Climate Leader Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Joins Hundreds of Activists in Pelosi’s Office to Call for a Green New Deal
One of the most ambitious environmental ideas to gain popularity during the midterm elections was the idea of a Green New Deal—a massive national mobilization to transition the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy while creating green jobs and infrastructure.
Only four newly-elected Democratic Congresspeople endorsed the idea in their campaigns, including upstart progressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but climate activists are building a movement to make it a legislative priority. To that end, more than 200 protesters, including Ocasio-Cortez herself, staged a sit-in at Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi's office Tuesday calling on her to support the measure, Politico reported.
"This morning 100s of young people came together to ask us as elected officials to act urgently to draft a Green New Deal that gets us to 100% renewable energy ASAP," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. "They asked me to join them, and I did. We can embrace the energy of activism to move our party's goals forward."
In a statement, Pelosi asked that Capital Police allow demonstrators "to continue to organize and participate in our democracy," but activists tweeted that around 50 were arrested outside her office and Capitol Police confirmed the number of arrests as 51, Politico reported.
The action was organized by two groups: The Sunrise Movement, which describes itself as "building an army of young people to stop climate change" and Justice Democrats, which works to diminish the influence of large corporations on the party. Their actions come with a true sense of urgency. On its website, the Sunrise Movement cites the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that says we have 12 years to radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. They are also young people worried about what this means for their future.
"They offer us a death sentence. We demand a #GreenNewDeal," the activists tweeted as they announced their action.
200 people signing their power in the halls of Congress. Join our movement with your voice https://t.co/y6pz1MNYDU https://t.co/MAxhynvmgZ— Sunrise Movement 🌅 (@Sunrise Movement 🌅)1542124555.0
Pelosi herself tweeted support for the protesters, but came up short of endorsing a Green New Deal.
"The climate crisis threatens the futures of communities nationwide, and I strongly support reinstating the select committee to address the crisis,," Pelosi tweeted, referencing an idea she had floated after her party retook the House last week.
Deeply inspired by the young activists & advocates leading the way on confronting climate change. The climate crisi… https://t.co/GabLsE4xY5— Nancy Pelosi (@Nancy Pelosi)1542128573.0
Ocasio-Cortez responded with a very specific vision for what that committee should do. Instead of just discussing climate change, it should be empowered to draft a Green New Deal plan by 2020 and be staffed with officials who do not take money from fossil fuel companies.
We are working to build on the progress that’s being made. The added teeth that these young people are demanding:… https://t.co/LFYGkjfS7x— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1542130423.0
Ocasio-Cortez and the Sunrise Movement are circulating a resolution to that end among House Democrats and asking them to endorse it. So far Representatives Rashida Tlaib, Ro Khanna and Deb Haaland, one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress, have signed on.
If you want to add your name to the push to make a Green New Deal a major priority for the House Democrats, the Sunrise Movement is also circulating a petition.
The Best and Worst Midterm Results for the #Environment #climatevoter #ElectionResults2018 #DemsTakeTheHouse… https://t.co/TLZIev6k2K— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1541597110.0
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By Kristen Fischer
It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.
Keeping Schools Safe<p>What will safer schools look like?</p><p>In a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766822" target="_blank">JAMA article</a> published last month, <a href="https://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/1781/joshua-m-sharfstein" target="_blank">Dr. Joshua Sharfstein</a>, a pediatrician and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, outlined suggestions — many of which are similar to AAP's.</p><p>Remote learning protocols must stay in place, especially as some schools stagger home and in-building learning. If another shutdown needs to occur, children will rely on distance learning completely, so it must be easy to switch to, he said.</p><p>He suggested giving parents a daily checklist to document their child's health. Kids should be screened quickly on arrival and be given hygiene supplies. Maintenance staff should use appropriate PPE and have regular cleaning schedules. A notification system should be in place if a case is identified, Sharfstein recommended.</p><p><a href="https://www.albany.edu/rockefeller/faculty/erika-martin" target="_blank">Erika Martin</a>, PhD, an associate professor of public administration and policy at University at Albany, said nutrition assistance and health services should be included. She called for tutoring programs with virtual options as well as technology access.</p>
Supporting Staff<p>Teachers and staff will be affected by safeguarding measures, noted <a href="https://directory.sph.umn.edu/bio/sph-a-z/rachel-widome" target="_blank">Rachel Widome</a>, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota.</p><p>"In order for all of the in-school precautions to work well, we'll be asking a lot of teachers and staff," Widome told Healthline. In addition to their usual workload, they'll now be asked to monitor mask-wearing, ensure children are keeping distance, and be aware of any symptoms.</p><p>Along with Sharfstein, Widome called for an increase in financial support. More employees will likely be required so teachers and staff members can keep up with the added demands.</p>
Should Kids Go Back?<p>While these guidelines may help get some schools to reopen, many people don't think children should go back to school over fears they could contract the disease and spread it to other vulnerable family members like grandparents, infant siblings, or their parents.</p><p>In a <a href="https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2020/07/08/peds.2020-004879" target="_blank">Pediatrics</a> commentary, <a href="https://www.md.com/doctor/william-raszka-md" target="_blank">Dr. William V. Raszka, Jr.</a>, an infectious disease specialist at The University of Vermont Medical Center, argued that schools should open because school-aged children are far less important drivers of COVID-19 than adults.</p><p>But he says the risk and benefit is not equal among all students ages 5 to 18.</p><p>"Elementary schools are arguably higher priority for face-to-face schooling, since younger children are at lower risk for infection and transmission, and since parental supervision of younger children's distance learning may be particularly challenging," added Sorensen, who penned a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/channels/health-forum/fullarticle/2767411" target="_blank">June article in JAMA</a> with reopening tips. "That means middle and high schools are more likely to emphasize distance learning."</p><p>Specific student populations, such as special education students and students with disabilities, would also benefit greatly from more time spent in face-to-face environments, Sorensen said.</p>
What Parents Can Do<p>Parents should ask for and receive frequent updates from schools about plans for the fall. They should also be informed about plans if and when COVID infections are identified, Sharfstein said.</p><p>"I'd like to see parents investing now, during the summer, in doing things that can slow and stop the spread of the virus in their communities," Widome said.</p><p>"Now is a good time for kids to practice wearing masks and get used to them as they may be wearing them for longer stretches if school starts up in person," Widome suggested.</p><p>She recommends parents try different mask designs and materials to see what children are more comfortable wearing.</p><p>"If you are using cloth face coverings, it's good to have extras on hand," Widome added.</p><p>Parents should model healthy behavior at home and while out in public — another thing that could affect how well children adapt to reopening practices, Sorensen said.</p><p>"Children may want to know more about face coverings," added <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/leescott/" target="_blank">Lee Scott</a>, chairwoman of the Educational Advisory Board at <a href="https://www.goddardschool.com/" target="_blank">The Goddard School</a>. "Dramatic play, such as creating or wearing a face covering, may help some children adjust to this concept." Schools can also show children photos of what faculty members look like in their masks so the students are familiar with that appearance.</p><p>Johns Hopkins University recently released its eSchool+ Initiative, a slew of resources surrounding education during the pandemic. These include a <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-checklist/" target="_blank">checklist for administrators</a>, report on <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/ethics-of-reopening/" target="_blank">ethical considerations</a>, and a tracker of <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-policy-tracker/" target="_blank">state and local reopening plans</a>.</p>
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By Eoin Higgins
Over 300 groups on Monday urged Senate leadership to reject a bill currently under consideration that would incentivize communities to sell off their public water supplies to private companies for pennies on the dollar.
<div id="fea63" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9a6f211c2bc5aedd34837944cb8eeedf"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1281000111481294849" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Water in Illinois is overwhelmingly public. Why is Tammy Duckworth sponsoring a bill that aims to change that? https://t.co/1V36Kkd99s</div> — The American Prospect (@The American Prospect)<a href="https://twitter.com/TheProspect/statuses/1281000111481294849">1594249201.0</a></blockquote></div>
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