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.
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.
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.
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.
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,