By David Shiffman
As we enter what's hopefully the home stretch of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's time to take stock of how it affected every aspect of our world, to consider what happened, what could be done different to avoid those problems in the future, and what's next.
That might mean confronting some of our earlier conclusions. For example, at the start of the pandemic we were bombarded with often false stories about suddenly quiet cities and waterways experiencing animals reclaiming what was once their habitat. "Nature is healing" stories like this seem to have created an overly rosy picture of the pandemic's impact on the natural world.
The reality is much more complicated, and I'm not just talking about things like the well-publicized millions of inappropriately discarded plastic bags and protective masks ending up in the ocean. Many other changes to the world's waters, including some potentially harmful ones, are taking place beneath the surface.
"Protected and conserved areas and the people who depend on them are facing mounting challenges due to the pandemic," says Rachel Golden Kroner, an environmental governance fellow at Conservation International. Indeed, for the past two decades a sizable chunk of global biodiversity conservation has been funded by ecotourism, a funding source that dries up when international travel slows down, as it did this past year.
While any global complex event has many impacts including some that we almost certainly can't predict at this point, many of the medium and long-term effects are likely to be bad.
And You Thought Your Virtual Meetings Were Bad
It's not just your workplace that's been meeting online this past year. It's every meeting, including international wildlife conservation and management meetings.
Some of these important events have been postponed, stalling critical political momentum that scientists and activists have been building for years. Others have met virtually, with notably less effectiveness.
The highest profile example of this was the December 2020 failure of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. The IATTC is an international gathering that governs a multi-billion-dollar series of global tuna fisheries, and meetings include representatives from all over the world who hammer out fishing quotas and other rules. The 2020 meeting closed without reaching an agreement on 2021 quotas. If allowed to stand, this would have meant that starting on January 1 of this year, a multi-billion-dollar global industry would have had absolutely no rules governing it. Imagine if your city council failed to agree on a policing budget, and this meant that "The Purge" was suddenly real — that's what nearly happened in the world of tuna management this past winter.
The pandemic didn't create the problem of tuna management politics, but experts believe that the virtual meeting, which precluded "schmoozing" in the hallway during coffee breaks and added an element of multiple time zone chaos, contributed to this year's unprecedented breakdown in negotiations.
"These meetings are often difficult to get through, but usually they keep working until they get it done, until there's at least a decent solution," says Grantly Galland, a global tuna conservation expert with Pew Environment. That's hard enough in person, but this year "the meeting started at 6 p.m. for me in D.C., which was midnight in Europe, and early morning in Japan. People were often frustrated. As discussions dragged into the night the incentive to keep going disappeared, and the meeting ended without rules."
Fortunately, after receiving intense pushback from environmental groups and the concerned public, the commission met for an emergency meeting a few weeks later and fixed this problem by just carrying over the 2020 rules to 2021 — hardly an ideal solution given existing problems with the 2020 rules, but a lot better than open ocean anarchy.
Still, this near-disaster shows how dependent our system of environmental management is on face-to-face meetings.
Whenever there's any economic crisis, industry will ask for a temporary (or even permanent) rollback of environmental protection regulations that they find economically burdensome. Marine and coastal protected areas, long a priority for science-based conservation and long opposed by elements of the fishing industry, have been no exception.
For example, a fisheries management council asked then-President Trump to allow fishing in currently protected areas, and the Trump administration did roll back fishing protections in the Atlantic around that time.
NOAA OKEANOS Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition
Marine protected areas also face other threats stemming from the pandemic. Rachel Golden Kroner, who also authored a recent paper on the impacts of the pandemic on protected areas, says: "Key challenges for marine protected areas include budget cuts, declines in tourism revenue, disruption of seafood supply chains and challenges in implementing management activities."
Golden Kroner shared examples of the near-collapse of the tourism-associated hospitality industry in Kenya, the Galapagos, Indonesia and Australia, noting that some of these industries employed former members of the fishing industry who had been persuaded to work in tourism instead.
While some coastal communities and protected areas face these serious issues, the good news is that this problem is far from universal.
"While the shutdowns, restrictions, and closures of coastal areas disrupted access and temporarily interrupted stewardship and harvest activities across Hawai'i, the connections between humans and nature forged over generations ensured that marine management actions never lost momentum," says Ulu Ching, the program manager for community-based conservation for Conservation International's Hawaii office. "Well-established community networks in collaboration with government resource management agencies continued to advance the work of mālama i ke kai (caring for the ocean) through the development and establishment of community-driven marine managed areas across the islands during the pandemic."
A young monk seal underwater in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. NOAA/PIFSC/HMSRP
Additionally, Golden Kroner points out that while some momentum for creating protected areas has stalled and some industry groups have called for rollbacks, there is good news in the form of expanded protected areas in a handful of places around the world. But it's clear that despite some positive signs, momentum in creating new marine protected areas has stalled in many places, tourism that funded their operations has slowed to a crawl, and some industries have been successful in rolling back protections.
Threats Continue, But Monitoring Has Stalled
One of the primary tools in the conservationist's toolbox for making sure that the commercial fishing industry follows the rules is observer coverage: independent people on board fishing vessels who monitor and record the catch. Due to COVID-19 safety regulations, observer coverage in much of the world has been reduced or eliminated — but fishing continues.
"For countries with fewer management resources, I can imagine that less observer coverage could lead to more rules being bent," says Simon Gulak, a fisheries consultant with Sea Leucas LLC who used to coordinate fisheries observers for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
"Fisheries observers provide fisheries management with accurate information on all discards/bycatch at sea, not just the cuddly protected species," he says. "They're a bit like a fisher's auditor and are liked about as much."
The problem with a lack of observers means that we generally have no way of knowing if bad things are happening on the water, but there are certainly cases of fishing vessels who only follow the rules because they'll get fined if they don't.
Gulak notes that in fisheries subject to electronic monitoring — including GPS trackers and cameras that document all catch and bycatch — observers may be less important because all relevant data is recorded automatically and it's harder to get away with breaking the rules.
Galland, the tuna conservation expert, also stressed the importance of ramping up electronic fisheries monitoring efforts. If the pandemic leads to an increase in e-monitoring, that may be a long-term good. In the meantime, we just don't know what's going on in many fisheries that were previously monitored by human observers.
It's not just fisheries observing that's stalled due to workplace safety concerns, but also fish market surveys, an important scientific tool for monitoring catch from boats too numerous and small to have observers or electronic monitoring equipment. In large parts of the world, fish market surveys are the only data we have on local catch composition. Without them, we wouldn't know how many endangered species are caught, or if formerly common species started to disappear.
Monitoring of things like sea turtle nests has similarly slowed down. These nest surveys are a critical way for scientists and managers to keep track of population trends of iconic endangered species, and to protect the nests themselves by marking them so beach drivers of off-road vehicles know to not crush the hidden nests.
A recently emerged sea turtle hatchling. Becky Skiba/USFWS
So what does the pandemic mean for ocean conservation? Experts caution that it's probably too early to tell. However, it's not all stories of dolphins frolicking in suddenly quiet rivers. Environmental planning meetings, funding schemes for protected areas, and monitoring of fisheries and endangered species populations were all disrupted, giving us good reasons to fear that the story is far more complicated, and far less happy, than many of us have been led to believe.
David Shiffman is a marine biologist specializing in the ecology and conservation of sharks. He received his Ph.D. in environmental science and policy from the University of Miami. Follow him on Twitter, where he's always happy to answer any questions anyone has about sharks.
Reposted with permission from The Revelator.
Climate change, the coronavirus pandemic, and growing inequality will exacerbate global volatility over the coming decades, a report by top U.S. intelligence officials released Thursday warns.
The Global Trends report, released every four years by the National Intelligence Council, predicted the impacts of climate change – rising temperatures, intensifying extreme weather and droughts that increase food insecurity, health risks, and conflict – would accelerate the trend of massive migration, and with it, global instability.
COVID, the report said, exposed the fragility of the world order, worsening "more and cascading global challenges, ranging from disease to climate change to the disruptions from new technologies and financial crises," the authors wrote.
"The international system – including the organizations, alliances, rules, and norms – is poorly set up to address the compounding global challenges facing populations."
Under the best-case scenario, democracies would take advantage of the opportunity to use pandemic recovery efforts to reorient national and international priorities toward solutions that would plan and adapt for climate change and other crises.
Unfortunately, said Maria Langan-Reikhof, the director of the council's strategic futures group, "greater divisions, increasing fracturing… [are] likely to continue and probably worsen."
For a deeper dive:
- Think Today's Refugee Crisis is Bad? Climate Change Will Make it a ... ›
- Louisiana's Vanishing Island: America's First Climate Refugees ... ›
- One Billion People May Become Climate Refugees By 2050 ... ›
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.
By Katharine Lusk
Through a year of pandemic shutdowns and protests, Americans have rediscovered their public spaces. Homebound city dwellers sought havens in parks, plazas and reclaimed streets. Many of these places also became stages for protests against police violence and systemic racism in the U.S.
Mayors around the world have used this time to reimagine the use of public space. Will cities revert to familiar car-centric patterns, or build on the past year to create more outdoor spaces that are accessible and welcoming for all of their residents?
Beginning in June 2020 and continuing throughout the summer, our team at Boston University interviewed mayors in cities across the country as part of our annual Menino Survey of Mayors. We wanted to understand how they were grappling with the unprecedented challenges and stark inequities laid bare in 2020, and how they were thinking about repurposing the public realm.
Our newly released report, Urban Parks and the Public Realm: Equity & Access in Post-COVID Cities, supported by Citi, The Rockefeller Foundation and The Trust for Public Land, offers new insights into how the disruptions of this unprecedented year have shaped mayoral perspective on parks and streets.
Partial street closures early in the pandemic gave people in cities like Oakland, California, a taste of urban life less dominated by cars.
COVID-19 and racial protests have highlighted pervasive inequities in the U.S. One issue we examined was how mayors think about investing for equity in parks and green spaces.
Among the 130 mayors we interviewed, 70% believed all their residents, regardless of race, ethnicity or income, live within easy walking distance of a park or green space. This view may be somewhat optimistic.
Data developed by The Trust for Public Land shows that, on average, 64% of residents in the cities we surveyed live within a 10-minute walk of a park or green space. Our analysis of The Trust's ParkServe data for all U.S. cities with more than 75,000 residents showed that on average, 59% of white residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park or green space, compared with 61% of Black or Hispanic residents and 57% of Asian residents. Mayors, particularly those in Northeast cities, acknowledged that not all neighborhoods had equal access to high-quality parks.
Another important question is how welcome residents feel in local public spaces. In our interviews, 77% of mayors believed their cities' parks were safe for all users. A similar proportion believed Black residents could use parks without fear of police.
But physical safety is not the only measure of accessibility. Racial and ethnic minorities may be discriminated against or feel socially and culturally excluded in some parks and public spaces. Widely publicized false assault charges by a white woman against a Black birder in New York's Central Park in October 2020 presented one prominent example.
"So long as people of color, and black men in particular, are seen as a potential danger, the issue of racial equit… https://t.co/O4CynYv9wk— Bloomberg CityLab (@Bloomberg CityLab)1590590548.0
Most Likely to Gain: Diners, Walkers and Bikers
Some local leaders capitalized on empty streets to accelerate long-planned projects or initiate new ones. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo made headlines with her decision to remove half of all street parking in Paris, add 50 kilometers (31 miles) of bike lanes and convert a major central roadway, Rue di Rivoli, to a cycling thoroughfare. These steps mark a fundamental shift toward a public realm that centers on people, not vehicles.
Similarly, one East Coast mayor told us that the need to maintain physical distance between people had prompted a call for more outdoor space:
"Fewer cars means more opportunities for public space. We're learning a lot about how to share public space and not just use it for cars – we worked to close roadways and people want to keep them."
Nearly half of the mayors we surveyed closed some roads to through traffic during the pandemic, and just under a third closed select streets to nearly all traffic. One prominent example is Washington, D.C.'s Black Lives Matter Plaza, commissioned by Mayor Muriel Bowser along two blocks of 16th Street NW. This new pedestrian promenade has quickly become a landmark that embodies a convergence of protest and pride.
New York City undertook an expansive "open streets" initiative, temporarily closing more than 100 miles of roadway to cars to provide more space for outdoor recreation in all five boroughs. Like most cities we surveyed, New York did not have a plan or process for retaining these changes after the pandemic. But the city's Department of Transportation, responding to public pressure, has signaled its commitment to making some changes permanent.
Typical setup for temporary limited local access under New York City's Open Streets initiative. NYC DOT
The most popular new use of public space, and the one most likely to endure after the pandemic, was outdoor dining. Among the mayors we surveyed, 92% created new space for outdoor dining, with 34% noting they planned to make these changes permanent. Locations varied across cities and neighborhoods: Some communities claimed sidewalk space, while others reallocated on-street parking or repurposed empty parking lots. Other cities closed entire streets for dining.
Other new uses of public space included widening sidewalks and creating new bike lanes. About 40% of the mayors in our survey pursued each of these changes. In Boston, permitting for new outdoor dining was part of a multifaceted "Healthy Streets" initiative that also accelerated creation of dedicated bus lanes and new bike lanes – including expansive new protected lanes around the city's historic central green space, Boston Common.
Ambitious projects require resources, and financial pressures still loom. Almost 40% of mayors we surveyed anticipated "dramatic" financial cuts to their parks and recreation budgets. That threat could be offset by the recently enacted American Rescue Plan, which provides direct funds for cities of all sizes.
People-Centered Public Spaces
Our survey indicates that Americans' newfound enthusiasm for public spaces isn't likely to fade. Among the mayors we surveyed, 76% believe their residents will visit parks and green space more frequently in the future than they did before the pandemic, 70% anticipate that residents will be walking more, and 62% believe they will be cycling more frequently.
Speaking recently about the future of cities, renowned Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye asserted that high-quality public space "has now become the treasure that people are completely addicted to. If you took for granted a park, now you realize that it's a very important part of the quality of life [in] cities."
As the U.S. emerges from a long and challenging year, perhaps more American mayors – spurred on by residents – will find the will to forever transform urban spaces into the treasures they can be.
Reposted with permission from The Conversation.
- COVID-19 Reveals a Crisis of Public Spaces - EcoWatch ›
- Public Parks Matter More Than Ever During a Pandemic - EcoWatch ›
A new study published Wednesday found that the destruction of primary forest increased by 12% in 2020, impacting ecosystems that store vast amounts of carbon and shelter abundant biodiversity.
Brazil saw the worst losses, three times higher than the next highest country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the report from Global Forest Watch (GFW) citing satellite data.
The driving factor of deforestation has been a combination of a demand for commodities, increased agriculture, and climate change.
2020 was meant to be a "landmark year" in the fight against deforestation in which companies, countries and international organizations had pledged to halve or completely stop forest loss, said the report.
What Were the Main Takeaways?
The report, which included data from the University of Maryland, study cited in the report registered the destruction of 10.4 million acres (4.2 million hectares) of primary forest.
The loss of tree cover ー which refers to plantations as well as natural forest ー was a total of 30 million acres. Australia saw a ninefold increase in tree cover loss from late 2019 to early 2020 compared to 2018 primarily driven by extreme weather.
Heat and drought also stoked huge fires in Siberia and deep into the Amazon, researchers said.
The findings did, however, show signs of hope, particularly in southeast Asia. Indonesia and Malaysia saw downward trends for deforestation after implementing regulations such as a temporary palm oil license ban — although that is set to expire in 2021.
Researchers Voice Concern
These losses constitute a "climate emergency. They're a biodiversity crisis, a humanitarian disaster, and a loss of economic opportunity," said Frances Seymour of the World Resources Institute, which is behind the
The destruction of tropical forests released vast amounts of CO2 in 2020, a total of 2.6 million tons. That equals the annual amount of emissions from India's 570 million cars, researchers said.
COVID's Impact on Deforestation
The study suggested that COVID-19 restrictions may have had an effect when it came to illegal harvesting because forests were less protected or the return of large numbers of people to rural areas.
Researchers, however, said that little had changed when it comes to the trajectory of forest destruction. They warned the worst could still be to come if countries slash protections in an attempt to ramp up economic growth, hampered by the pandemic.
If deforestation goes unchecked it could lead to a negative feedback loop ー where trees lost leads to more carbon in the air, which in turn leads to increased climate change impacts leading to more trees being lost, researchers said.
The aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic could offer and opportunity to reimagine policies and economies in a way that protects forest before it is too late, the report suggests.
Seymour said the most "ominous signal" from the 2020 data is the instances of forests themselves falling victim to climate change.
"The longer we wait to stop forestation, and get other sectors on to net zero trajectories, the more likely it is that our natural carbon sinks will go up in smoke," she said.
Reposted with permission from Deutsche Welle.
As people rushed to buy hand sanitizer during the first months of the pandemic, new brands emerged to fill the gap left by more well-known labels. But in the frenzy, some manufacturers appear to have cut corners.
Last year, several hand sanitizer brands were recalled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for containing toxic methanol, or wood alcohol. Now, tests from independent pharmacy and lab Valisure have found high concentrations of benzene in hand sanitizers, an industrial chemical known to cause cancer in humans.
"I was shocked that we were finding benzene at all," Valisure CEO David Light told CBS News. "It might very well be the most well known... compound that is dangerous to humans."
Valisure tested 260 hand sanitizer products from 168 brands, and found that 44 of them tested positive for some amount of benzene. The FDA typically bans benzene in drug manufacturing. However, due to the high demand for hand sanitizer prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, it allowed an interim limit of two parts per million in liquid hand sanitizers. Twenty one products that Valisure tested had benzene levels above this limit.
The most contaminated hand sanitizer is from artnaturals and contains 16 parts per million of benzene, Bloomberg reported. Other highly contaminated batches include products from Scentsational Soaps and Candles Inc., The Creme Shop and a Best Brands Consumer Products sanitizer sold in a Baby Yoda-themed bottle. The full list of contaminated products can be found here.
What's particularly concerning is how benzene is absorbed and how hand sanitizer is used, Valisure noted. For example, benzene is known to cause blood cancers such as leukemia. This makes the possibility that it could be absorbed through the skin especially worrisome, as FDA studies have determined that chemicals with a similar structure, such as sunscreen, can appear in the bloodstream after being applied to the skin.
Further, there are no recommended guidelines for how often a person should use hand sanitizer, raising the alarm that people could be exposed to high concentrations of benzene.
"As an example, when you're on a diet you may need to keep track of the total amount of sugar that you consume in a day," Light explained. "Having one small slice of cake with a high 'concentration' of sugar might be fine. Eating the whole cake would amount to a very different total 'exposure' of sugar, even though each individual serving would have the same 'concentration' of sugar. Hand sanitizer products are typically used in many times greater volume than standard drug products like tablets or capsules, so even a relatively low concentration limit can result in very high total exposure. This strongly underscores the need for a daily limit in addition to a concentration limit."
Valisure filed a petition with the FDA on Wednesday asking them to recall the contaminated products and set exposure limit guidance for benzene.
Another issue is that several of the products that tested positive also violated FDA guidelines against adding ingredients to make their products taste, smell or look better, since these added factors might make children more likely to ingest them. Hand sanitizers, such as Baby Yoda, appear to be marketed to children.
The Walt Disney Company has asked Best Brands to withdraw this hand sanitizer while it conducts its own testing, CBS reported.
Meanwhile, the FDA said that it tests hand sanitizers and works with companies on recalls. However, manufacturers were ultimately responsible for the products they sold.
"The agency reminds manufacturers, distributors, repackagers and importers they are responsible for the quality of their products and urges manufacturers to test their ingredients to ensure they meet specifications and are free from harmful contamination," FDA spokesman Jeremy Kahn told Bloomberg in an email.
However, watchdog group Public Citizen said the FDA should not be allowing any benzene in hand sanitizers.
"It has been taken out of most products, and for it not to be taken out of a product that is here to prevent people from getting exposed to coronavirus is inexcusable," Sidney Wolfe, the group's founder, told Bloomberg. "Most of these don't have any detectable levels. If it is possible to have hand sanitizers that don't have any detectable levels, it is inexcusable that the FDA doesn't ban any hand sanitizer that contains any detectable level."
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- FDA Expands List of Potentially Deadly Hand Sanitizers - EcoWatch ›
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Cities around the globe dimmed their lights for an hour on Saturday, to mark Earth Hour. The annual event organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) encourages countries to dim their lights for an hour starting at 8:30 p.m. local time.
This year, organizers said they wanted to highlight the link between the destruction of nature and increasing outbreaks of diseases like COVID-19.
Experts are of the opinion that human activity, such as widespread deforestation, destruction of animals' habitats and climate change, is spurring an increase in the incidence of disease, and warn more pandemics could occur if nothing is done.
Cities Across the World Go Dark
The Asia Pacific kicked off the event, by turning off their lights at night time. New Zealand was the first to do so, with Auckland's Sky Tower and Wellington's parliament buildings switching off their power.
In Europe, Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, Paris' Eiffel Tower, and the Vatican's Saint Peter's Basilica also hit the light switch. Other cities that celebrated included Tokyo, Sydney, Moscow, New Delhi, and London.
"#EarthHour reminds us that small actions can make a great difference for our planet," tweeted European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
"Whether it is a decline in pollinators, fewer fish in the ocean and rivers, disappearing forests or the wider loss of biodiversity, the evidence is mounting that nature is in free fall. Protecting nature is our moral responsibility but losing it also increases our vulnerability to pandemics, accelerates climate change, and threatens our food security," said Marco Lambertini, director-general of the WWF.
"One hour is not enough for us to remember that climate change is actually a problem — I don't really see (Earth Hour) as very significant," he added.
Reposted with permission from Deutsche Welle.
- Earth Is Warning Us We Must Change. Will We Listen? - EcoWatch ›
- Earth Hour 2021 Shines a Virtual Spotlight on the Natural World ... ›
Last year, COVID-19 lockdowns forced many restaurants to close and events to be canceled at the last minute, so a lot of food that was already purchased stood to be wasted.
"There were a lot of businesses that were faced with that harsh reality that they just had so much food that could not be utilized," says Phil Acosta of Aloha Harvest, a Hawaiian food rescue organization.
The group quickly mobilized to collect that food and distribute it to people in need.
As the pandemic wore on, chefs whose restaurants were closed rushed to help meet the growing demand. Aloha Harvest partnered with an organization called Chef Hui.
"And we started to prepare foods and get that out to the community – so, ready-to-eat, ready-to-heat type of meals," Acosta says.
Rescuing food not only helps feed people. It can also reduce global warming pollution because less food needs to be grown, packaged, and shipped. And less waste ends up rotting in landfills and releasing methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
"We want to make sure that everything that's produced is consumed in some way and not wasted," Acosta says. "We need to do a much better job of utilizing our precious food resources."
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.
By Martin Kuebler
When Fridays for Future (FFF) takes to the streets on March 19, activists around the world are going to be doing everything they can to make sure the climate crisis stays in the news.
In the Netherlands, 16-year-old Erik Christiansson will join a small physically distanced protest in The Hague with other Dutch FFF members.
Meanwhile, some 12,000 kilometers to the south in Zambia, a 26-year-old man named Chilekwa Kangwa will give a radio interview highlighting the importance of education and sustainable agriculture.
Across the Atlantic and eight time zones away, Adriana Calderon, an 18-year-old Mexican, will be deploying a sticker campaign in support of renewable energy and targeting the massive global K-pop fan base on social media, in the hope that the FFF message goes viral.
"The big marches with tens of thousands of people which we had in 2019 are just not possible anymore," said Christiansson, 16, speaking with DW from his home near Utrecht.
Over the past year, he and other young activists around the globe have tried to adapt and come up with new virtual approaches to get the message out — a #DigitalStrike from online class, for example, or social media posts with eye-catching slogans.
School strike week 82. In a crisis we change our behaviour and adapt to the new circumstances for the greater good… https://t.co/OHNXdFHsj9— Greta Thunberg (@Greta Thunberg)1584087062.0
Overall, though, it's been a struggle. "We noticed that it's been a lot less effective," said Christiansson, who has been involved with climate advocacy for about two years. "On social media, often your posts get seen by other people who already agree with you and you don't really get that much attention from outside."
Calderon has also found it difficult to share her climate concerns under Mexico's emergency coronavirus measures. Speaking with passersby at an in-person march, she said, you may have several minutes to get your message across. Online, that attention span shrinks to just seconds.
"With social media, it's very hard — you have to be really precise in your words," she said. Her local FFF group, based in Cuernavaca, Morelos, found it too difficult to carry on under the quarantine measures and shut down its social media presence in November.
Has the Pandemic Weakened Friday's for Future?
Still, Friday's for Future has managed to continue. But can it regain the momentum it once had?
"Visible public events are undeniably the foundation for a social movement — to mobilize people, to mobilize support and to gain public attention. And this is definitely missing," said Jens Marquardt, a postdoctoral researcher in climate change politics and societal transformation at Stockholm University.
While it was inevitable that some media coverage would drop off in 2020 once the movement's novelty had worn off, he believes the pandemic has hit FFF particularly hard and made it difficult for the movement to get its message out. But that hasn't necessarily been detrimental, said Darrick Evensen, a professor of environmental politics at the University of Edinburgh.
"It's a very different world because of the coronavirus pandemic and the manifestation of climate activism has certainly evolved — necessarily so because of the lack of opportunities for in-person interaction," he said.
Christiansson agrees. Stuck at home in the Netherlands under lockdown, Christiansson helped produce some webinars for the FFF YouTube channel and began chatting with other activists his age abroad.
"We've talked a lot more internationally than we did before, when everyone was focused on their own strikes and their national politics," he said. "Since we were communicating with everyone online already, it was easy to get connections with people in other countries as well."
Evensen points out that it's not just the medium of the message that's changing, either — the message itself has evolved over the last year. Global strikes like the one set for this Friday aren't just stressing the climate emergency; talking points now include worker welfare, climate justice and the role of civil society in climate decision-making.
"The rhetoric is changing," said Evensen. "It does seem that this really heavy focus on science is waning, and it's become more of a blended image in terms of the interests that are that are being represented."
This shift in focus could be linked to the secondary effects of the pandemic and a heightened perception of risk, both in terms of our health and the health of the planet, he said, adding, "People are maybe spending more time outside, people are thinking more about their interaction with the natural world."
Evensen was part of a recent UK study showing that climate concerns haven't diminished during the pandemic, as they did during the last global financial crisis in 2008 — and he said he was seeing similar data in other parts of the world. In some cases, respondents even identified climate change as a bigger threat than the virus.
"It is actually quite astonishing to see that this [FFF] movement has been so resilient and robust, despite this massive crisis," said Marquardt. "This year of reflection has been helpful in shaping the agenda about what this movement is about and what this movement wants to achieve in the future."
More Space for Marginalized Voices
Marquardt said the pandemic has also given FFF the chance to bring in marginalized voices. At the last global strike on September 25 the movement emphasized the "most affected people and areas," or MAPA, a new term for the areas of the world that will be disproportionately harmed by climate change, in an attempt to bring them into the global debate.
"Of course, you still have some imbalance, in terms of basic internet access, ways of communicating, who speaks for whom. [But] the pandemic has very much increased cooperation and also exchange between different national and local activist groups," he said.
Adriana Calderon, who joined FFF in Mexico about a year ago just as the world was shutting down, has thrown herself into virtual campaigns on social media and YouTube, coordinating global support for MAPA. Before the pandemic, she said, people in the Global South lacked this dedicated community to express themselves among people who understood their concerns.
"Today, there are more than a hundred activists, and we are like a community. We have calls on Saturdays, we have our own social media. We plan together what we want to do, and we ally with other groups to make campaigns," she said. "There was a community before, but now I think the international community is doing more because we were forced to move to digital, forced to interact with other groups. And I can see how much the movement has grown since last year."
'We Can't Stop Here'
Taking part of that growth has been Chilekwa Kangwa, a 26-year-old from Mpika in northeastern Zambia. Kangwa, who founded the Action for Nature conservation and development group in 2017, only got involved with FFF recently. But he has already linked up with several campaigners in other countries to swap stories about sustainable agriculture and other issues relevant for his region.
"Climate change affects people in different ways," he said, adding that this global exchange through MAPA can help his community, and others, find the tools needed to fight climate change and transform livelihoods. "What should be done now is that we must begin to listen to one another."
On Friday, Zambia's less restrictive coronavirus measures will allow Kangwa to take part in a march in Mpika with many excited young students, the first such FFF event in his community. That's an experience that Calderon hopes will soon be possible in her part of the world, too.
"People miss physically going on strike," she said. But she thinks that when the world begins to emerge from the COVID restrictions, the digital advances of the last year won't be forgotten. "At the end of the day, we will still be using both. We have developed so much, and we can't stop here."
Reposted with permission from Deutsche Welle.
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By Jessica Corbett
"We envision a world transformed, in which humanity in all its diversity has developed a shared reverence for life on Earth."
So declares a new joint statement—entitled "Sacred People, Sacred Earth"—supported by religious groups and leaders across the globe who planned more than 400 events in over 40 countries for Thursday in what organizers are calling the largest-ever faith-based day of action for climate justice.
The unified call and day of action, co-sponsored by over 120 religious groups representing more than 100 million members, come as countries pour money into coronavirus relief and recovery efforts.
"A far better future is possible if our collective response to the pandemic and the climate crisis is guided by compassion, love, and justice at a scale that meets this moment," says the multi-faith statement directed at governments and financial institutions. "We must not only provide the relief that so many need to survive. We must create a new culture, politics, and economy of life that heals people and planet."
"Together, we are building resilient, caring communities and economies that meet everyone's needs and protect the planet," the statement adds. "The era of conquest, extraction, and exploitation has given way to cooperation and community. The good life is one of connectedness—with each other and all of nature."
Today, we rise around the world as #Faiths4Climate. These are our demands! Add your name: https://t.co/DMvOQL7JbW… https://t.co/V6t59eP1fm— GreenFaith (@GreenFaith)1615471672.0
Grassroots religious activists also released 10 specific demands, which were backed by over 200 faith leaders including the Vatican's Cardinal Peter Turkson, Buddhist author Joanna Macy, and Muslim-American scholar Imam Zaid Shakir.
Other supporters include former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams; Dr. Francis Kuria, secretary general of the African Council of Religious Leaders; Swami Chidanad Saraswati, president of Parmarth Niketan; and Dr. Azza Karam and Rabbi David Rosen, respectively secretary general and co-president of Religions for Peace.
"Climate-induced floods, droughts, and wildfires are now a worldwide, everyday apocalypse," noted Nana Firman, an Indonesian Muslim activist with GreenFaith International Network, which coordinated the demands and actions.
"It is always those among us who've done least to cause the problem who suffer the worst: racial and ethnic minorities, the poor, elders, young children, women," Firman added. "These demands are the moral criteria by which government or financial sector commitments must be measured."
In a statement, Rev. Fletcher Harper, executive director of Greenfaith, a multi-faith alliance, explained some of the motivation behind the day of action.
"Religious extremists around the globe are backing the authoritarian governments and extractive industries which are destroying the planet," he said. "There's nothing ethical about what these fundamentalist faith groups are doing. Grassroots people of faith are rising everywhere to reclaim our religions."
Great to see #SacredPeopleSacredEarth actions kicking off around the world today. Powerful faith leaders from acros… https://t.co/RM8Ip2qY1c— Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty (@Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty)1615419781.0
I was privileged to take part in the @greenfaithworld Global Multi-Faith Day of Action, 11 March,2021 which marked… https://t.co/xL3ROtDC7F— Philbert Aganyo (@Philbert Aganyo)1615493373.0
What a joyful, meditative, and fun action in Oakland for #SacredPeopleSacredEarth today in #oakland! We’re calling… https://t.co/hV8cfZudsD— Sara Shor (@Sara Shor)1615495851.0
"No religious tradition sanctions the destruction of nature," said Catholic lay leader Thea Ormerod, founder of the multi-faith Australian Religious Response to Climate Change and a Greenfaith founding partner. "Yet this is exactly what governments, financial institutions, and major corporations are doing."
"Our faiths are compelling us to go out from our churches, mosques, and temples, and into the streets to make our voices heard," Ormerod added.
The religious activists are taking to the streets as governments signed on to the Paris agreement are unveiling updated pledges to cut emissions ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) scheduled for November.
According to Francesca de Gasparis, executive director of Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute and another Greenfaith founding partner: "The world needs strong, principled climate action immediately."
"Faith communities have issued statements, fatwas, encyclicals, and more on climate change," de Gasparis said. "What's needed now is binding legislation."
Religious leaders from different faith communities came together to plant trees marking the Day of Action.… https://t.co/RDvaXZcB0X— Meryne Warah (@Meryne Warah)1615456824.0
The Earth and all people are sacred and at risk. #Franciscans are proud to be part of @greenfaithworld’s… https://t.co/DVf8Vpie66— FranciscanActionNet (@FranciscanActionNet)1615478531.0
Community - bold faith community leadership; sustained, united action guided by the teachings of our diverse religi… https://t.co/2ChklSo9We— Christians For Future Berlin (@Christians For Future Berlin)1615468199.0
Actions were held in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Honduras, Indonesia, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Panama, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, Vanuatu, and over two dozen more countries. The activists, as the statement explains, urge decision-makers to stop perpetuating "an outdated economic system that relies on fossil fuels and the destruction of the very forests, waters, oceans, and soils that make life possible."
"Instead they should accelerate renewable energy development; ensure universal access to clean water and air, affordable clean energy, and food grown with respect for the land; create jobs paying family-sustaining wages to workers in safe conditions," says the joint faith statement, which also calls for rich countries to "take responsibility for a larger share of emissions reductions to support a global just transition" and prepare to welcome people displaced by the Covid-19 and climate crises.
Arianne van Andel, coordinator of Chile's Alianza Interreligiosa y Espiritual por el Clima, blasted political and financial leaders for failing to take the ambitious action that scientists have long warned is needed to address the climate emergency.
"Fossil fuel development and deforestation continue to grow," said van Andel. "Indigenous people and environmental defenders are met with violence when they stand for what is right, while governments and corporations look the other way."
"After decades of knowing how serious this problem is," she added, "this gap between what's needed and what is happening is morally reprehensible."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
Four orangutans and five bonobos at the world-famous San Diego Zoo have become the first great apes in the world to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. The great apes received a COVID-19 vaccine made especially for animals.
In January, a troop of eight western lowland gorillas at the associated San Diego Zoo Safari Park contracted the contagious virus. They were the first great apes in the world to test positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance (SDZWA) confirmed. The organization includes both the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park.
The infected animals exhibited mild to concerning symptoms, including runny noses, cough, wheezing and lethargy. One, a 49-year-old silverback named Winston, fell ill with heart disease and pneumonia, but recovered after receiving an experimental antibody treatment, National Geographic reported. At this point, the entire troop is doing well and have fully recovered, a SDZWA spokesperson told EcoWatch.
"COVID has shown us that human health and wildlife health are inextricably linked," said Nadine Lamberski, SDZWA's chief conservation and wildlife health officer. "San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance recognizes that the documentation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park may provide important information regarding scientific understanding of the virus and its effects on great apes."
It's suspected that the apes caught the virus from an infected worker despite mask usage, NBC reported.
The troop's infection caused particular concern because less than 5,000 wild gorillas remain, National Geographic reported. Because they live in close family groups, when one animal catches the virus, the infection can quickly spread and decimate an entire family group. With such low numbers remaining, every loss is detrimental to the survival of the species.
As a precautionary response to the ape infections in January, SDZWA veterinarians identified which of the zoo's great apes were high risk and could be easily vaccinated, the spokesperson said.
"[We realized] that our other apes were at risk," Lamberski told the San Diego Tribune. "We wanted to do our best to protect them from this virus because we don't really know how it's going to impact them."
"Our friends at Zoetis, a veterinary pharmaceutical company, provided our veterinarians with a limited supply of recombinant purified spike protein vaccine, intended for use in protecting animals against SARS-CoV-2," she told EcoWatch. "The vaccine doses originated from a supply strictly intended for nonhuman use. We received enough doses to vaccinate 13 animals."
Two doses of the new, experimental animal vaccines were given to troops of bonobos and orangutans, and the remaining doses will go to other gorillas that weren't yet infected, SDZWA confirmed. The previously infected gorillas did not receive the vaccine as they have already been exposed to the virus and are presumed to have developed antibodies.
According to the San Diego Tribune, gorillas, bonobos, orangutans and chimpanzees are the closest cousins to humans, placing them at high risk for contracting the coronavirus.
The animals that received the vaccine are doing well and no adverse reactions have been observed, SDZWA reported. They will continue to be closely monitored and receive periodic exams. SDZWA also added that they would look into vaccinating other high-risk animals should the zoo receive more vaccines.
Vaccine manufacturer Zoetis has been discussing using these vaccines at other zoos, as well as at commercial mink operations, and plans to make additional doses available soon.
SDZWA will share what they learn from this experience with global conservation organizations and wildlife care professionals at more than 200 zoos worldwide.
"This is a really precious opportunity to observe what happens to endangered great apes when they're vaccinated to a potentially important disease," UC San Diego Zoologist Pascal Gagneux, an expert on primate evolution, told the San Diego Tribune. "Nothing prevents COVID-19 from starting to infect the wild populations."
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By Andrea Germanos
As the World Health Organization stresses the need for continued measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the face of a global rise in cases, reporting out Tuesday spotlights a new coalition warning that another global pandemic will surely come barring investment in measures to address the root causes of zoonotic disease outbreaks.
"The Covid-19 vaccines will help rescue us from this current mess, but it won't do a thing to protect us from the next pandemic," Aaron Bernstein of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health told The Guardian.
"Only with actions that stop emerging infections where they start can we end our ill-fated game of Russian roulette with pathogens," he said.
Harvard Chan is part of the Preventing Pandemics at the Source coalition, which brings together a number of public health experts and environmental organizations. Other coalition partners include Harvard's Global Health Institute, EcoHealth Alliance, and Health in Harmony.
As The Guardian reported:
The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 is thought to have jumped from wild bats to humans and about two-thirds of diseases that infect humans start in other species, including the influenza, HIV, Zika, West Nile, and Ebola viruses. The increasing destruction of nature by farming, logging, and the wild animal trade has brought people and their livestock into closer contact with wildlife and led to a great increase in diseases crossing from animals to people in recent decades.
Simply put, the coronavirus crisis should come as no surprise; "it is something we helped create," the group says.
"In truth, we knew that a pandemic was coming, but we as a global community still failed to take actions to prevent it or adequately prepare for it," the coalition says on its website. "As a result, we are facing a worldwide health emergency of epic proportions along with a global economic crisis and massive human suffering."
The "broken relationship with nature" has made similar public heath crises, like MERS and Ebola, more frequent, and there is "a high risk that we will make the same mistake again."
The group points to research showing that "more than 335 emerging infectious disease outbreaks were reported worldwide from 1940 to 2004—over 50 per decade."
Humanity must seize this moment to undergo a transformation enabling a recognition of our intertwined relationship with nature to avoid another deadly and economically crippling pandemic, the coalition asserts.
To effect that change, the coalition proposes three broad steps. Among them is the creation of a "Prevention at the Source Policy Taskforce," which the group bills as a transdisciplinary body that would craft and endorse a set of recommendations to "push for bold, creative, and actionable policies that will be truly successful in preventing spillover, while also being forward-thinking enough to anticipate and mitigate risks and unintended repercussions."
A "Global Action Fund for Pandemic Prevention" would further prevention by financing "a pipeline of existing prevention solutions" and a search for new solutions.
Rounding out the solution blueprint is a proposed global campaign to boost public knowledge about pandemic prevention.
"A mindset shift is needed in governments around the world so that prevention is seen as a top political priority, alongside health systems preparedness. Influencing public opinion on a topic is one of the most effective advocacy tools that can help achieve this shift," the group said.
The coalition directed its focus last month to congressional leaders in the U.S.
In an open letter, the group called for "far more leadership and investment regarding pandemic prevention."
"If Covid-19 has made one thing clear, it is that the cost of even the boldest initiative to prevent future pandemics is orders of magnitude less than the price we pay once a pandemic occurs," they told lawmakers.
As such, the coalition said that coronavirus relief funds should include "a significant level of new funds" for programs that help prevent pandemics at the source. Specific measures they detailed included the creation of the proposed Global Fund for Pandemic Prevention, with an initial $2.5 billion commitment.
"'Building back better' also means enhancing global health security, which must include U.S. leadership and investments to prevent pandemics at the source," the group wrote.
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
By Kenny Stancil
Amid the ongoing climate emergency and the devastating coronavirus pandemic that has resulted in more than 500,000 deaths in the U.S. alone as well as an economic meltdown that has left millions of people unemployed, the Sunrise Movement on Thursday launched its "Good Jobs for All" campaign to demand that lawmakers pursue a robust recovery that guarantees a good job to anyone who wants one and puts the country on a path toward a Green New Deal.
"It will take millions of people to build a new energy grid, care for older folks, teach little kids, restore parks and buildings that have fallen into disrepair, and do the work of building happy, healthy communities," the climate justice organization wrote on its campaign website. "This year, we can put millions of people back to work in good paying jobs building a sustainable, just, and people-centered economy."
"In the richest country in the world, no one should go without a good job," Varshini Prakash, executive director of the Sunrise Movement, said to thousands of people across the country who attended Thursday's online launch event via livestream or at one of 600 virtual watch parties. "For years, our movement has been demanding a Green New Deal that fulfills Franklin Delano Roosevelt's promise and Coretta Scott King's dream through guaranteed good jobs and a better society."
"This campaign," Prakash added, "will galvanize and grow our movement around this critical component of the Green New Deal as we recover from Covid-19 and the economic recession."
We’re coming together to fight for each other and guarantee #GoodJobsForAll Join us: https://t.co/MoJhmlzoaS https://t.co/IAPa8DeeLR— Sunrise Movement 🌅 (@Sunrise Movement 🌅)1614908186.0
During the campaign launch, Sunrise—joined by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Sara Nelson, president of the the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO—introduced their Good Jobs for All Pledge, which calls on President Joe Biden and members of Congress to immediately enact economic recovery legislation that meets the scale of the overlapping crises society is facing and paves the way for a Green New Deal that puts millions of people to work to fight against catastrophic climate change.
Given the current convergence of crises—public health, economic inequality, racial injustice, and "a climate crisis that looms over it all"—the Good Jobs for All Pledge stresses that "with so much work to do building a better society that works for all of us, there's no reason anyone in the richest country in the history of the world should be unemployed, underemployed, or working a job that isn't in the public interest."
Pressley, a Green New Deal co-sponsor, recently introduced the Federal Job Guarantee Resolution, which seeks to make "meaningful, dignified work" at a livable wage an enforceable legal right.
Becoming the first signatory of the Good Jobs For All Pledge, the Massachusetts Democrat said Thursday that "establishing the legal right to a good job for every person will help address the current employment crisis, create the foundation for an equitable economic recovery, and ensure that we are able to meet the pressing challenges facing our communities."
"I'm excited to work alongside the Sunrise Movement—as well as my colleagues, advocates, and activists across the country—to advance bold employment policies that ensure every person has access to a good job that pays a living wage, and that we put people to work addressing urgent priorities, like the climate crisis," said Pressley, who is expected to soon be joined by other prominent progressive lawmakers.
Signatories to the Good Jobs for All Pledge promise to do everything in their power—including abolishing the Senate's anti-democratic filibuster rule that obstructs the will of the majority—to "champion economic recovery legislation that invests $10 trillion to create at least 15 million good jobs sustained over the next decade in clean energy, transportation, housing, the care economy, public services, and regenerative agriculture, with the goal of ultimately guaranteeing full employment."
In addition, backers of the pledge vow to:
- Support "Indigenous sovereignty and strong labor, equity, immigration, and environmental justice standards," as outlined in the THRIVE Agenda, a proposal for a just and sustainable recovery from the coronavirus crisis unveiled in September 2020 by a progressive coalition of unions, advocacy groups, and Democratic lawmakers;
- Create or improve "public employment programs to directly put Americans to work in serving the public interest, including the robust funding of a Civilian Climate Corps and a Public Health Jobs Corps";
- Strengthen and protect the nation's "workforce, unions, and workers' rights through the provisions in the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act," a broad piece of legislation introduced in May 2019 that would "negate four decades worth of anti-labor barriers that right-wing forces have put in place," according to Alan Minsky, executive director of Progressive Democrats of America;
- Direct "at least 50% of investment funds to communities on the frontlines of our economic, environmental, and public health crises"; and
- Shift "every sector of the economy to 100% clean, renewable energy as fast as possible over the next decade."
As Sunrise noted in a statement released Friday, "The campaign comes 43 days into the administration, as time ticks down on the Democrats' now or never moment to stop the worst effects of the climate catastrophe and avoid the fatal political mistakes of the early Obama years: not acting at the full scale of the economic crisis, and falling short in delivering on promises made."
Emphasizing that "the clock is ticking," Prakash said that "we expect Biden and Congress to deliver on a bold economic recovery in its first 100 days—by April 30th."
"We're going to put on the pressure to make sure that they do," she added. "And if they don't, well then they're really gonna hear from us—and there'll be hell to pay. You've got 57 days to deliver."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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