For Immediate Release
Clean Power Plan: It’s About People and Our Planet, Not Politics
Families and communities are already suffering the devastating effects of climate change. It’s time to clean up our act.
WASHINGTON - More than 80 community leaders from throughout the country gathered outside the U.S. Court of Appeals and described the impact of climate change on their lives as hearings started Tuesday in a lawsuit brought by 27 states to stop President Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
Their message: Climate change isn’t politics; climate change is a life-and-death issue facing families and communities right now – affecting the legacy we leave future generations.
"This case is about whether ordinary people like you and me, and like the families who have come out to D.C. to tell their stories, have the right to put our lives and our futures before the profits of fossil fuel corporations and their investors. We think we do,” said Ben Ishibashi, climate justice organizer for People’s Action Institute.
Families are suffering from the climate crisis right now. Low-income communities and people of color are especially affected by carbon polluting factories and manufacturing. Speakers called for clean power, clean air and clean jobs. They spoke of losing their homes, their health and loved ones.
“Between the chemical spill in our water and the bad air, my adult daughter will no longer visit us,” said Rev. Rose Edington, of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Charleston. West Virginia. “After about a day here, her asthma acts up.”
Adding to her heartbreak, that also means Edington doesn’t see her 13-month-old granddaughter as much as she weuld like. “ I am angry that our environment has deteriorated so badly and that there are those in power who want to make it worse instead of better,” said Edington.
For Joe Mangino of Beach Haven West, in Manahawkin, New Jersey, climate change took the form of Superstorm Sandy four years ago – a nightmare that hasn’t ended for him or thousands of his neighbors.
“Flood insurance companies blatantly ripped people off then turned their backs on them while reaping hundreds of millions of dollars in profits,” said Mangino. “We are paying the price of corporate greed while some of our elected officials are being paid off by corporations to turn a blind eye to what is happening."
“We need to acknowledge that climate change is here and prepare for it,” said Mangino. “The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is forbidden to use the words climate change. Basically we’re doing nothing about it."
After the rally outside the appeals court, the community leaders took their stories and pleas to the offices of the National Mining Association and National Manufacturing Association, which are pressuring politicians to oppose the Clean Power Plan.
Community leaders continued on to visit members of Congress, calling for a racially and economically just solution to the climate crisis.
“We fight this fight for our children,” said Olga Bautista, a mom and activist from Chicago’s Southeast Side, where stored tar sand from a nearby BP refinery wafts onto children’s toys and clothes.
People's Action Institute is a national research and policy organization working for economic, racial, gender and climate justice.