We aren’t giving up. Not yet.
Last week, we heard—and wept and gnashed our teeth and tore out our hair over—the news that major climate investments might be dropped from Congress’s reconciliation bill. Members of Moms Clean Air Force, and the environmental community at large, have been working on securing these historic investments for more than a year. For a day or so there, it felt like all hope was gone.
One thing about politics. It’s like a friend of mine used to say about baseball: it is exciting because you never know what’s going to happen. Some excitement I could do without, like the fate of America’s ability to rein in those dangerous greenhouse gases that are destabilizing our climate and whipping up extreme weather conditions worldwide.
Like anyone who has ever faced a grave crisis: we don’t give up. Not while there is a glimmer—not a ray, just a tiny glimmer—of possibility that change can happen. Not until things flatline.
Magical thinking? Wishful thinking? Delusional? Hopeful? Pragmatic? Naive? Determined? Maybe: All of it.
Maybe, just maybe, the vote on the reconciliation package that contains these climate investments—as well as other vital provisions on health care and drug prices—could be delayed until late summer. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll find out what exactly can win 50 votes in the Senate.
Moms will want to talk to every Senator, every White House official, and everyone with influence in Congress to see what can be done to restart these negotiations. We need to look our children in the eyes and say: We did everything we could. “Everything we could” means trying to bring Manchin and a dysfunctional Congress as far as we can get them to go, even if it’s not nearly far enough. And then we can move on to all the other ways to tackle climate pollution—ways that don’t depend on Congress.
If there is a chance to do something, let’s do it. Let’s give it everything we have to give. So tell your Senator—keep fighting. Call them at (202) 224-3121.
There will be plenty of time to show them our anger. Believe me, we will be joining that furious parade. But I am willing to give this one more shot before then. This crisis is so big that it’s worth doing whatever is necessary to see if we can make progress.
In the meantime, we are also looking to our Republican friends. To name a few people who have indicated that they care about the dangers of climate change and see how it is damaging the homes and livelihoods of residents of their states, their voters:
- Where’s Senator Susan Collins of Maine? Maine: where the lobster industry is crashing as ocean temperatures rise because of global warming. Call (207) 945-0417 to demand she step it up.
- Where’s Senator Mitt Romney of Utah? Utah: where people suffer from extreme heat, snow melts earlier each year, and wildfires increase in frequency and intensity. Call (801) 524-4380 to demand he take action.
- Where’s Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska? Alaska: where glaciers are retreating, permafrost is thawing and destroying infrastructure, insect populations are exploding, and wildfires are growing and intensifying because Alaska is warming twice as fast as the rest of the country. Call (907) 271-3735 to demand she do something.
There is not a place in the country that isn’t affected by climate change. And the places that will be hit hardest are strangely, by and large, the places where politicians want to do nothing.
One more critical thing is clear. Biden took office with a slim majority in the Senate. Elections have consequences.
Parents across the country—and all of us who simply care about people—feel outrage, betrayal, and deep anxiety about how uninhabitable this planet could become for the next generations. No one is giving up here.
Maybe, just maybe, the President and Senators who couldn’t win this one will come together in another effort. We will cheer that on. Because failure is not an option. We don’t have the luxury of despair. We are fighting to make things better for everyone, and that unites us all.
Moms Clean Air Force has its own form of renewable energy: the love of our children.