“Even after all this time…the Sun never says to the Earth, you owe me. Look what happens with a love like that. It lights up the whole sky.” -- Hafiz
This Earth Day I am reflecting on the fierce love I witness from all of you. Love for our planet, our children, all species, and those yet to come. Love beyond yourselves. Even after all this time working on climate issues and many years of standing up to Big Coal and Big Oil, I am fueled by your tenacity and your commitment to a sustainable and equitable future with prosperity for all.
Coming Together to Stop Pollution and Create Solutions
When Climate Solutions jumped in the coal fight nearly six years ago, I was frustrated that we still had to spend energy, time, and resources playing defense. But what I have experienced has been mind-blowing.
I have seen you come together like I have never seen before. I have seen you stand up for your communities using your creativity, your talent, your diplomacy, your ferocity and your true hearted commitment to knowing we can, we must, and we will solve the climate crisis. You have been relentless in attending meetings, writing letters, making calls, sending email messages, knocking on doors, talking to your neighbors, and coming to hearings. You have made time to keep us driving forward.
Over 170 countries have committed to sign the Paris Climate Change Agreement today, a tremendous achievement that signals a growing worldwide commitment to solve the climate crisis. Global investments in wind and solar projects were a record $329 billion worldwide last year, and are expected to keep growing. The power of the people is prevailing over the entrenched interests of coal and oil executives, who spend over $100 million a year to obstruct climate progress.
We are winning because of you.
To highlight just a few amazing heroes, thank you to the powerful and wise Cathy Sampson-Kruse and her daughter, Mariah Sampson. These leaders from the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla have helped give voice to the First Nation men and women threatened by the coal and oil proposals. They have spoken from their heart wisdom at hearings with elegance, brilliance, and force. Their voices and the people and animals they represent have given the issue a profound moral clarity and urgency.
I am in awe of 11-year-old Dae Dahlquist from the Columbia River Gorge, who attends nearly every coal and oil hearing to speak out for his generation. Dae has studied the speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, and his testimony brings the room to tears and to their feet in applause and gratitude for his courage, optimism, and good heart. He and his extraordinary mother, Brynn, have inspired me and so many others.
Finally, thank you to the extraordinary labor leader and father of three, Cager Clabaugh of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU and ILWU Local 4), for taking time out of his busy work and home life to show up at hearings and to speak loud and proud about how we can do better than building infrastructure for fossil fuels. In addition to his testimony, he and his colleagues gave us their heaters at the last oil hearing in January so that hundreds of people would have a warm space during a rally in freezing temperatures!
Looking Forward, Protecting Our Earth
Together we have fought off four coal export terminals and four oil proposals. We have strong coalitions and tremendous partners and allies in our communities. We are First Nations, communities of color, people of faith, nurses and doctors, teachers and grandparents, students and business owners, fishers and crabbers, farmers and ranchers, fire fighters and union members, mayors and council members, and so many others.
Our movement is strong and unstoppable. We are connected and committed in a way I have never seen before. We are all giving our best for the Commons – the Earth Commons, our human and ecosystem communities. The earth is our generous and extraordinary home, and we are acting in integrity to honor our home, to live in balance and to take care of each other.
I believe that collectively, the only way this truly works is with a just and equitable transition to a sustainable clean energy way of living, where we all are healthy and thriving through shared prosperity. Thank you for all the good you do for our world. I am so grateful.
May you enjoy the bounty and majesty of our home this Earth Day.