I support Joe Biden for president, and endorse his climate change leadership

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Photo by Gage Skidmore

No election in my lifetime has been more important than this one. Everything I care about, from the strength of our democracy to the challenges of addressing the greatest environmental threat in human history, is at stake. And so it is with enormous pride and pleasure that I worked with The League of Conservation Voters Victory Project to support Joe Biden for president, and endorse his climate change leadership in this video.

Joe and my father served in the U.S …


At a time when we face political inaction and a looming climate crisis, the significance of Earth Day’s 50th anniversary is more relevant than ever.

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It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been a half-century since the first Earth Day. I was almost fourteen years old on April 22, 1970, and like many kids, I spent the day picking up trash at my junior high school. I often reflect on my father’s vision for “an environmental teach-in” which would spark a global movement successful beyond his wildest dreams. “The purpose of Earth Day”, he said, “is to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy.”

Today, this vision could not be more important. Environmental activism is once again shaking the political establishment. People are rising up in their communities, churches, synagogues, and schools. The modern environmental movement has never felt more energized. And yet, our nation has not been this politically or socially divided since the 1960s. …


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A statue and an American flag are seen outside a home flooded by water coming from the breached dams upstream as the water continues to reach areas in the eastern part of the state on October 9, 2015, in Andrews, South Carolina. The state of South Carolina experienced record rainfall amounts causing severe flooding and officials expect the damage from the flooding waters to be in the billions of dollars. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

When Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez rejected the idea of a Presidential debate focused on climate change, his explanation was that he didn’t want a single-issue debate.

The flaw in that logic is that what we are talking about isn’t a single issue. Climate change is in fact many issues, from taxes to agriculture policy, from transportation infrastructure to land-use, from national security to public health, just to name a few. It affects every aspect of our government’s investment in America’s future and economy.

Today’s young climate advocates get it. As Garrett Blad, national press coordinator for the Sunrise Movement, put it, “Climate isn’t one issue, it’s every issue.” …


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Courtesy Getty Images

It’s striking to see how much the Republican Party has changed its tune on the environment. Both Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush showed leadership on the issue as presidents, and even more recently, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) called on the nation to address climate change.

Republican Consensus on Climate Change; Media Matters Action Network

Today, conservatives have largely abandoned environmental causes in a fog of climate change denial set in motion long ago by the fossil fuel industry. But we’re beginning to see some cracks, even from that very industry itself.

Recently, a group of CEOs from high-profile corporations — including some oil companies — joined forces with environmental groups to form the CEO Climate Dialogue, which called for U.S. policy that would get the nation on a path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent or more by 2050. …


You can help reduce climate change, save money, conserve energy and feed the hungry. All you need to do is stop wasting and tossing out so much food.

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Wasting food has been called the “world’s dumbest environmental problem.” Every year, the average family of four in the U.S. tosses roughly $2,000 in food; 30 to 40 percent of food produced in this country ends up discarded.

At dinner, our parents urged us to finish everything on our plates. Beyond the moral and economic reasons to do so, it turns out there’s a significant environmental one, too. …


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When government suppresses science, we lose

Facts matter a lot to me, never more so than in the era following the most recent presidential election in which “post-truth” is added to our lexicon. So in 2015 when the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL), where I served as executive secretary, voted 2–1 to prohibit me from speaking the words climate change or global warming during work hours, I was quick to correct those who blamed Gov. Scott Walker.

The national media had promptly made links between the situation in Wisconsin and the actions taken by Florida Gov. Rick Scott to prohibit his state’s employees from speaking about global warming. But the BCPL is a constitutionally created board, completely independent of other branches of state government and links between Gov. Scott’s order and Gov. Walker were not based in fact.


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When I step on the ground in Paris this month, it will be a sort of homecoming for me. It’s not that I am French, but that I am returning to a global community I left over 11 years ago. I will be re-joining thousands of business leaders, scholars, climate researchers, politicians, activists, and citizens concerned about finding policy solutions to reduce carbon pollution and man-made global warming.

I’m not there yet and I already feel a sense of excitement as I prepare to attend the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Not only do I have great expectations and hopes for what is decidedly a significant milestone in international cooperation, but also the conference lets me explore the twists and turns of my personal story and involvement with this vital global issue. …

About

Tia Nelson

Conservationst. Rational Thinker. Musical Foodie. Managing Director, Climate at Outrider Foundation. All views my own.

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