Tomorrow marks Katrina 15, a decade and a half of ongoing recovery from Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf South. And just as organizers were gathering to mourn, remember, rally and act together – Hurricane Laura slammed into the petrochemical hub West of New Orleans.
The profound level of environmental and climate in-justice that permeates this moment is hard to take. But community leaders from across the Gulf South have been planning for months to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Katrina.
In solidarity with our family recovering from Hurricane Laura which made landfall on the Louisiana central coast this week, we are shifting our #Katrina15 programming to center the frontlines impacted by Hurricane Laura, offer lessons learned from 15 years of ongoing recovery from Hurricane Katrina, and share disaster recovery resources and ways to stand in solidarity with communities in Louisiana and Texas. Register here to join us for an abbreviated virtual program, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020 at 10amCDT.
If you’re able, we encourage you to also make a donation to support frontline groups in Louisiana and on the Gulf coast who are rendering direct, mutual aid to impacted people and communities. Our friends have begun compiling a list and there should be more information on the call tomorrow at 10amCDT.
The quick plan is for people to gather at every congressional office and town square in America. Most of the events are after work – around 5 or 6 local time, and all of them are family friendly, peaceful, and solemn. More than 500 events are planned already, and more keep getting added to the map every hour.
This is our last chance to show Congress and Trump that the people won’t stand for corruption, high crimes, or abuse of power before the House votes. Let’s tell Congress to do their duty to impeach and remove Trump because nobody is above the law.
These are only a few recent examples of climate-fueled disasters around the world. Storms, droughts, fires, and floods will all get more extreme as our planet tips towards climate chaos. And climate disasters are already driving a global wave of migration that will only accelerate in the coming years
We must, of course, take bold action at the local, state and federal level to reduce emissions and institute a Green new Deal. But while those solutions are enacted we must pass humanitarian protections so climate refugees are guaranteed safe passage to new communities in the U.S where they can rebuild their lives.
Time and time again, communities of color, the poor, and those in the global south are hit first and worst by climate disasters. Instead of turning away climate refugees — who are often from countries and communities least responsible for the climate crisis,– Our elected officials must step up to meet these climate refugees’ needs.
Fortunately, lawmakers who see the strong connection between migration and the climate crisis have introduced S. 2565 and H.R. 4732 to support directly-impacted communities. If passed, these two pieces of legislation would both create a designated immigration status for climate-displaced persons and would establish a global climate resiliency fund to provide humanitarian aid and relocation services.
Storms, droughts and floods will only become more extreme as our planet tips towards climate chaos. And climate disasters are already driving a global wave of migration that will only accelerate in the coming years.
We must join together now to demand that Congress pass legislation that offers a humanitarian response to the growing crisis of mass climate displacement and provides relief to Bahamian hurricane survivors.
That’s the same motion that Lisa Murkowski used more than a year ago to whisk through several nominees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. At that time, no single Senator objected, and as a result we’ve had approvals of dozens of new gas pipelines and export terminals.
The damage that Andrew Wheeler could do as head of the EPA is even greater, and touches on a wide range of issues – from climate chaos, to poisoning farmworkers and contractors with chemicals, to poisoning whole communities (usually communities of color) with mercury pollution from power plants.
We need ever Senator who cares about the planet to vote against Wheeler this week. If we convince Senators this is a litmus-test on energy and environment, we’ll have a much better chance when it comes time to prosecute the Trump team for their corruption, collusion with polluters, and criminal neglect of our climate.
This has been a busy week for Congress, which means it’s been a busy week for activists. On Tuesday afternoon, Drew helped run a training session at the Friends of the Earth headquarters in Washington D.C. and prepared to take action at Andrew Wheeler’s confirmation hearing. At the training, six of us (including Drew) volunteered to risk arrest by speaking out during the hearing.
The stories to be read were compiled from Friends of the Earth members and public reports on the impacts of EPA policy. The goal was to highlight the injustice of Andrew Wheeler’s confirmation hearing while hundreds of people are impacted by the ongoing government shutdown. With so many people unable to pay their mortgages or afford critical medications, why is Congress prioritizing the confirmation of a puppet to the coal industry to lead the EPA?
We waited until Wheeler made his opening remarks and allowed him to introduce his family before standing up. I held a sign and Drew shouted out the story a Texas woman who lives near a coal fired power plant that Wheeler wants to allow to pollute more. Capitol Police ushered us quickly out into the hallway where more than a dozen allier were also chanting and holding up posters. Four more friends were ultimately placed under arrest for refusing to stop chanting or disburse from outside the hearing.
The rest of the crowd stood in the hallway outside of the hearing room with their posters in silence until all of us were escorted out. All six of us were released after paying a fine of fifty dollars.
Later that same night, we were back at it, attending a meeting with 350 to plan and train folks for an action the following morning at the office of Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer. The plan was for a large group to enter the office of Senator Schumer and read out a letter demanding that he sign on to the Green New Deal. Members of the group would also tell their own stories about how the climate change movement has affected their lives. As we exited the office we would sing protest songs while two floors above, four people would drop a banner over the side of a balcony to be viewed from below.
On the morning of the action, we met at Union Station and briefed a larger crowd that had not been able to attend the previous night’s training. Then we walked over to the Capitol to file through metal detectors and security checkpoints before making our way to Chuck Schumer’s office. The stories and testimony insider from impacted young people were powerful. And the songs and chants outside echoed through the hallways and marble lobby of the Hart office building. No arrests were made that day, since our banner team chose to comply with orders by Capitol Police to pull up the banner.
On the lower floor, the larger group continued to sing, and share stories of climate impacts, until we were warned to cease and desist. After a second warning, the whole group together then walked over to the park across the street from the capitol building, where reflections and feelings of hope were shared before one final song was sung.
It is, without a doubt, some of the most hateful, racist, Islamaphobic stuff I’ve ever seen.
You’ve probably never seen this ad, or heard of the far-right neoconservative nonprofit that paid for it. And that’s exactly how Secure America Now wanted it. They have no employees or volunteers, and their mailing address is a D.C. law firm. But group, had millions of dollars in funding. And they used those vast resources to run this hateful garbage on Facebook and Google with precise targeting to voters in swing states.
Chip in to support our ongoing work on this campaign. We’re planning an event with partners to deliver all the signatures to the AMNH next month and we need your support to fund travel, materials, and other logistical costs. We’ll have more info as the action plan develops.
The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City is one of the premier institutions for public understanding of science in America. It’s a place children come to learn and develop a sense of wonder about the natural world. And it’s a top scientific institution looking into how our planet and climate have worked for the last million years, and what that means for big issues like climate change.
So what in the world is climate-denying sponsor of Breitbart News, Steve Bannon, and Donald Trump — Rebekah Mercer — doing on the board?!
Clearly, Rebekah Mercer has no place on the board of one of our most famous science museums. But this isn’t just about kicking climate deniers out of our public institutions. It’s about making sure that billionaires can’t use their money to make climate denial and the politicians who support it (like Trump) seem legitimate. From her comfy position on the Board, Mercer can claim the attention, respect and even the tacit support of AMNH staff like Neil deGrasse Tyson.
But by standing together, we know we can win. Two years ago a lot of us engaged in a campaign to kick billionaire climate-denier David Koch off the board of the AMNH, and we won. Now is the time to do the same with Rebekah Mercer.
Sign here to kick climate denier Rebekah Mercer off the board at the American Museum of Natural History.