These individuals moved to review environmental discrimination through an equity lens. Voices (and institutional memory) discarded during the previous four years were reinstituted.
Neighborhoods found themselves in the crosshairs of weather-related events. Remember the people in Texas who lost power during a cold snap during February? A new awareness that global warming wasn’t “fake news” or just a political football became a reality.
As determined by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication in their report, “Climate Change in the American Mind: September 2021,” the American public does get it. Those who believe that global warming is taking place make up 76% of the population. Only 27% believe that “natural changes” and not “human-driven factors” are the cause. And 35% of the country is “very worried” about global warming.
The findings note that 55% of Americans think that the country is being “harmed by global warming right now,” with 50% assuming that they will experience harm and 68% sensing that America will be impacted.
The recent devastation in Kentucky adds to the list of extreme weather occurrences that have hit citizens. Hurricane Ida, a Category 4 storm that created $64 billion in damages, killed close to a hundred people. A lack of precipitation in the Southwest plummeted to the lowest numbers in over 100 years. Add in wildfires, loss of plant and animal species, deforestation, and sea-level rise. The challenges are hard to ignore.
Why isn’t that concern reflected in so many of our elected officials’ actions and votes?
Once again, it’s about making our voices heard at the hyperlocal, state, and federal levels. Drowning out the demands of the fossil fuel industry isn’t easy. Neither is giving up old habits of consumption.
Together, we can help make the changes that are needed.
We are continuing to push our elected officials to pass the Build Back Better Act. It is our country’s best hope for moving the needle on getting legislation codified that will result in better conditions for everyone, especially children.
Air pollution continues to be a top hazard globally, resulting in 7 million deaths per year. Many sources create toxins that humans ingest through breathing. One of the essential components of pushing back to protect the public’s well-being is the fight against methane emissions.
In November, the EPA put forth new proposed standards that would “expand and strengthen emissions reduction requirements that are currently on the books for new, modified and reconstructed oil and natural gas sources.” It would also mandate that states reduce methane emissions from hundreds of thousands of existing sources across the country.
These are just two of the important issues we’ll be focusing our attention on. See all the legislation we support here.
This year, our members will be watching the midterm elections because it’s our path to secure climate safety. And we must have the opportunity to vote for it.
Just knowing we can make a difference in protecting future generations from the disastrous effects of climate change is an excellent way to kick off 2022.