The rapid destruction of the natural world and the increasingly devastating effects of climate change leave us with an urgent call to act for restorative policies that would mitigate climate change’s effects.
As F/friends, we envision an ideal—an Earth restored in which humans live in harmony with the natural world, celebrating rather than ignoring the interdependence between us. It is not only humanity that contains the Light within each person; the natural world contains that Light as well, and as Quakers we have a duty to push Congress towards policies that sustain our Earth as we know it.
FCNL’s Advocacy for Climate Justice
Negotiations, conversations, and votes are occurring constantly on Capitol Hill that either perpetuate climate change or protect the environment. This Congress, a priority for FCNL is the Environmental Justice for All Act (S. 872/H.R. 5986). This legislation establishes requirements, advisory bodies, and programs to address the disparate impacts of climate change on BIPOC, indigenous, and low-income communities, and creates legal avenues for the affected to seek compensation.
As constituents, you all have a voice in advocating for Congress to pass laws that address these racial and economic disparities.
In addition, the legislation requires that federal agencies prepare climate impact reports. The bill has a long way to go before it becomes law, but persistent, long-term advocacy could eventually get this bill onto the president’s desk.
Environmental justice is the main focus of the 2021-22 Advocacy Corps cohort, and they are working hard to bolster support for the Environmental Justice for All Act. Some Advocacy Corps members have done this by organizing lobby visits— Madison Sings (Asheville, NC) trained 13 constituents to lobby Sen. Richard Burr (NC) on this bill this past Fall. Another organizer, Liana Irvine (Philadelphia, PA) published an article on this bill in her local paper.
Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, FCNL’s lead climate lobbyist, Clarence Edwards and Program Assistant Rosalie Ruetz are advocating for climate justice as well. The recent passage of the Build Back Better Act in the House included more than half a trillion dollars to address the climate crisis and boost clean energy.
Quaker Voices in Action
So far this year, our network has taken over 11,000 actions on climate justice! This is a feat worth celebrating. But we cannot relax in our advocacy efforts for even a moment.
It is particularly critical for Congress to hear about the connection between environmental and racial justice, and to hear the stories of those communities most directly impacted by the destructive effects of climate change. As constituents, you all have a voice in recognizing this intersectionality and advocating for Congress to pass laws that address these racial and economic disparities.
You can also raise your voice as the Senate continues deliberations on the Build Back Better Act. Before the Senate passes this bill, there is the potential for the inclusion of a carbon fee, which would starkly reduce carbon emissions. At the same time, however, the Senate could end up cutting every provision that mitigates climate change—write your lawmakers and urge them to retain these vital measures!
We want to know what you and your community are passionate about! To discuss climate justice or any other issue that you are advocating on, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.