Happy Earth Day birthday to all those who, like me, are celebrating birthdays.
As our globe reckons with the fall out and recovery from COVID-19, we have immense opportunity and responsibility to work toward the values of the constitution that is the bedrock of our democratic society. Our values call for us to seek a just and equitable society.
This Earth Day, I invite everyone to join the movement. Together we are the power. We can be the seventh generation that ensures decisions onenergy, water and natural resources are sustainable for at least seven years into the future. And we can guide us through the growing pains of shedding our extractive practices that have damaged less affluent communities and the world as a whole.
We need a period of regeneration, a renaissance that draws from all walks of life to slow down the climate crisis that, day-by-day, draws more people into the frontlines via ecological collapse and natural disaster. Recent air quality days and reports about the impaired quality of the South Platte River speak for themselves for our trajectory. We have been here before with the hole in the ozone, and humanity showed up despite procrastination. We cannot wait anymore. In our fight for climate justice, we need more people to participate than ever before.
We have many facets to environmental policy to consider. We have space for everyone in this effort. We can do this, and this month, we have great options to become involved.
In April, the Colorado Legislature will provide hearings for bills that define environmental justice, monitor air polluters, restore soil and put climate metrics into law. There are others, but still, we need more and stronger bills. That is only possible through increased advocacy. Visit https://leg.colorado.gov/. Put your topics in the key words search bar and see what you find.
The state has created a webpage to bring information together for the ease of the community. There are air-and-water quality community engagement opportunities related to Suncor this month. Stand for climate justice and tell leaders that we want a society that regulates polluters, and that we value people — and their health — above everything else. Virtual testimony has made participation more accessible. Testify at a public hearing related to the health of residents in north Denver and across the region: https://cdphe.colorado.gov/cc-nd.
Join a board or commission and help shape government from the inside. We need people who will ensure that the current rally cries about environmental justice at all levels become laws. These boards and commissions hold a lot of power — and many admittedly have failed to protect the most vulnerable in our society, and want to grow and diversify in order to make better health-based democratic decisions. If they don’t want to transform to better serve the people, then they need your voice even more. This holds true at both the state and local level. Visit these pages to look for opportunities to serve:
Get involved with climate and conservation ballot efforts. Consider Waste No More, a waste ballot title; People’s Climate Campaign, an energy tax that makes the polluters pay; and Yes for Open Space, a land conservation effort.
I encourage everyone to give the initiatives a look, and if you agree, join in. Many hands make light work, and we need more people trained on this critical people-power process of citizen ballot initiatives. Our elected leaders influenced by profits-over-people have continually come up short with meeting the desires of the people for policy that lives up to our values of a just and equitable society — not half measures that continue to leave people out to dry.
Ean Thomas Tafoya is a climate and government activist. He can be reached at @BelieveEan on Twitter.
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