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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Earth had its second-warmest year on record in 2020, just 0.02 degrees Celsius (0.04°F) behind the record set in 2016, and 0.98 degrees Celsius (1.76°F) above the 20th-century average, NOAA reported January 14.
Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for 2020, the second-warmest year the globe has seen since record-keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA. Record-high annual temperatures over land and ocean surfaces were measured across parts of Europe, Asia, southern North America, South America, and across parts of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. No land or ocean areas were record cold for the year. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information
Figure 2. Total ocean heat content (OHC) in the top 2000 meters from 1958-2020. Cheng et al., Upper Ocean Temperatures Hit Record High in 2020, Advances in Atmospheric Sciences
Figure 3. Departure of sea surface temperature from average in the benchmark Niño 3.4 region of the eastern tropical Pacific (5°N-5°S, 170°W-120°W). Sea surface temperature were approximately one degree Celsius below average over the past month, characteristic of moderate La Niña conditions. Tropical Tidbits
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