April 22 is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and we’d planned to make it a BIG one. Hundreds of organizations representing millions of people worldwide were planning a massive global strike.
The plan was awesome, and audacious: with the first day (April 22) focused on protest and climate history; the second day (April 23) focused on Stopping the Money Pipeline of investors, banks and insurers profiting off climate chaos; And the third day (April 24) as the biggest one day strike from school or work in global history.
Then, of course, came the pandemic. And we needed to keep each other safe by moving our action online and physical distancing. As the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic together, despite social distancing, we’re proud to support Californian youth climate activists, environmental justice organizers, and indigenous leaders taking action on climate change.
The #CAYouthVsBigOil campaign has been leading Power Up to Earth Day actions to virtually connect, share resources, and build POWER as we take on our state’s fossil fuel industry. Throughout April, young Californian climate activists are taking online actions urging California Governor Gavin Newsom to plan for a just transition away from fossil fuels toward an economy that protects workers and communities first.
Governor Newsom has established California as a global leader on health and safety protections for communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, he has the historic opportunity and obligation to extend this same leadership to the state’s ongoing fossil-fueled climate and health emergencies.
California remains one of the largest oil-producing states in the nation. Oil wells and refineries disproportionately impact communities of color and low-income communities in the middle of the state. Exposed to the toxic emissions from wells and refineries, frontline communities face high levels of asthma and respiratory illness—putting them at-risk of severe health complications from COVID-19. It has never been more clear: public health and climate justice go hand-in-hand.
We need the Governor and the State of California to lead by creating a 2,500-foot health-and-safety buffer zone between fossil fuel infrastructure and homes, schools and other sensitive sites; ending approval of new fossil fuel projects; and protecting the livelihoods of fossil fuel workers who have served all Californians at great personal risk. In addition, Gov. Newsom must ensure that recovery investments in the energy sector go towards a just transition to zero emissions, sustainable energy technologies and equitable programs that will support healthy communities free of pollution—not to fossil fuel production or infrastructure.
Already signed or connected with CA Youth v Big Oil? Click here to check out their social media toolkit and spread the word!