On the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day: Advocacy in a Pandemic

50 years ago, the idea of using the law, policy, and science to protect our environment and our communities was novel and untested. Today, CLF is once again leading in creating new models as we combat the climate crisis.

The lethal pandemic and its response are causing massive disruption to our economy and adding stress to most of our lives. But neither the human nor the economic costs of the virus are being borne equally. The communities hit first and worst by deadly air pollution, toxic chemical releases, climate threats, and other environmental harms are at the highest risk from both the virus itself and its economic fallout.

COVID-19 is laying bare the tragic and unjust consequences that follow when the federal government ignores science and fails to protect our families and our communities. In the absence of effective federal action, we have seen, too, that our state and regional leaders have been at the forefront in safeguarding the public throughout this crisis.

Even as we mourn losses among our friends, families, and neighbors, the Trump cabinet is cynically doubling down on its program to weaken public health and environmental protections at the behest of Big Oil and Big Gas.

This is why it is so essential that CLF advocates, volunteers, and supporters carry on and support our work during this unprecedented time. In the short term, we are:

  • going to court to stop federal agencies like EPA as they aggressively move to weaken environmental protections under cover of this national crisis;
  • stopping efforts to create new subsidies for fossil fuels and immunity for lawbreaking polluters in pandemic relief and recovery bills in Congress;
  • holding big polluters and legislators accountable as they try to use the current crisis to undo hard-won bans on single-use plastics and other toxics;
  • using our research and other resources to help guide decision-makers and local leaders in the marginalized communities bearing the brunt of this pandemic;
  • continuing to press state and regional officials to take the lead in protecting the health and future of communities abandoned by the Trump administration.

And, we will continue to tackle the challenges that may not be making headlines right now but are still front-and-center for all of our communities:

  • holding governments and corporations accountable for prioritizing profits and pollution over people and public health;
  • keeping our drinking water safe from toxic “forever” chemicals;
  • forcing the plastics industry to take responsibility for its role in our waste crisis;
  • pushing every New England state to enact and implement binding climate laws to slash carbon emissions and transition to a just and clean economy.

Your continued vigilance and support are vital to our efforts. If you are able, a gift today would help us respond to these immediate needs and provide the resources for us to carry on our long-term fights to prepare New England for the climate crisis, protect our natural treasures, and bolster the health of our communities. We also may call on you in the coming weeks to help us stop government and corporate actions that will harm our health and our environment, or to bring attention to new measures to make sure our post-COVID-19 world is one in which our communities don’t just survive but thrive.

While we must remain on watch to stop cynical attempts to benefit from this crisis, we also must acknowledge the sacrifices and hardships of so many as they strive to protect the common good: neighbors coming together to help each other, local leaders stepping up to care for our communities, and frontline workers who won’t give up until the last patient goes home.

Thank you for all that you do.

Before you go... CLF is working every day to create real, systemic change for New England’s environment. And we can’t solve these big problems without people like you. Will you be a part of this movement by considering a contribution today? If everyone reading our blog gave just $10, we’d have enough money to fund our legal teams for the next year.