Can Activists Win the PR Battle With the Fossil Fuel Industry?
In mid-June Bold Nebraska obtained documents that detail how local and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as the company responsible for building the pipeline, are working together to undermine peaceful political protests.
The documents revealed that the company, TransCanada, had briefed the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as well as law enforcement officials (district attorneys, attorney generals and county sheriffs) in Oklahoma and Nebraska on the potential threat posed by environmental activists and local landowners. In their PowerPoint presentation the company suggested that district attorneys should explore “state or federal anti-terrorism laws” in prosecuting activists and provided a crude dossier on the key organizers. They also included a list of individuals previously arrested for acts of nonviolent civil disobedience in Texas and Oklahoma.
There is a long history of corporations and the state acting in concert to suppress environmental activism. But in recent years the relationship has deepened. This is in part a function of the post-9/11 national security state, which has placed a premium on information sharing between Department of Homeland Security fusion centers, local law enforcement officials and the private sector.
In fact, on the same day that TransCanada delivered its presentation to Nebraska law enforcement officials, a representative of the Nebraska Information Analysis Center, a Department of Homeland Security fusion center, also briefed participants on the agency’s information-sharing network. According to emails exchanged before the meeting and obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request, “The NIAC will brief on our intelligence sharing role/plan relevant to the pipeline project and provide an overview of a project we are working on.”
At the same time, the privatization of intelligence gathering has ballooned with many private security firms now working directly for corporations—most of which already have their own in-house intelligence gathering and security operations. Annual spending on such services is estimated at $100 billion.
“When those entities merge, and they begin to exchange information, there are extremely serious legal ramifications as well as civil rights consequences to those activities,” said Lauren Regan, executive director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center. “And now I would say we’re really seeing gray intelligence [the blurring of public and private intelligence gathering] taken up a notch.”
According to Regan, corporations that engage in espionage or intelligence gathering are not bound by the same regulations that state and federal agencies are, in theory, supposed to follow.
“They don’t have to abide by the U.S. attorney manual on spying guidelines,” Regan said. “They don’t even have to go through secretive [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] FISA courts to hack into people’s computers or listen in on their cell phone calls.”
This is the world in which activists now find themselves. Not only must they contend with the sweeping surveillance powers of the state, brought to light most recently by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, but also the expanding—and essentially unregulated—corporate security and intelligence gathering network.
Yet even against this backdrop—and in the wake of the crackdown on animal rights and environmental groups in the mid-2000s known as the “Green Scare”—the environmental movement has refashioned itself. Opposition to hydraulic fracturing—fracking—and the Keystone XL pipeline have, in just a few years, become highly visible campaigns known for massive protests and acts of civil disobedience.
Such widespread public opposition, no longer limited to a fringe element, has corporations worried. In an email to Lt. Randy Morehead of the Nebraska State Patrol and John McDermott, a crime analyst at the Nebraska Information Analysis Center, TransCanada security director Michael Nagina drew attention to the recently launched Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance, which has gathered nearly 70,000 signatures for acts of peaceful civil disobedience “should it be necessary” to stop the pipeline.
“Certainly not imminent, but a heads up as to the type of action being promoted and the organizations engaged,” he wrote. “Note the reference to symbolic targets such as TC [TransCanada] lobbies.”
Pieces of the Puzzle
In many ways the Keystone XL pipeline is itself a symbolic target. Stopping the pipeline won’t bring an end to global warming or to the destructive impacts of the energy industry worldwide. But it will send a message and perhaps lead to a shift in public consciousness; some would argue it already has. Even if the pipeline is approved, which many activists anticipate, the organizational network put in place over the last five years will serve as a foundation for future campaigns.
Ron Seifert, an organizer and spokesperson with Tar Sands Blockade who was featured in TransCanada’s PowerPoint presentation, sees the pipeline battle as just one small piece of the puzzle.
“There’s a lot of footwork that needs to be done,” Seifert said. “The blockade certainly will have the opportunity to continue to do this work long into the future.”
In many ways it is a battle over that future—the future of fossil fuel extraction and energy production—that TransCanada and other oil and gas companies are waging. In widely circulated remarks at a 2011 natural gas industry conference, a spokesperson for Anadarko Petroleum described the anti-drilling movement as an “insurgency” and encouraged audience members to consult the U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Manual.
As Anadarko’s characterization of the movement suggests, if industry loses the public relations war they will have lost much more than a single pipeline route.
“I see a lot of this coming down to a PR war,” said Regan, who also serves as the Tar Sands Resistance legal coordinator. “Right now corporations are afraid that at some point the masses may realize that what they’re doing is extremely destructive and we should all get together and oppose the way in which they are profiting off of our health and our environment … They’re constantly looking for ways to sway the public to their side versus the noisy millions of activists out there.”
One way of swaying the public, or deterring would-be protesters, is to paint the opposition as criminals or terrorists. There are plenty of people who, it appears, are willing to risk arrest to stop a pipeline or protect a watershed. But if those same people are told that by engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience their name might be added to a terror watch list, then they might have second thoughts. By equating above-ground lawful protest with terrorism or criminal activity, corporations are doing everything they can to undermine environmental groups—from large well-funded outfits like Greenpeace to smaller grassroots organizations like Bold Nebraska.
Yet it is difficult to measure the impact of such tactics (harassment, intimidation and surveillance) on social movements. On the one hand, some activists have said that news of TransCanada’s collaboration with state and federal law enforcement agencies has only hardened their resolve. On the other hand, we’re less likely to hear from those who have been turned away.
“I think that there are networks of people, who are like, ‘This is what I want,’” said Scott Parkin, a senior campaigner with Rainforest Action Network also featured in the TransCanada presentation. “‘I want to mess with these people so bad that they have files on me.’ I think that’s one group of people. But there’s another level of people who want to get involved and haven’t yet. These sorts of things would scare them.”
For the time being, however, new activists are continuing to join the fray. At a recent training workshop and protest in Chicago—the first Keystone Pledge of Resistance action—nearly all of the participants were newcomers. Or, as Parkin put it, “They were a lot like my mom.”
After a one-day training session 22 activists were arrested for blocking the doors of the State Department’s Chicago office. The action was a trial run for what Parkin describes as a “training road show” that will canvass 25 cities over the next several weeks. The focus will be on training around 1,000 individuals who have volunteered to lead civil disobedience campaigns against the Keystone XL pipeline.
Meanwhile, Tar Sands Blockade is working with communities in Texas that would be directly impacted by refineries receiving tar sands oil. According to Seifert, they expect to stage demonstrations against TransCanada in August.
“The blockade plans to continue to be active and to continue to work with communities in Texas to do whatever we can, even at the 11th hour, to prevent this pipeline from flowing,” Seifert said. “The type of demos and protests the blockade conducts are in a long history of civil disobedience that we are happy to take ownership over and happy to defend in court.”
In an email statement TransCanada spokesperson Shawn Howard suggested that such legal recourse was out of the company’s hands, saying, “If people decide to break the law then it is up to law enforcement and the courts to determine how people will be held accountable.”
Howard’s comments, however, belie the fact that TransCanada has actively sought communication with Department of Homeland Security fusion centers, the FBI and local law enforcement officials along the pipeline route. They hardly seem willing to leave the matter of prosecuting environmental activists to law enforcement alone.
Above or Underground Activism
At a recent conference on environmental activism, Lauren Regan, spoke about the mechanism of state-corporate repression and its impact on social movements. She said the response from the audience, especially younger activists, was surprising. According to Regan, they were not phased by the growing collaboration between corporations like TransCanada and law enforcement agencies. What they did say was that this kind of pushback had the potential to drive above-ground activism underground.
“I was fairly certain that what these folks were saying is, if having demonstrations and holding signs and doing letter writing campaigns and somewhat bland civil disobedience is going to get you on a terrorist bulletin… then I guess the way to do it is to outsmart the corporate spies… and basically poke holes at the corporate machine in a different away,” said Regan, who represented Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front members during the Green Scare.
She noted a similar kind of logic at play back then. The relatively small number of activists who joined these underground collectives did so because they felt above-ground activism was ineffective but still invited the same kind of repression.
Yet in many ways this played into the hands of the very corporations that activists at the time were ostensibly fighting. Although entirely unfounded, it allowed corporations to brand them as eco-terrorists, and in the public eye they largely succeeded. This also made it much easier for the federal government to launch its own investigation, which included infiltration and surveillance of the radical environmental movement that eventually led to its undoing.
At the same time, the movement itself was deeply divided over the use of arson and property destruction as a tactic. This led to further fragmentation, secrecy and ultimately isolation. But Regan says that many of her clients, some of whom went to prison, no longer advocate such methods. “There has been a change of heart and mind,” she said.
So far there is little evidence to suggest that the environmental movement is being driven underground or that activists have lost faith in the power of civil disobedience. If anything the general trend is toward greater participation and openness. This is what the oil and gas industry, through surveillance, harassment and intimidation hopes to curb. The question is: how will activists respond?
Will they play into the hands of the fossil fuel industry and head down the path of secrecy and isolation? Or can they turn the tables and use the tools of repression aimed at undermining peaceful political protest to further the goals of the climate justice movement?
Until recently the energy industry has been able to keep its hardball tactics largely out of public view. But if state, federal and corporate surveillance of environmental activists continues, the noisy millions—as Regan calls them—might have even more reason to join the fight. It’s an outcome that corporations like TransCanada would like to avoid but one that, paradoxically, they may be helping to set in motion.
Visit EcoWatch’s ENERGY page for more related news on this topic.
By Tara Lohan
Maybe we can blame COVID-19 for making it hard to hit the streets and gather signatures to get initiatives on state ballots. But this year there are markedly fewer environmental issues up for vote than in 2018.
While the number of initiatives may be down, there's no less at stake. Voters will still have to make decisions about wildlife, renewable energy, oil companies and future elections.
Here's the rundown of what's happening where.
Return of an Apex Predator<p>Wolves are on the ballot in Colorado. <a href="https://leg.colorado.gov/ballots/reintroduction-and-management-gray-wolves" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Proposition 114</a> would require the state's Parks and Wildlife Commission to create a plan by 2023 for the reintroduction and management of gray wolves (<em>Canis lupus</em>) in areas west of the continental divide.</p><p>Gray wolves once roamed across the western United States but were mostly eradicated by the 1930s. Slowly efforts are being made to bring them back. The reintroduction of gray wolves to Yellowstone National Park in 1996 has been hailed as a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/25/yellowstone-wolf-project-25th-anniversary" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">rewilding success</a>.</p><p>"The argument is that by putting back in wolves — an apex predator that has evolved alongside their prey species — we're putting things back into ecological balance," University of Colorado Boulder ecology professor Joanna Lambert <a href="https://therevelator.org/wolf-reintroduction-colorado/" target="_blank">told <em>The Revelator</em></a> in a February interview about the science behind wolf reintroductions.</p><p>The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Colorado Farm Bureau are two of the top donors to the opposition groups.</p><p>The measure does include compensation for losses of livestock caused by gray wolves.</p><p>"What we're all hoping for is a landscape where we can coexist with the species that were originally here, but also acknowledging that humans need to make a living and that the costs of this initiative will be felt by some folks more than others," Lambert said.</p>
Confusion Over Clean Energy<p>In Nevada voters will take a second swing at a constitutional amendment to require that electric utilities source 50% of their electricity from renewables by 2030. Voters passed the same measure, <a href="https://www.nvsos.gov/sos/home/showdocument?id=8826" target="_blank">Question 6</a>, in 2018, but state law requires that constitutional amendments be passed in two consecutive even-numbered election years.</p><p>More clean energy for the state may seem good. But there's concern that enshrining 50% renewables by 2030 in the state's constitution isn't that ambitious and it will make it harder to continue the push for 100% renewables in the future. To do that would be another constitutional amendment that would again take four years and two consecutive ballot wins to move the needle.</p><p>Also, the state is already on its way to the same renewable goal.</p><p>A legislative effort to achieve 50% renewables by 2030 — but with a slightly different timeline for the increments to get there — was signed into law in April 2019 by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak. Renewable advocates hope the state will do even better than that benchmark, but passing Question 6 would make it harder.</p>
Paying a Fair Share<p>If California's <a href="https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/qualified-ballot-measures/" target="_blank">Proposition 15</a> passes, commercial and industrial properties will need to start paying taxes based on their current market value, instead of paying based on the purchase price from decades prior (which stems from Proposition 13 passed back in 1978). The initiative would exempt agricultural land, small businesses, renters and homeowners.</p><p>Reassessing the worth of large commercial properties could bring in between $7.5 billion and $12 billion a year that would go toward supporting local governments, school districts and community colleges.</p><p>Most of the <a href="https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_15,_Tax_on_Commercial_and_Industrial_Properties_for_Education_and_Local_Government_Funding_Initiative_(2020)" target="_blank">opposition</a> has come from big business and anti-taxation groups.</p><p>The California Teachers Association Issues PAC is the biggest supporter of the effort, but a number of <a href="https://www.yes15.org/endorsers-environment" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">environmental groups</a> have also endorsed the measure, which would likely see oil companies and other big industrial polluters having to kick in more money.</p><p>"The oil industry has used Prop. 13 loopholes to evade tens of millions of dollars in property taxes," <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/victoria-rome/nrdc-announces-support-californias-proposition-15" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">wrote Victoria Lome</a>, California legislative director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Companies like Chevron, Exxon, Phillips 66, Shell and Tosco are paying taxes based on assessments taken prior to 2000. Prop. 15 would end this hidden subsidy to dirty energy."</p><p>Oil companies could stand to lose in Alaska, too. Voters there will weigh in on <a href="https://ballotpedia.org/Alaska_Ballot_Measure_1,_North_Slope_Oil_Production_Tax_Increase_Initiative_(2020)" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ballot Measure 1</a>, which would increase taxes on big oil producers (those that have produced more than 400 million barrels overall or 40,000 barrels a day in the past year) operating in three established oil fields in the North Slope.</p>
Taking the Wind Out of the Sails of the Electoral College<p>Colorado's <a href="https://leg.colorado.gov/ballots/adopt-agreement-elect-us-president-national-popular-vote" target="_blank">Proposition 113</a> isn't about environmental issues directly but could cause big shifts in how presidential elections are run and what states and issues are considered important.</p><p>The initiative would add Colorado to the <a href="https://www.nationalpopularvote.com/written-explanation" target="_blank">National Popular Vote Interstate Compact</a>. That effort is aimed at ensuring the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote wins the election. It doesn't eliminate the Electoral College, but it saps its power.</p><p>The compact needs states representing at least 270 Electoral College votes to go into effect. It's currently at 196.</p><p>If Colorado's proposition is passed, and if the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact eventually gets enough votes to go into effect, then Colorado's nine electoral votes would go to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote, not to the one who gets the most votes in Colorado.</p>
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By Alexander Freund
The World Health Organization, along with its global partners in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, has announced that it will provide 120 million rapid-diagnostic antigen tests to people in lower- and middle-income countries over the next six months. The tests represent a "massive increase" in testing worldwide, according to the Global Fund, a partnership that works to end epidemics.
Quick Test Can Break Infection Chains<p>"These tests provide reliable results in approximately 15 to 30 minutes, rather than hours or days, at a lower price with less sophisticated equipment," said WHO head Tedros, adding that the tests would cost as little as $5 each, and could become cheaper still. He said the rapid tests would help expand testing to hard-to-reach areas which aren't as well-equipped, or which are lacking trained health workers.</p><p>"High-quality rapid tests show us where the virus is hiding, which is key to quickly tracing and isolating contacts and breaking the chains of transmission," said Tedros. "The tests are a critical tool for governments as they look to reopen economies and ultimately save both lives and livelihoods."</p><p>Catharina Boehme, head of FIND, also welcomed the widespread rollout of cheap test kits. "This really shows what can be achieved when the world and leading global health partners come together with a common priority," she said.</p>
How Do COVID-19 Antigen Tests Work?<p>There are currently three different types of coronavirus diagnostic tests on the market: antigen tests, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and serology tests (ELISA). </p><p>Rapid antigen tests target virus proteins, and somewhat resemble pregnancy tests. They aren't yet available at pharmacies and can only be administered by trained medical personnel. With a nasal or throat swab, testers can find out within approximately 15 minutes whether a patient has contracted the SARS-CoV-2 virus and is infectious and must be quarantined.</p><p>The advantage of rapid antigen tests is that they can be conducted quickly and on the spot. <br></p><p>It's hoped that this will help save the lives of thousands of people and slow the spread of the pandemic in the world's poorest countries. Rapid antigen tests can be used to carry out mass screenings among health care workers in low-income countries, who are at greater risk of death from COVID-19. These tests could also be used in schools, in the workplace and in nursing and retirement homes.</p><p>The major disadvantage of rapid antigen tests is that they're less reliable than PCR tests, which are conducted in labs and designed to detect the virus' genetic material. Rapid antigen tests may also be less effective in detecting infections in the early stages.</p><p>Still, a growing number of medical experts are backing the mass rollout of antigen tests, as they allow infected people to be identified even before they show symptoms, when individuals have a high viral load and are especially infectious.</p>
Not All Rapid Test Kits Are Reliable<p>Hundreds of rapid COVID-19 test kits have come on the market recently. Many of them are reliable, but not all. In March, for example, Spain sent back two batches of unlicensed Chinese test kits because they were flawed.</p><p>The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control has pointed out that even though many tests have been approved for sale on the European market, very few clinical studies show whether they are actually effective.</p><p>The 120 million test kits set to be rolled out by the WHO are the first to meet all of the organization's standards; test makers SD BioSensor and Abbott were granted emergency approval by the WHO last week.</p><p>The manufacturers claim their tests are up to 97% reliable in lab conditions; in the real world, the tests are said to be between 80% and 90% reliable. While this is good, it also means some 20% of patients will receive negative results despite being infected, which could lead to further spread of the virus.</p>
What Are the Alternatives to Antigen Tests?<p>Rapid antigen tests are ideal to test scores of patients quickly, simply and cheaply. Lab-based PCR tests, however, are superior in terms of reliability.</p><p>The PCR test detects genetic material, or RNA, from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Patients are asked to provide a throat swab. One part of the person's genetic material is then synthesized, after which a biochemical process known as agarose gel electrophoresis is used to detect if the sample contains virus RNA. These tests are highly reliable but can only be conducted in specialized labs.</p><p>Serologic testing, on the other hand, detects antibodies in a person's blood that form when the immune system responds to a certain pathogen. This indicates that a person has already been exposed to the virus. While quick test kits are available for this method, these are mainly used for scientific studies.<br></p>
The first presidential debate seemed like it would end without a mention of the climate crisis when moderator Chris Wallace brought it up at the end of the night for a segment that lasted roughly 10 minutes.
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By Mark Hertsgaard
What follows are not candidate endorsements. Rather, this nonpartisan guide aims to inform voters' choices, help journalists decide what races to follow, and explore what the 2020 elections could portend for climate action in the United States in 2021 and beyond.
Will the White House Turn Green?<p>Whether the White House changes hands is the most important climate question of the 2020 elections. President Donald Trump rejects climate science, is withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement, and has accelerated fossil fuel development. His climate policy seems to be, as he tweeted in January when rejecting a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposal to protect New York City from storm surges, "Get your mops and buckets ready."</p><p>Joe Biden, who started the 2020 campaign with a climate position so weak that activists gave it an "F," called Trump a "climate arsonist" during California's recent wildfires. Biden backs a $2 trillion plan to create millions of jobs while slashing emissions—a Green New Deal in all but name. Equally striking, his running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris, has endorsed phasing out fossil fuel production—a politically explosive scientific imperative.</p><p>The race will be decided in a handful of battleground states, five of which already face grave climate dangers: Florida (hurricanes and sea-level rise), North Carolina (ditto), Texas (storms and drought), Michigan (floods), and Arizona (heat waves and drought). <a href="https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/visualizations-data/ycom-us/" target="_blank">Public concern is rising</a> in these states, but will that concern translate into votes?</p>
Will Democrats Flip the Senate, and by Enough to Pass a Green New Deal?<p>With Democrats all but certain to maintain their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate will determine whether a potential Biden administration can actually deliver climate progress. Democrats need to pick up three seats to flip the Senate if Biden wins, four if he doesn't. But since aggressive climate policy is shunned by some Democrats, notably Joe Manchin of coal-dependent West Virginia, Democrats probably need to gain five or six Senate seats to pass a Green New Deal.</p><p>Environmentalists, including the League of Conservation Voters, are targeting six Republicans who polls suggest are vulnerable.</p><ul><li>Steve Daines of Montana, who denies climate science</li><li>Martha McSally of Arizona</li><li>Thom Tillis of North Carolina</li><li>Susan Collins of Maine</li><li>Joni Ernst of Iowa (bankrolled by Charles Koch)</li><li>John James of Michigan (also a Koch beneficiary)</li></ul><p>Republican Senators are even at risk in conservative Kansas and Alaska. In both states, the Democratic candidates are physicians—not a bad credential amid a pandemic—who support climate action. In Kansas, Barbara Bollier faces an incumbent funded by Charles Koch. In Alaska, Al Gross urges a transition away from oil, though his openness to limited drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve dims his appeal to green groups. He faces incumbent Republican Dan Sullivan, who receives an 8 percent lifetime voting record from the League of Conservation Voters.</p>
Will Local and State Races Advance Climate Progress?<h4>THE CLIMATE HAWKS</h4><p>Under Democratic and Republican leadership alike, Washington has long been a graveyard for strong climate action. But governors can boost or block renewable energy; the Vermont and New Hampshire races are worth watching. Attorneys general can sue fossil fuel companies for lying about climate change; climate hawks are running for the top law enforcement seats in Montana and North Carolina. State legislatures can accelerate or delay climate progress, as the new Democratic majorities in Virginia have shown. Here, races to watch include Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Colorado.</p><h4>THE CLIMATE POLICY MAKERS</h4><p>Perhaps the most powerful, and most overlooked, climate policy makers are public utility commissions. They control whether pipelines and other energy infrastructure gets built; they regulate whether electric utilities expand solar and energy efficiency or stick with the carbon-heavy status quo. Regulatory capture and outright corruption are not uncommon.</p><p>A prime example is Arizona, where a former two-term commissioner known as the godfather of solar in the state is seeking a comeback. Bill Mundell argues that since Arizona law permits utilities to contribute to commissioners' electoral campaigns, the companies can buy their own regulators. Which may explain why super-sunny Arizona has so little installed solar capacity.</p><p>In South Dakota, Remi Bald Eagle, a Native American U.S. Army veteran, seeks a seat on the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, which rules on the Standing Rock oil pipeline. And in what <em>HuffPost</em> called "the most important environmental race in the country," Democrat Chrysta Castaneda, who favors phasing out oil production, is running for the Texas Railroad Commission, which despite its name decides what oil, gas, and electric companies in America's leading petro-state can build.</p>
Will the Influencers Usher in a Green New Era?<h4>THE UNCOUNTED</h4><p>The story that goes largely under-reported in every U.S. election is how few Americans vote. In 2016, some 90 million, <a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2018/08/09/an-examination-of-the-2016-electorate-based-on-validated-voters/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">roughly four out of every 10 eligible voters</a>, did not cast a ballot. Attorney Nathaniel Stinnett claims that 10 million of these nonvoters nevertheless identify as environmentalists: They support green policies, even donate to activist groups; they just don't vote. Stinnett's <a href="https://www.environmentalvoter.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Environmental Voter Project</a> works to awaken this sleeping giant.</p><h4>THE SUNRISE MOVEMENT</h4><p>Meanwhile, the young climate activists of the <a href="http://www.sunrisemovement.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Sunrise Movement</a> are already winning elections with an unabashedly Green New Deal message. More than any other group, Sunrise pushed the Green New Deal into the national political conversation, helping Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey draft the eponymous congressional resolution. In 2020, Sunrise has helped Green New Deal champions defeat centrists in Democratic primaries, with Markey dealing Representative Joe Kennedy Jr. the first defeat a Kennedy has ever suffered in a Massachusetts election. But can Sunrise also be successful against Republicans in the general elections this fall?</p><h4>THE STARPOWER</h4><p>And an intriguing wild card: celebrity firepower, grassroots activism, and big-bucks marketing have converged behind a campaign to get Latina mothers to vote climate in 2020. Latinos have long been the U.S. demographic most concerned about climate change. Now, <a href="https://votelikeamadre.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Vote Like A Madre</a> aims to get 5 million Latina mothers in Florida, Texas, and Arizona to the polls. Jennifer Lopez, Salma Hayak, and Lin-Manuel Miranda are urging mothers to make a "pinky promise" to vote for their kids' climate future in November. Turning out even a quarter of those 5 million voters, though no easy task, could swing the results in three states Trump must win to remain president, which brings us back to the first category, "Will the White House Turn Green?"</p>
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