Looking at the 1,571 Superfund sites at least 945 of them are in areas that scientists have identified as at greater risk of floods, storm surge from major hurricanes, wildfires or sea level rise of 3 feet or more according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Click here for full report.
In an impressive political victory for climate policy advocates, New York recently enacted a comprehensive climate plan that aims to mostly eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. While accomplishing these goals is incredibly necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, it will require significant reforms to the energy sector and an overall shift to renewable energy. The Climate Action Council has two years to draft an action plan to determine the best policies and plans to enact this law. <Read more>
Since August 2018 a climate change movement known as “Fridays for Future” has grown significantly fast. It all started with the now 16-year old Swedish Greta Thunberg, who learned about the devastating effects of climate change in school. She felt so taken by what she had learned and thought that interventions on a global level need to happen sooner rather then later. Greta started to protest outside of the Swedish parliament every Friday during normal school hours arguing “why study for a future which may not be there.” The goal of her protests was to demand political leaders improve current climate policies for a sustainable future. Greta also argues “why spend a lot of effort to become educated, when our governments are not listening to the educated?”. Like the snowball effect, Greta’s protesting went from her protesting alone to large school “strikes” together with thousands of people across the world every Friday.
(Photo: Michael Campanella/The Guardian)
In mid-March 2019, the largest strike so far took place in more than 125 countries with at least 1.6 million participants, all demanding action against climate change. Recently, on May 24, another large school strike was organized with similar participation rates, as featured in The Washington Post. The group Youth Climate Strike US, is the lead youth climate action organization in the U.S. They are advocating for the New Green Deal, a stop to new construction of fossil fuel infrastructure, evidence-based policymaking in the government, a declaration of national emergency on climate change, comprehensive climate change education in primary schools, improved preservation of public lands and wildlife habitats and clean water actions.
(Photo: Justin Lane/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
The main goal of the school strikes is to urge political leaders globally to comply with the recommendations of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It’s stated in their latest report that in order to prevent and reverse the predicted devastating impacts of climate change on planet earth and human health, global CO2 emissions need to be cut by 45% by 2030. While political leaders are responsible for implementing sustainable policies, such as fulfilling the pledges they made in the Paris agreement for 2030, all people can do their part with small lifestyle changes as well. If we don’t act now, we put ourselves and all wildlife at risk for a mass extinction.
The devastating effects of climate change is not limited to melting icecaps and rising sea levels. Climate change has also caused an increased number and intensity of extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes, tornados and rainfall in the U.S. In the 2009 CHEJ publication “In the Eye of the Storm,” the impact of extreme weathers near or at Superfund sites is explored. Superfund sites are already toxic and put human health at risk. With the increased number of storms and flooding, toxins migrate in soil and water and pose a greater risk than originally, making the cleanup processes more difficult and costly too.
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I just spent the last three days in St. Louis, Missouri with the group, Just Moms STL to help them develop a plan to put pressure on the elected representatives with the power and ability to help move families away from a horrible situation and clean up the burning radioactive dumpsite. This Superfund site and emergency situation has been ignored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for decades. In brief the recent study done by the State Attorney General’s office said they community could experience in 3 to 6 months a Chernobyl like event exploding and releasing radioactive wastes throughout the area.
The leaders are women with children, jobs, homes to care for that are leading this fight. But then most of the groups CHEJ works with are led by women 80% at our last count. Yet there is so little recognition of the women in the environmental moment, a frustration that I’ve felt for decades. Yes, my friend and fellow Goldman Prize winner rightfully received recognition but she’s the exception and her work, which continues today is critical to addressing climate change.
Returning home from my work with Just Moms STL, checking my e-mails I came across the article that was written by Tracy Mann from Earth Island. It’s worth a read because it says everything I would have said. Strange it came when it did, fate maybe. Below is an excerpt but the entire article is worth the read.
“In fact, women organizing to protect natural resources and develop community resilience is not a new phenomenon. In the 1970s a group of peasant women in the India threw their arms around trees to prevent the destruction of forests in Northern India in an action that came to be known as the Chipko, or Treehugger Movement. Led by Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai, the Kenya-based Green Belt Movement mobilized rural women to plant trees to restore plundered forests, generate income and serve as an engine of empowerment. In the 1980s, American Lois Gibbs led the famous Love Canal protest in upstate New York to expose and rectify the toxic waste dump over which her town had been constructed. Her years-long struggle inspired her to organize women and people of color around the common interest of climate justice. Canada’s Tzeporah Berman has been on the frontlines of community-based movements against environmental threats since the 1990s when she was in the forefront of the Clayoquot Sound protests against the unconscionable clearcutting of temperate rainforest in Western Canada. More recently she has led acts of civil disobedience against the transnational pipeline and tar sands expansion.
The women mobilizing for September 29 may not yet be known as leaders or heroes, but the Global Women’s Climate Justice Day of Action is one more potent opportunity to tell their stories. It’s an opportunity for global women to join hands, just as my mother and sister and I did 45 years ago, and take their rightful place at the front of the parade, as essential catalysts to solutions to our greatest of all challenges.”
To read the full article click here:
There Can Be No Meaningful Action on Climate Change Without Women[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]