Greenpeace Releases Sweeping Policy Plans To Fight Inequality, Racial Injustice, COVID-19 and Climate Crisis
A Greenpeace activist protests in Warsaw, Poland on April 22, 2020. "Going back to normal is not an option," a new report from Greenpeace USA insists. Rafal Wojczal / Greenpeace Polska
By Andrea Germanos
The "just, green, and peaceful future we deserve is possible and together we can build the power to manifest it."
So declares Greenpeace USA's new "Just Recovery Agenda." Released Tuesday and packed with more than 100 sweeping policy recommendations for President-elect Joe Biden and members of the next U.S. Congress to embrace, the visionary document plots out a path for erecting new systems that no longer put corporate greed above the public and planet's well-being.
"Going back to normal is not an option," the report bluntly states, because what "we knew as 'normal' was a crisis." The coronavirus crisis has thrown that truism into relief, says Greenpeace, but the worsening climate and ecological crises and deep inequality have long made the case for a bold transformation of the dominant economic system.
With post-pandemic policies now being charting out —and a new presidential administration just months away — Greenpeace says it's crystal clear now is the time for pivotal change.
"The policy choices we make in this disruptive moment will shape the path forward for millions of people—the Covid-19 crisis and clarion call for racial justice in 2020 must mark a turning point for federal policy-making," the report urges.
Greenpeace USA campaigns director James Mumm put the new report in the context of former Biden's victory over President Donald Trump.
"We the people have chosen Joe Biden, who will arrive in the White House with a forceful mandate to lead our recovery from Covid-19, address the climate crisis, advance racial justice, and build an economy that puts people first," Mumm said in a statement.
"Over the past four years, we have cared for one another," he continued. "Now, we must come together to ensure that Joe Biden and the new Congress care for us, and to see that everyone — no matter their race or where they come from— has what they need to thrive."
The report expands on what that means by pointing to "dignified work, healthcare, education, housing, clean air and water, healthy food, and more." In this new work, says Greenpeace, the world must "shift from an economy that is extractive and exploitative to one that regenerates and repairs."
Centering all the prescriptions — which range from boosting voting rights to expanding renewable energy — are values of equity, community justice, freedom, compassion, and creativity.
Actions demanded of federal lawmakers include establishing a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour; strengthening the National Environmental Policy Act; enacting and enforcing new antitrust standards to curb corporate power; "passing bold and just recovery legislation in line with the THRIVE Agenda to lay the groundwork for a Green New Deal and world beyond fossil fuels"; enacting the pro-democracy the For The People Act of 2019; banning permits for new or expansions of existing factory farms; "enacting The BREATHE Act to police brutality and racial injustice by investing in Black communities and re-imagining community safety"; and enacting a ban on deep sea mining.
"As we look to recover from the interlocking crises we face as a nation," said Mumm, "it's time to use the tools and power of the federal government to solve problems rather than exacerbate them."
"This moment calls us to be bold and advance solutions at the scale science and justice demand," he continued. "It calls us to be holistic and navigate out of multiple crises at once. And it calls us to be visionary in our pursuit to people — not corporations or wealthy elites — at the heart of governance and public life."
Make no mistake — the "us" Mumm refers to really means all of us.
"Telling our story will not be the job of a single, appointed messenger, be it a politician, celebrity, CEO, or activist," says the report. "That responsibility lies with everyone who believes in the vision of a better world."
"Together we will build a movement broad, inclusive, and powerful enough to deliver the future our communities need and deserve," it states. "Together we will rewrite the rules of society."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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People across New England witnessed a dramatic celestial event Sunday night.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By David Reichmuth
Over the last month, I've seen a number of opinion articles attacking electric vehicles (EVs). Sadly, this comes as no surprise: now that the Biden administration is introducing federal policies to accelerate the roll out of electric vehicles, we were bound to see a reaction from those that oppose reducing climate changing emissions and petroleum use.
The majority of EVs sold in 2020 were models with a starting price (Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price) under $40,000 and only a fifth of models had a starting price over $60,000.
On Friday, China set out an economic blueprint for the next five years, which was expected to substantiate the goal set out last fall by President Xi Jinping for the country to reach net-zero emissions before 2060 and hit peak emissions by 2030.
The Great Trail in Canada is recognized as the world's longest recreational trail for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. Created by the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) and various partners, The Great Trail consists of a series of smaller, interconnected routes that stretch from St. John's to Vancouver and even into the Yukon and Northwest Territories. It took nearly 25 years to connect the 27,000 kilometers of greenway in ways that were safe and accessible to hikers. Now, thanks to a new partnership with the Canadian Paralympic Committee and AccessNow, the TCT is increasing accessibility throughout The Great Trail for people with disabilities.
Trans Canada Trail and AccessNow partnership for AccessOutdoors / Trails for All project. Mapping day at Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver, British Columbia with Richard Peter. Alexa Fernando<p>This partnership also comes at a time when access to outdoor recreation is more important to Canadian citizens than ever. <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200527/dq200527b-eng.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Studies from the spring of 2020</a> indicate that Canadian's <a href="https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/moneytalk-mental-health-during-covid-19-1.1567633" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mental health has worsened</a> since the onset of social distancing protocols due to COVID-19. </p><p>The <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/safe-activities-during-covid19/art-20489385" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Mayo Clinic</a> lists hiking, biking, and skiing as safe activities during COVID-19. Their website explains, "When you're outside, fresh air is constantly moving, dispersing these droplets. So you're less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19 to become infected."</p><p>TCT leadership took this into consideration when embarking on the accessibility project. McMahon explains that there has never been a more important time to bring accessibility to the great outdoors: "Canadians have told us that during these difficult times, they value access to natural spaces to stay active, take care of their mental health, and socially connect with others while respecting physical distancing and public health directives. This partnership is incredibly important especially now as trails have become a lifeline for Canadians."</p><p>Together, these organizations are paving the way for better physical and mental health among all Canadians. To learn more about the TCT's mission and initiatives, check out their <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/stories/" target="_blank">trail stories</a> and <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/TCT_2020-Donor-Impact-Report_EN_8.5x14-web.pdf" target="_blank">2020 Impact Report</a>.</p>