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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Combating Climate Change: Why I will be on the National Mall on April 25 and why we all should.

Guest Post by Gerald Torres, Bryant Smith Chair in Law at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, former president of the Association of American Law Schools, and Chair of the Board of Directors of Earth Day Network.
Climate Change and its disparate impacts on vulnerable populations represent environmental injustice on global scale. You don’t have to go to the less developed world to see these impacts, you can see these consequences on marginalized communities here in the United States. These impacts can be directly on health with increased asthma rates, or on the economic prospects on industries where people of color are overrepresented.

It is urgent that we, as the justice community, engage our constituencies on the issue of climate change. The people in the groups we work with suffer disproportionately and are underrepresented as stakeholders in the policy debate. There are significant opportunities for green jobs that are unexportable but we need to keep people engaged to make sure that they benefit in this upcoming wave of unprecedented job creation. Nevertheless, these green jobs still won’t be on the table, nor can we avoid the consequences of climate change, if Congress doesn’t pass a fair, ambitious, and comprehensive climate bill.
Earth Day, 2010, the 40th Anniversary, is an ideal moment for us to engage our constituencies on this important issue. The first Earth Day in 1970 mobilized 20 million people across the U.S. and this action led to the first generation of federal environmental protections. This year, when the prospects of an acceptable climate bill hang in the balance, it is imperative that we demonstrate our recognition of climate change as a justice issue and mobilize our communities around this issue. Climate Change is a human rights issue and economic issue. We cannot afford inaction and we need to demonstrate our commitment.

If you are in the greater DC area, you and your community can take part in the largest climate demonstration ever on The National Mall on April 25 from 11 am to 7 pm. This action will feature leading voices from our communities and live music. If you are unable to make it, please sign this Petition and encourage your networks to do the same. If you have questions, you can contact Earth Day Network about how your organization can help spread the word and participate in Earth Day no matter where they are.

This is a call to action, get on your blogs, e-mail lists and social media to spread the word. I am, you can too. Join me.


Unknown said...

Those of us who cannot be on the mall on 4/25 should work to organize or join existing efforts in our own communities, and in particular to ensure that the under-representation of minorities in this issue is brought to the forefront. Frankly, I think there are a lot of non-minorities who don't realize that aspect of this issue.

ohcaptainmycaptain said...

Can't wait to see everyone there. Sounds like a great event for an even greater cause. ¡Viva la revoluciĆ³n verde!

Unknown said...

I am defenitly no where near DC but the importance of this topic touches all of us far and wide. No matter what color, socio-economic class, gender or sex, Keeping our home, our casita madre safe for our future generations if of paramount importance. Texans are bad about our carbon footprints but all should take action to do more to perserve the lands that bring us so much.

Besides you can't wear chanclas in the snow.

Unknown said...

As one who can remember the original Earth Day, I'm pleased to see the progress that has been made in getting people to engage with environmental and climate issues. We'll know we're successful when #earthday is on the Twitter top ten.

Unknown said...

"God and nature, Father and Mother of us all, feeling sure that they, and they only, could teach and strengthen heart and spirit for this life and the life to come.” Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

We have so much to teach and learn. I am honored to help promote the message of responsibility to everything and everyone on earth.