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What’s next: take a breath and get to work

by Annie Leonard

January 20, 2021

The time for environmental justice, for racial justice, for a livable planet, and for a livable future is now.

© Tim Aubry / Greenpeace

Take a deep breath. The last four years have been tough, with continually escalating crises as we approached the end of former-President Trump’s term. But today, although there is an incredible amount of damage to undo, I’m hopeful, I’m relieved, and I’m ready. I hope you’re feeling the same — pride for the resistance you’ve waged, strength in the support you’ve provided for your community, inspiration and awe for all of the organizers and volunteers who have worked tirelessly for today (with a special shout out to Black women in Georgia), and hope for a better tomorrow.

Against great obstacles during this pandemic, people turned out in record numbers to pick new leaders who will care and govern for all of us. This gives Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and both the Senate and the House a clear mandate: the time for real action for people and planet is now. The time for environmental justice, for racial justice, for a livable planet and a livable future is now.

Today starts the work to make that happen. I want to share with you how Greenpeace intends to make those goals a reality. It will take all of us — you, me, our friends, families, and communities, but I believe that we will win.

Activists march to the steps of the U.S. Capitol and risk arrest as a coalition of Environmental, Racial Justice and Democracy groups prepare to be arrested. More than 300 activists were arrested calling out for campaign finance reform, voter rights and a law to overturn the Citizens United decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that gave constitutional protections of free speech to money contributed to political campaigns.

Strengthening Democracy: As a first order of business, Congress must pass legislation to ensure our democracy is strengthened. Rampant voter suppression and disenfranchisement was a key strategy in Trump’s failed bid to win re-election, and we need to close loopholes that shut people out of the process or give reckless wealthy corporations power over our lawmakers. A strong democracy is key to passing structural reforms that ensure that we combat climate change, forge international agreements to protect people and the environment, and achieve justice for communities who are suffering. That starts by passing H.R.1, the For the People Act.

Pass HR1: add your name

Thousands of people rally on the Washington Monument Grounds where President Trump continued his false narrative and incited the crowd to march on the Capitol Building.

Accountability and Healing: Simply put, the calls to move on, maintain the status quo, and forget about the events of 1/6/21 are dangerous and divisive. We’ll continue our work calling on the Senate to impeach and expel former-President Trump, holding him accountable for his white supremacist fueled attack on democracy and disqualifying him from future office.

Impeach and expel: add your name

In Alaska, part of a mountain gave way near Lamplugh Glacier, in Glacier Bay National Park, about 100 miles northwest of Juneau. Scientists say that landslides will most likely continue as warming temperatures cause more glacial melt. © Paul Swanstrom / Mountain Flying Services

Day 1 Executive Actions: With the power of the presidency, Joe Biden can take immediate steps to protect our planet and people. On the campaign trail he promised that he would “ban new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters.” Today is the day for him to make good on his promise. Stopping new coal, oil, and gas production on public lands and waters and supporting workers and communities in the transition to a renewable future will go a long way to tackling the climate crisis while protecting farmers, Indigenous Peoples, and vulnerable communities — Black, Brown, White, rural, urban, and working-class — in the Gulf South, Western states, Alaska, and across the country. This is the first action we’re calling for — but it won’t be the last.

Protect public lands: add your name

Senator Ed Markey, D-Mass, hosts a press conference calling for bold climate action in Congress and to blast Republicans for blocking real action on climate change. Members of the Sunrise Movement surround the podium.

A Green and Just Recovery: As the pandemic continues to rage through communities across the country, we need immediate relief to keep people housed, fed, and protected. Going back to normal is not an option. The past was not only unjust and inequitable, it was unstable. What we knew as ‘normal’ was a crisis.

The opportunity to move beyond fossil fuel racism and this devastating public health crisis is in front of us, and Joe Biden must take it.

For the past four years, we have cared for one another. Now we must come together to ensure our government cares for us, and to see that everyone — no matter their race or where they come from — has what they need to thrive.

I’m so glad you’re with us as we continue the fight.

With hope and resolve,
Annie Leonard

Annie Leonard

By Annie Leonard

Annie Leonard is the co-Executive Director of Greenpeace USA. Leonard began her career at Greenpeace in 1988 and has returned to help the organization inspire and mobilize millions of people to take action to create a more sustainable future together. She is based in San Francisco.

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