Joe Biden is the only candidate who believes in science and will take the steps necessary to address the existential threat of climate change.
By Manny Becerra
They are disturbing images, but very real: smoke in the air blotting out the sun, water pipelines ripping through Native lands, and acidic pools of strip mining runoff percolating nearby, land used and abused just to eke out a few more dividends for shareholders thousands of miles away. This is the troubling reality that could extend to Nevada’s public lands if nothing changes in the White House.
From allowing coal lobbyists to strip clean air standards to appointing oil attorneys to lead the Bureau of Land Management, the Trump Administration has made a farce of our governmental agencies tasked with protecting the unique landscape of the Great Basin. It’s a travesty to turn natural resources over to a small group of people who profit from pilfering, viewing Nevada simply as a bombing site. It’s unconscionable to keep enabling those who accelerate the climate crisis and perpetuate environmental injustice.
Pollution impacts everyone, but not equally. In Nevada, previous environmental policy has permitted land, air and water to be stolen and ravaged. Like all policy created to enrich the pockets of a few, we must acknowledge that current policies removing land, air and water protections adversely impact marginalized communities, e.g. Black, Brown, Indigenous, Trans, women, and low-income people. Everyone has an equal right to access resources needed to flourish, regardless of background, status and identity. Traditional community outreach to frontline communities needs to be reimagined and inclusive; nothing about us, without us.
On the other hand, Joe Biden would work to conserve lands, protect and expand national monuments, and secure water rights for all, instead of private promotion of elite financial interests. A Biden-Harris administration will repair and strengthen America’s precious and finite resources, moving toward clean, renewable energy.
Our planet is warming at a runaway pace. Fires ravage forests, doubling-down on a worldwide pandemic, shutting down our education systems. We need robust public transit, ambitious energy efficiency and clean building standards in addition to funding to protect national forests. A Biden-Harris Administration will conserve and protect the wilderness and support all communities, transforming towns and cities with equitable, sustainable growth.
Marginalized communities are already experiencing the impacts of climate change and unjust policies, exacerbated by the current administration’s outright environmental disdain and inaction. The Biden-Harris White House will move ambitiously to generate clean electricity to achieve a pollution-free power sector by 2035. Creating millions of good paying jobs and supporting folks whose jobs currently rely on fossil fuels combats the existential threat of climate change while reducing carbon emissions. With the right leadership in the White House, this vision will be reality.
Too much is at stake in this election. This November, let’s remember our planet cannot and should not be a footnote in politicians’ or lobbyists’ climate strategy, which gives corporate interests an immoral advantage to pillage. Know that there is no environmental justice without intersectional justice.
The issues we face transcend the urban-rural and partisan divide. The land of the setting sun, Tiehm’s buckwheat, the bighorn sheep, Gold Butte, the wind blowing wild and free, the sage and the pine, the silvery rills, the sun coloring the western sky, the fawn and the doe, all are at stake in our home: this is what Nevada means. This November, a vote for Biden-Harris is a vote for Nevada and democracy—for all who live here.
Manny Becerra is a Reno-based community advocate and serves on the Sierra Club Toiyabe Chapter Executive Committee.
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