Current Issue

OPED

The tree reforestation success of Brighton, New York, oped by former Brighton, NY, Supervisor Sandra L. Frankel

Trees have inspired writers across the ages. William Shakespeare in As You Like it, wrote, “And this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stone, and good in everything. I would not change it.” Walt Whitman opined in The Wisdom of Trees and other writings about how trees help us to see reality vs. perception, and about the healing power of nature. Trees benefit us in so many ways. More

OPED

It’s time to speak up to prevent more air pollution in Delano and protect public health, oped by Mayor of Delano, CA, Bryan Osorio

Breathing clean air is our most basic human need. But the city of Delano has some of the worst air in California, according to a state health screening tool. Air pollution exposes everyone in Delano to health risks. I chose to serve my hometown, as a city councilperson and now as mayor, to fight for social justice for the people in my community. I feel a responsibility to speak up now to defend my community’s right to breathe clean air. We are at a turning point, and it is time to take a stand. More

OPED

Uncertainty is Governor Newsom’s political chess game that he can’t win, oped by Firebaugh City former mayor & current council-member Felipe Perez

Uncertainty, it’s what humans inherently fear and despise, it’s what investors can’t abide. But uncertainty is Governor Newsom’s political chess game. After two years he’s left many of us uncertain if he’ll take real action to protect the health and well-being of millions of his people who live in environmental injustices areas. He’s also left oil company executives and lobbyists, the latter whom he wined and dined at the French Laundry restaurant, uncertain that he’s totally onboard with them. More

Investigative Report

On the Front Lines & Fencelines: How Black communities have consistently confronted environmental injustice

By Brianna Cunliffe – PEN Chief Investigative Reporter— Before environmental justice was a buzzword, it was the simple demand from members of a rural North Carolinian Black community who put themselves on the line to prevent toxins from being dumped in the midst of their homes. The events of 1982 in Warren County sparked a movement that continues to this day, and form just one part of the long legacy of Black leadership in defense of our planet. Black Americans have been whistleblowers, crusaders for public health and close partners of the land for generations. Yet for so long, the stereotypical image of an environmentalist has been a white, affluent tree-hugger, despite the fact that polls show that Black Americans are consistently more concerned about climate change than their white counterparts — perhaps because they have been forced to feel its devastating impacts more acutely . . . More

Environment

New York Governor Cuomo’s Green Energy Program includes the largest comprehensive offshore wind program build-out in the nation

As part of New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s 2021 State of the State address, he announced the largest comprehensive offshore wind program in the nation. He said that the overall Green Energy Program will create more than 50,000 jobs. The ambitious offshore wind plan takes into account major issues that some other states that have offshore wind programs have not taken measures in. New York’s plan includes: training in the various vocations needed, ways to transmit the electricity from the offshore wind turbines to locations across the state without relying on the national grid alone, storage of the electricity, some ports having the capacity and structural integrity to become large and deep enough to support turbine deployment, and the manufacturing base needed to build the turbines. The comprehensive approach makes New York State’s plan the first of its kind in the nation  . . .  More

Explore our videos, podcasts, and documentaries with elected officials

From California to Maine elected officials share their stories with us about how they are working to combat the climate crises in their communities, state and nation.

Clair Brown, Economics Professor, talks about an equitable, sustainable way to achieve a clean energy economy

One aspect of this work is the development of a measure of economic performance based on the quality of life, and to estimate it for state of California. This index integrates measurements of inequality and environmental degradation as well as value of nonmarket activities and consumption to provide an inclusive measurement of sustainable economic performance to guide policy. To learn more about Professor Brown and her efforts  watch the video – please click here.

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick, of New York talks about young elected officials making change

“Young elected officials from all over the country are proposing legislation, passing laws and standing up to fight environmental injustice so we can create an inclusive clean energy economy. Young elected officials have led this country from its inception, and continue to progress our country at all levels of government. I’m encouraged by the wave of young activists demanding climate action. There is no doubt that their momentum helped New York pass the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, putting us on a path to the future.” To learn more about Svante and to watch the video please click here.

Sacramento Councilmember Katie Valenzuela of speaks out about the need to protect children from fossil fuel pollution

Katie is the youngest Councilmember in Sacramento having recently been sworn in but she intends to make big changes. Katie has suffered from severe asthma from breathing toxins from oil and gas wells since she was a child, and was in and out of emergency rooms. Her last job was working as the policy and political director for the California Environmental Justice Alliance, where she testified in Sacramento on a bill that would have created 2,500 foot safety setbacks from oil and gas wells. To watch the video please click here.