‘Why I’m Here’: Chapters Are Standing Up for What’s Right
In Chicago, Illinois on October 1, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a public hearing to allow comment on its proposed replacement for America’s Clean Power Plan, called the Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE).
At Climate Reality, we refer to ACE by a more-apt moniker: the Dirty Power Scam.
Here’s the reality: Backed by powerful fossil fuel companies, acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler (a former coal lobbyist) has proposed replacing America’s Clean Power Plan with this much, much weaker rule. This new rule would allow Big Polluters to keep poisoning our air and destroying our climate – regardless of what it means for everyday citizens or the future of our planet.
Members of our Chicago chapter were on hand at the hearing to speak out against ACE and to testify about the vital importance of strong, good-faith climate action. These friends, neighbors, and colleagues are fighting tooth-and-nail for practical climate solutions in communities from sea to shining sea. They’re on the front lines, making a real difference for our climate when it matters.
Read on to see selected parts of their testimony from the EPA hearing – and to discover what drives everyday people to step up and speak out at this critical moment for our movement!
“I’m here as a parent, a teacher and a citizen. I’m here for my still theoretical grandchildren, for the hundreds of children I’ve been privileged to teach. And for my own kids. … I’m here because, when [my children] Eli and Bella talk about the future, about having kids of their own, I get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. What will their world be like? And as much as I hate to think about what it will be like for my kids and potential grandkids, it will be far worse for many of my students and their families – people in more vulnerable situations who might not have air conditioning, or health insurance or other resources they need to endure what’s coming.”
(Climate activists gather for a rally before the EPA public hearing.)
“I’m here today to look you in the eye as I state that I find the Affordable Clean Energy proposal to be completely unacceptable. This plan asks us to ignore the compounding negative effects of a dirty industry on our health and environment. It represents the status quo at a time when we desperately need change and action. … As a mother, I want to know that we are moving as rapidly as possible to a clean, renewable energy future for our children and future generations — because we must and we can. As a business professional, I know it’s time to cut our losses and pave the prudent path forward to the inevitable future, a sustainable one that will yet be profitable. As a concerned citizen, I want to be able to trust my government to be protecting our health, safety, and security again.”
(Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan speaks at the pre-hearing rally.)
“Climate disruption is the moral issue of our time. It affects every living thing on Earth. Air respects no borders drawn by humans. It belongs to no one country or state, but to all life on Earth. It can’t be bought or sold, but it can be degraded and polluted – what we humans have been doing by burning fossil fuels. The problem is urgent. A generation has already passed since we’ve known about this. It will only get more costly the longer we delay the decarbonization of our energy economy. An ounce of prevention is surely worth a pound of cure.”
(Mary Griswold testifies at EPA ACE rule public meeting.)
“I am here because climate change is the number one risk we face globally today. … I believe that this risk, however, presents an exciting opportunity. Clean technology and renewable energy are economic engines for the country. … I am very grateful for the work the EPA has done over my adult life. It was not that long ago that we had to worry about the damage of acid rain on our cars and homes. I used to not want to eat fish out of the Great Lakes – let alone swim in them. It is easy to take for granted the improvements in air and water quality and the reduction of many types of pollution, but I know, it has been the result of laws and regulations brought forth by the EPA to protect human and environmental health. Now is not the time to go backwards. Unfortunately, the Affordable Clean Energy proposal does take us backwards.”
(Members of our Chicago chapter ready to speak out against the #DirtyPowerScam.)
“Three years ago, I traveled all the way to Denver to testify in favor of the Clean Power Plan, because there was no hearing here. That’s how much I care about cutting pollution and greenhouse gases, so my six grandchildren – Bryan, Evan, Sabrina, Abby, Emma, and Julie – and others of their generation could have a chance at a bright future. I find that’s what motivates many grandparents to care about climate change. We won’t be here for the worst of it, but the kids will, so this is for them. … The Clean Power Plan takes an important step toward cutting the gases that cause climate change. The Affordable Clean Energy proposal is affordable to no one but the companies that are fighting reality and a livable world for everyone, in order to eke out more profits. They are only delaying the inevitable. The world will move to clean energy. It makes economic sense, health sense, and quality-of-life sense.”
(Cynthia Linton testifies at EPA ACE rule public meeting.)
What You Can Do
Climate Reality has chapters across the United States that are fighting for clean energy and practical solutions to the climate crisis. These are parents, teachers, rabbis and pastors, doctors, and more – people just like you who want to make a difference for the future of our planet.
As one of our chapter chairs has said, “I’m excited to be working on climate in my own community. The movement may be worldwide, but real change is happening in our cities and our states, and it’s great to be a part of that.”