Elected officials write for action  

Maine Rep. Blume’s climate education bill will meet needs of all K-12 students, schools

February 12, 2022

Oped by Lydia Blume, ME

A version of this was first published in the Portland Press Herald.

A school’s budget should not determine the availability of the resources for climate education, and that’s why I have been working hard with advocates and other policymakers to ensure that, unlike the effects of climate change, these educational resources are shared equitably in my climate change proposed legislation. L.D. 1902, would establish a pilot program to encourage climate education in Maine public schools,

This bill has been informed and developed by a diversity of voices for over more than a year, including students, teachers, administrators and community organizations across the state. This was reflected clearly during the bill’s public hearing, with 21 students, 27 educators and 34 organizations testifying in favor, as well as parents and other civic leaders. None was opposed. As we are seeking to build equitable outcomes, our process must be equitable as well, and the process that has brought this bill to where it is today reflects that.

Delegate Walker says Sen. Manchin broke word to all WV voters – but not too late to make amends with vote for Build Back Better

January 22, 2022

Oped by Delegate Danielle Walker, Charleston, WV

When Senator Manchin broke his word  saying he would not vote for the Build Back Better Act (BBBA), he betrayed everyone who voted for him. His action will hurt millions of children and their families. Communities across our state will suffer without BBBA which would save working families $7,400 a year on average in WV, where the median income is $25,000 a year.

We face multiple interconnected existential crises that threaten our shared humanity, national security and planet because of human caused climate change. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report said we must cut the carbon pollution from burning fossil fuels in half by 2030 to avoid increasing devastation. Our future is reliant on passage of BBBA, as it combines concrete actions to mitigate against climate change, rebuilds our economy and advances environmental justice—while paving the way for good-paying union jobs. 

Before Manchin pivoted his reasons why he refuses to vote, his primary objection was the extension of Child Tax Credit that has lifted millions of children out of poverty. It has been the single most productive program for children, and their families in recent US history. The BBBA would continue the program.

We know W.Va. needs the Build Back Better Act. Why doesn’t Sen. Manchin?

This was first published in The Dominion Post. The link can be found here

December 18, 2021

Oped by Brian Butcher and Ixya Vega, members of Morgantown City Council, in West Virginia. Butcher represents the 7th Ward while Vega represents by the 3rd Ward.

June of this year saw devastating floods ravage our neighborhoods. After the claims were filed, the discussions were held, the explanations given, our working class neighbors throughout our community were left with astronomical restoration bills or an unlivable home.

As weather events like this continue to ravage our communities throughout Appalachia, Sen. Manchin refuses to take action against the oil barons who have largely been responsible for this terrible climate future foisted upon the working class or to invest in the infrastructure necessary to lessen or reverse the impending disaster. The investment in climate protection represented in the upcoming Build Back Better bill is one of the few objectively fiscally responsible ways that congress can spend its money.

Hawaii needs to build back better with the Senate passing BBBA – for all our futures

December 6, 2021

Oped by HI State Representative Roy Takumi, Air National Guard Veteran First published in Hawaii’s Civil Beat

With the recent passage of the Build Back America Act in the U.S. House, the Senate must pass this landmark legislation with all deliberate speed. After all, as a state we can only do so much on our own. We need to work in partnership with the federal government to help our state reach its climate goals in resiliency and mitigation.

Hawaii was dealt a huge economic blow by the pandemic as we shut down. Tourism was reduced to a trickle.  But the pandemic also gives us the opportunity to reimagine our economy and lessen our dependence on tourism. This is where the BBBA comes in. BBBA would be the largest ever single investment in our clean energy economy — across buildings, transportation, industry, electricity, agriculture. It would also allow us to implement climate smart practices in our lands and waters.

Maine can’t wait for climate action we need the Build Back Better Act

Oped by Alex Cornell du Houx, former Maine state Representative, combat veteran.

This oped was first published in the Sun Journal here.

December 11, 2021

During my service in Iraq and Afghanistan, I came face-to-face with the climate crisis.

Today, on a daily basis, millions of people around the globe, including those right here in Maine, face the dangers of the climate crisis. From rising temperatures to extreme weather events linked to human-made climate change, this crisis imperils our security, both abroad and at home.

During a routine patrol, a roadside bomb exploded and hit my HUMVEE. As the dust cleared, we checked our limbs and, through quick action, we caught the assailant as he tried to escape. Fortunately for us, the military-age man was not well trained, and most of the blast missed our vehicle.

For American Native communities, building back better is a critical opportunity

December 16, 2021

This first was published in the Arizona Daily Sun – here.

Oped by Arizona State Senator Jamescita Peshlakai (Navajo/Dine’ of the Tangle People Clan, and an army veteran

The United States is the richest country on earth, but there are still communities living in impoverished conditions. As the climate crisis worsens, bringing drought, wildfire, and extreme heat, those conditions become more desperate, with tribal communities some of the hardest hit. Every day, we are fighting to hold onto our culture, community, and sacred spaces. The Build Back Better Act is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to combat this crisis. It’s time for the Senate to pass this monumental bill to make life better for Indigenous communities and for all Americans.

As a member of the Navajo tribe and the Tangle People Clan, as well as an elected leader representing Arizona’s 7th Senate district, I work day in, day out to make Arizona a safer and more just place for all. Arizona is home to 23 tribes[JK1] , 8 of which are in my district. However, our communities are being disproportionately harmed by climate change and the extreme weather this crisis is fueling.

New Mexico can lead In climate change mitigation with US Senate passing Build Back Better

Oped by NM Rep. Debbie Sariñana back from the U.N. Climate Conference In Glasgow

December 1, 2021

The reality is our world is on fire and our planet is dying. It is time for action.  That’s why when asked to go to COP26 with Elected Officials Protecting America (EOPA), as their Leadership Council Co-chair, I was elated.  As a newly retired teacher, I had the opportunity to be with people from all over the world to talk about the climate crisis firsthand.  As a member of our Appropriations and the Energy Committees, I left NM with concerns that our climate is getting hotter and drier. Our droughts and fires are more intense. Spring comes earlier, summer is extremely hot and our winters see more rain than snow. I knew that as a state our budgets are limited and that we’d need help turning the tide. We can’t do it all on our own. I was hoping to find answers and solutions at COP26.

The Build Back Better Act will bring needed jobs to make equity and health for all Americans in clean energy economy

November 19, 2021

Oped by Joe Baldacci, Maine State Senator

We live in a moment of profound challenge and opportunity.

The pandemic has taken the lives of more than 1,200 Mainers and over 750,000 Americans, and we are still living under the scourge of COVID-19. Thousands of people are unemployed while many struggle to keep up with the demands of work and family. But don’t despair. The House of Representatives just passed transformative legislation, the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) that addresses long-standing failures to support our families, communities and the environment—failures that predate the pandemic but were exacerbated and exposed by it. Now the Senate needs to vote on this historic legislation that will invest in working people, to make up the deficit of dignity and opportunity that we’ve been stuck in for far too long.

If we want to preserve the Jersey Shore, critics of offshore wind energy need to rethink their stance

November 30, 2021

Oped By Kaleem Shabazz, Vice President, Atlantic City Council and President of the Atlantic City Branch of the NAACP.

As our seaside communities continue to face the threats of climate change, preserving the Jersey Shore is an absolute necessity. Those precious 141 miles of Atlantic coastline are crucial to our state’s identity and economy.

In fact, New Jersey without the Shore would be unthinkable. That’s why I’m calling on critics of offshore wind energy to think again. They’re promoting the backward argument that proposed offshore wind projects threaten the Shore when the most significant threat comes from the devastation already occurring from climate change — destruction that clean, renewable offshore wind energy will help mitigate.

As these critics allege, the issue isn’t that the turbines might be seen from the shore. Wind turbines will look like — at most — tiny specks on the horizon. No, the real question is this: If New Jersey doesn’t take steps to combat climate change now, won’t flooding from rising sea levels and continually increasing severe weather ends the Shore’s beauty and value as we know it?

MA needs the Transportation Climate Initiative yearly funding for our health, justice and jobs

Oped by Emily Norton, Newton Ward 2 City Councilor

The latest IPCC report was a stark and terrifying reminder that climate change grinds on unabated – as if we needed any more reminders after this summer of heat waves, fires, drought and flooding, here in the United States and across the globe. Consider that this summer is the coolest today’s children will ever know.We know the solution to climate change requires reducing and then eliminating the burning of fossil fuels, as quickly as possible, from all sectors: buildings, transportation, land use, food production and more.

Northeastern states including Massachusetts are working together on one bold transportation solution in particular that is not well known or understood, but is worthy of support.

Transportation is the single-largest source of carbon emissions in the Commonwealth producing 43 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions. To get that down to zero will require incentivizing walking, cycling and public transportation, and when it is necessary to use a vehicle, we must move to electricity as a fuel instead of gasoline, natural gas, diesel or any other fossil fuel. Why? Because under state law every year our electric grid is required to be powered by increasing amounts of renewable energy. As we green our grid, we green the electric vehicles powered by it.

We need bold action. Gov. Newsom should declare a climate state of emergency for California

OPED BY SLO MAYOR HEIDI HARMON, First published in the TRIBUNE

Aug 22, 2021

The quality of the air one breathes shouldn’t depend on your zip code. As we gear up to return to post-pandemic life, we need to change the societal divisions COVID-19 highlighted. Environmental injustice, systemic racism and income disparities must be eradicated. While I’m grateful that my children and my parents survived the pandemic, I’m not sure they will get through the climate crisis.

It’s incredibly difficult to be a parent and think about the future where climate disasters might become the norm. Honestly, my 26-year-old is having an existential crisis with the knowledge that these hard times are only going to get worse if we don’t take substantial actions now. For all these reasons, I implore the governor to declare a climate state of emergency. We need bold action. We need to focus on the build-out of offshore wind as an essential part of our clean energy arsenal to combat this crisis.

I’m excited to see offshore wind coming to Morro Bay. These technological marvels could supply the state with all its electricity needs. Researchers with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently estimated California alone could realize up to 200,000 megawatts of energy off its shores. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that building just 10 gigawatts of offshore wind power in California would support thousands of jobs, supply competitively priced power for at least 3.5 million homes, and generate $20 billion in GDP by 2050.

Electric vehicles will put NJ on the road to better public health

Oped by State Rep. DR. HERB CONAWAY | AUGUST 26, 2021 |Published first in NJ Spotlight News

Dr. Herb Conaway

The health of our economy goes hand in hand with that of our community, and in the New Jersey Assembly and as the chairman of the Health and Senior Services Committee, I have fought for policies that will improve both public health and our economy. As the only member of the state Legislature with both a medical and a law degree, this has led me to focus on solutions that will benefit all of New Jersey’s hard-working families.

One of these solutions is investing in electric vehicles (EVs), buses and trucks. The transportation sector is our nation’s largest source of carbon pollution, which dirties our air and makes climate change worse. Bold investments in clean vehicles will improve public health, grow our economy and ensure an equitable future for all New Jerseyans.

The answer is blowing in the wind for NJ jobs and reliable energy

Oped by Caren Fitzpatrick, of Linwood, an Atlantic County Commissioner

July 3, 2021

As we gear up to return to post pandemic life, every day I recognize that we’re living inside a climate emergency. While the COVID-19 tragedy saw too many of our loved ones, friends and neighbors lose their lives, and still wraps its reminders around us, let us not forget the societal divisions it highlighted. Environmental justice must be eradicated, along with systemic racism and income disparities.

Right now, I’ve never been so anxious and hopeful at the same time. I’m anxious, because without immediate action, much of New Jersey’s coastline will be lost under a projected 8 feet of sea-level rise by the end of the century, with it the homes and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of our fellow neighbors. Every time storms ride on-top of elevated sea level rise and elevated tides it floods. Routine flooding near Atlantic City has increased from less than once a year between 1950 and 1960 to about eight times a year between 2007 and 2019. It’s gotten so bad we have to cancel school after the slightest storm with “flood days.”

Labor and landfills: Why I no longer buy fast fashion

July 8, 2021

Oped by  Isabelle Lockhart

I love clothes. I admit it without shame. Fashion has been a huge part of my identity, ever since I was a toddler insisting on choosing my own, painfully garish, outfits. Finding the perfect pair of jeans or the dress that falls exactly right gives me an unparalleled thrill. I draw my confidence from the fabric I swathe myself in. 

As a tween, large chain brands like Zara and Abercrombie were a magnet for me, with their attractive displays and perky sales associates. They had the trendy clothing beloved by myself and my peers in every color, pattern, size, and texture imaginable. Being in those store fronts felt like being in a luxury apartment. The air was thick with the cloying scent of perfume and the vibrations of a Lorde song playing just a little too loud. As I rifled through racks of skirts and graphic tees, I would occasionally lock eyes with an airbrushed model smirking at me from a glossy photo display. The presentation was seductive, and strategic. I would leave the stores smelling like a Fortune 500 CEO and feeling dazzled. It never occurred to me that I was being manipulated, or that I was not the only stakeholder in my shopping habits, even if it felt like the clothes and I were in a healthy, monogamous relationship. 

A silenced but persistent fight finally has a public platform

Oped by Haley Maher

June 28, 2021

The term “environmental justice” has gained popularity in political speech and policy in the past few years. However, environmental justice (EJ) is far from being a new issue. According to the current definition provided by the EPA, EJ is “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.” The movement stems from a culture of “environmental racism” in the United States. The main leaders of the movement belong to communities mostly made up of African-Americans, Latinos, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans, who are all highly underrepresented in the federal, and often state government. Without a change in unsustainable industry processes, companies will always find somewhere to pollute. Communities of color become a prime target due to their lack of political representation and economic power.

President Biden sees the climate crisis as a way to unite the world while building our economy with “jobs, jobs, jobs”

Oped by Alex Cornell du Houx, President of Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA), former State Representative (ME), and former Marine combat Veteran.

April 30, 2021

Along with President Joseph Biden’s  commitment to reducing climate pollution by 50 to 52 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, the Earth Day Climate Summit confirmed to the world that America is serious about the climate crisis and our committed partnerships. As the world’s largest carbon emitter, having China at the table is an important step to working together for the future of the planet.  Forty world leaders participated in the Summit, which clearly showed that tackling the climate crisis can unite the world and focus leaders on a common peaceful mission. 

President Biden has used his first one hundred days in office to deliver on his promises to prioritize jobs, environmental justice, clean energy investments, and climate solutions. His accomplishments will help tackle the climate crisis and accelerate our transition to a just clean energy economy. 

On Wednesday evening, President Biden delivered his first address to a joint session of Congress, making it clear that he means business when talking about climate change. Finally, we have a president who is committed to bold action in combating the climate crisis. Not relying on China to build wind turbines, advanced batteries, and electric cars strengthens our security and highlights the central theme of his agenda – “jobs, jobs, jobs.” More

Earth Day — a day to celebrate the home we all share and to be reminded of our moral responsibility to protect it

April 23, 2021

Oped by U.S. Representative Bobby Scottwho represents Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District and serves as chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor.

Today marks Earth Day, a day to celebrate the home we all share and to be reminded of our moral responsibility to protect it.

This Earth Day, I am encouraged by the promise of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan and I am committed to working to achieve it through legislation. The Jobs Plan is a once-in-a-century investment to create millions of good paying jobs and foster economic growth, while ensuring we protect the planet for ourselves and future generations.

Infrastructure in Hampton Roads and across the country has suffered from a systemic lack of investment. Our roads, bridges and water systems are crumbling. Our electric grid is vulnerable to catastrophic outages. Too many lack access to affordable, high-speed Internet, a safe school building and quality housing. The past year has led to job losses, threatened economic security and demonstrated that we have not done enough to help people find new pathways to good paying jobs. Our nation is falling behind and has, for too long, abdicated its responsibility to reduce emissions. The American Jobs Plan will help address all of these challenges. More.

New Jersey needs to sue corporations over emissions from oil and gas

April, 2021

Oped by Caren Fitzpatrick, of Linwood, is an Atlantic County Commissioner and Elected Officials to Protect America New Jersey Leadership Council member

When I heard the devastating stories of people impacted by the winter storm in Texas, I was reminded of New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy. Nine years later, we are still dealing with the consequences. We know firsthand that the path to recovery will be long, and we know that making a state more resilient against extreme weather events is expensive and comes at a massive cost to taxpayers.

Here in Atlantic County, and in other communities along the New Jersey coast, we know too well how vulnerable we are to climate change impacts like increasingly severe storms, rising seas and flooding. Like we saw in Texas with power outages and frozen pipes, these issues are a matter of practicality. Rising sea levels create higher tides and road closures due to flooding, which prevent children from getting to school and working families from getting to their jobs. These impacts — and their associated costs — are even more pronounced in low-income communities and communities of color, like the back bay area of Atlantic City and the Lakes Bay area of Egg Harbor Township. More

Creating a comprehensive town-wide public park and trail system

Oped by former Supervisor Sandra L. Frankel of Monroe County, Brighton, New York.

In the late 1980s, a small group of citizens formed an advocacy group to lobby local government on the need to protect the remaining open space in their mostly developed residential community adjacent to the region’s city.  They named their initiative Save Our Space (SOS). They did this because of environmental concerns and because of the need for healthy recreational outlets.

The Monroe County town of Brighton cradles the southeastern corner of the city of Rochester in upstate, western New York.   This 15.6 square mile, crescent-shaped urban suburb has a diverse population of approximately 36,000 people.  Five school districts serve portions of the town. Local and state roads and federal highways crisscross the town, with commercial districts and light industrial zones located near main highways.  The Supervisor is elected to a two-year term and serves as the CEO of the municipality and as chairperson and voting member of the town board. More.

We need civics back in schools


March 22, 2021

Oped by Rep. Paul Evans (OR) and Sen. Lew Frederick (OR)

We need dedicated civics education in Oregon.

Oregon lawmakers and citizens alike have long taken pride that our politics are done “the Oregon Way.” While there have always been and will be differences of opinion over policies, “the Oregon Way” aspires to respect our differences and still find common causes to solve problems and improve Oregonians’ lives.

These are charged political times, and the idea of bipartisan collaboration towards a shared goal may seem unattainable to some. However, our government and institutions continue to provide the vital framework that allows people to make real progress possible. Ours is a democratic republic of, by, and for the people and when the people engage, our potential is limitless. More.

Climate change doesn’t know borders, it requires global solutions that can start here, at home

March 11, 2021

Oped by Danielle I. A. Adams, Former North Carolina Soil & Water Conservation Supervisor, Elected Officials to Protect America National Leadership Council

Our planet is in peril, people are dying, and we as a nation are not prepared. We were not prepared to face this pandemic and we are not ready to face all of the crises that climate change is going to cause. We are not prepared to deal with the devastating effects of global infectious disease, natural disasters, increased severity of storms, flooding and food insecurity that the climate crisis will cause. We need action on a federal level or the climate crisis will decimate our communities, especially communities of color, in ways few have ever imagined.

I served for 12 years as a Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor in North Carolina and saw firsthand the impact environmental degradation has on communities and the uneven distribution of these struggles. I witnessed the impacts of drought, urban runoff, massive storms, heat island effects, and saw how unprepared we were to deal with these situations. We, as a state, had to adapt to protect people from these disasters. We had to balance the need of local farmers with urban residents. We had to balance real estate development while maintaining the integrity of our existing communities and our land. In a state already plagued by inequalities in access to clean water, healthy food, and quality health care these events emphasized how broken our system is. In a time of crisis those who were the most in need proved to be those that were the furthest from help. More.

A national clean car plan must be passed soon — Tomorrow won’t wait

March 11, 2021

Oped by Jenna Wadsworth, Vice-Chair of the Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors, represents 1.2 million people of Wake County, North Carolina.

Affluent Americans are kids in a candy shop, energized by a sugar rush when shopping for electric vehicles with a variety of high-end features to explore. Recently I did a ride-along in a brand new, customized Tesla with a 400-mile range. It was a smooth, quiet ride. The safety features would make anyone swoon. The dashboard display showed if we were approaching a red light and notified us when the stoplight turned green. If we were too close to a curb or another vehicle we were alerted. This model has full self-driving capabilities and can even be summoned to pick you up. Just imagine how this could transform security for transporting children to and from school, enhance accessibility and independence for senior citizens to get to their medical appointments and the grocery store without having to have a caregiver present, as well as prevent exhausted workers who are in danger of falling asleep during their commutes from becoming statistics. In the long-run, the vehicle will hold its value while costing less in repairs and maintenance than a vehicle with a combustion engine. Even better, Plug-in North Carolina estimates that operating costs of an EV such as this one have a price tag that’s 1/3 of running a standard gasoline vehicle over the same mileage range. 

Addressing climate change is a consumer option when purchasing a new vehicle, but let’s imagine a future where it is the only choice. What does that mean for communities like the ones we serve? Transportation currently accounts for nearly 1/3 of our country’s carbon output. More

The tree reforestation success of Brighton, New York

February, 2, 2021

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: Trees take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, which is necessary for human and animal life. Tree canopies provide shade from the sun, lowering temperatures and providing shelter.  More.

Uncertainty is Governor Newsom’s political chess game that he can’t win

February 2, 2021

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 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, as reported in the LA Times he wined and dined at the French Laundry restaurant, uncertain that he’s totally onboard with them. They question his electric vehicle policy. More

It’s time to speak up to prevent more air pollution in Delano and protect public health

Mayor of Delano, CA, Bryan Osorio

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. If our Kern County leaders approve a massive oil and gas drilling proposal, being reviewed Feb. 11 by the Planning Commission, their decision will lead to dangerous health implications for all Kern communities. More.

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