Pages tagged "media press clips"

As Global Leaders Stall, Business Can Lead the Way

The Huffington Post

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By Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins:

As world leaders met in Rio last week for the UN conference on sustainable development, they drew widespread criticism. Leaders from developing countries argued that the wealthiest countries aren't doing enough to fund environmental protection. And activists argued that agreements forged in Rio are too weak and watered down to create real change. 

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It’s summertime, and energy is on our minds

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins:

As the days get longer, more and more Americans are cranking up their air conditioners and turning on their fans. Meanwhile, their energy costs continue to climb -- and they're feeling it. In a poll last week nearly 8 out of 10 people said saving on energy costs was deeply important to them -- more important than issues like the federal deficit. 

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Ellis-Lamkins: Mercury Safeguards Are A Necessary Regulation

Roll Call

Regulation. It’s become a dirty word in Washington, D.C. Why? In large part because industry fears the kind of regulations that are designed to stop the dumping of dangerous chemicals into our air and water. It may not be popular, but I’m going to say it: We need regulations. Regulations are what keep drunken drivers off our roads. They’re what keep cigarettes out of our kids’ mouths. They’re the safety net that ensures the recklessness of one individual or industry doesn’t saddle the rest of us with disease and injury. That’s exactly the kind of safety net that the Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards would provide. The goal of these standards is to keep dangerous chemicals out of the air that we breathe and the water that we drink. Pretty basic.
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Wisconsin and America’s Identity Crisis

Huffington Post

Cross-posted from HuffPo
Today, in Wisconsin and all across America, folks are feeling frustrated and disheartened. It’s hard to know that even after delivering blow after blow to working families, Governor Scott Walker will remain in office. But we need to remember something: Last night’s recall vote wasn’t the finish line. It was the beginning. Nearly one million people signed the petition to recall the governor—a staggering number. The thousands of volunteers who fought back against Walker’s attacks included people who’d never volunteered for a campaign. People who never thought they’d get involved. They found themselves phone banking, collecting signatures, and knocking on doors. Because what’s happening hits home in a way it never has before. Scott Walker hasn’t just waged a war on worker’s rights; he’s waged a war on environmental protections. During his term, enforcement of basic state laws protecting water and air has ground nearly to a halt. He appears to be doing everything he can to choke the state’s emerging wind energy industry. Municipal clean water standards have been gutted. He’s even tried to dry up funds for recycling programs. The thing is, sectors like water infrastructure, wind energy, and recycling do more than protect the environment. They put people to work. By rolling back environmental safeguards and stifling green industry, Walker has delivered a one-two punch to his state’s residents. Families in Wisconsin, like families all over America, are feeling the pinch of the shrinking middle class and growing economic disparity. They’re feeling it as they try to make rent with a paycheck that gets smaller every day. They’re feeling it as they face longer workdays and fewer benefits. They’re feeling it as they watch their neighbor or friend wake up to another day without a job to go to. They’re feeling it as they watch their grandchild struggle to breathe in polluted air. It’s no accident that attacks on working families and attacks on the environment are coming from the same place. And it’s not likely that we will move on and simply forget about Wisconsin. I think we’ll look back months and years from now and see what happened in Wisconsin as an early symptom of America’s identity crisis. There’s a struggle going on here, and it’s not isolated to the Badger State. We may not be reading headlines about it yet, but in every state in America, a similar fight is brewing—the fight over just exactly what kind of country we want to be. Are we going to be a country that balances its budget on the backs of struggling families? Gives handouts to the world’s richest oil companies, while stripping benefits for teachers and firefighters? Are we going to be a country that puts polluter profits above protecting our kids from asthma? Will we be a country that grants basic rights—including the right to marry the person you love—to all of our citizens, or only to a powerful few? Let’s not be fooled into thinking that the mobilization we saw in Wisconsin was an accident or a sideshow. Let’s not think for a minute that last night’s vote was an answer to the fundamental questions we face about where America is going and who we want to become. We’re in the fight of our lives. And the outcome could not be more important—it will determine whether or not our children have the chance to live healthy, peaceful, productive lives. Whether America prospers, or falls behind. This struggle isn’t going away, it’s getting fiercer, and it will continue into November and beyond.

How Long Will We Let Them Poison Our Kids?

Huffington Post

The sun is shining here in Oakland, and you can feel summer in the air. In my neighborhood, and all across America, kids are anxiously awaiting the final ring of the school bell. But not every child is looking forward to summer. Some will be trapped indoors during the next few months, unable to play outside because of their asthma attacks. Like many kids, I had asthma growing up so I know how hard it is to be stuck inside while everyone else plays. Too many kids in our country suffer from asthma. It's the number one chronic childhood disease in our country, and the leading cause of missed school days. It's also one of the top reasons children end up in the hospital. And in many cases this illness and others like it could be avoided by having cleaner air and water that's free of pollutants and toxins. But this disease doesn't reach everyone; in fact people of color are hit the hardest. More than half of all African Americans live in neighborhoods where the air quality doesn't meet federal standards. And one in six African American kids has asthma, compared with one in ten nationwide. That's a rate that should be unacceptable in any nation as wealthy and technologically advanced as ours. The saddest part is that these kids don't have to suffer. We could prevent 130,000 asthma attacks just by cleaning up one of the dirtiest sources of pollution: coal-fired power plants. But it's not just asthma we have to worry about. Coal plants fill our air with chemicals that lead to heart disease, cancer, birth defects, and early death. The Environmental Protection Agency is trying to keep us safe from these chemicals; late last year, they issued long-overdue Mercury and Air Toxics Standards to clean up the worst pollution from coal plants, including toxic mercury. Coal plants pump about 48 tons of mercury into our air each year. To put things in perspective, just one-seventieth of a teaspoon of mercury is enough to contaminate an entire lake, making the fish in it too dangerous to eat. When mercury gets into the water, it ends up in our food chain, and then our bodies. Pregnant women pass it along to their babies, where it interferes with their development and causes brain damage.

Many families could be spared this pain if we simply told polluters that they would no longer be allowed to dump mercury into our air and water. And the EPA estimates that cleaning up coal plants will preventroughly 11,000 premature deaths each year. Just one example is seven-year-old Heavynlynn from Kansas City, who is growing up near a coal plant that is filling the air in her community with poisonous toxins. There are thousands of other stories just like hers -- that illustrate the true cost if we delay the implementation of these critical standards. But sadly, corporate polluters and their allies in Congress -- like Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) -- are trying to roll back the EPA's common sense safeguards. Why? So coal executives can make more money. That's right: The coal industry thinks it's okay to saddle school children with debilitating asthma and give babies birth defects -- as long as they can make a few more dollars in the process. How long are we going to let them poison our kids? It's not just our health that would benefit from these EPA standards. Cleaning up pollution from coal plants alone would create an estimated 46,000 new jobs. That's 46,000 of our neighbors and friends who would be able to wake up each day and be proud to go to work. Forty-six thousand people bringing home paychecks to support their families. If that's not enough, consider this: The standards will save us money. For every dollar spent to cut pollution, we would get back $5 to $13 in health benefits. Right now, I'm thinking about all those little kids -- especially in poor neighborhoods -- who want to play outside this summer, but can't, because the air is too dirty or their lungs are too weak. And I just can't make sense of a country that would trade children's lives for corporate profits. That's why Green For All has joined with NAACP to send a clear message to our leaders in Congress: They can stand on the side of polluter profits, or they can stand on the side of American kids, by protecting the EPA's mercury safeguards. You can stand on the side of kids, too. Follow Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins on Twitter:
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States Ignore Minorities in Climate-Related Disaster Plans

New America Media

Minority populations across the south and southwest are especially vulnerable to climate change, according to a new report put out by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Local and state governments, it also found, are failing to integrate such concerns into their climate disaster plans. “Only three states (Arizona, Arkansas, New Mexico) have climate change plans,” noted the study’s co-author, Nadia Siddiqui, during a teleconference Monday discussing the findings. She added researchers found “no evidence of planning for racially and ethnically diverse populations in any state” included in the study.
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Bet on a Brown and Green America


(Special to The Root) -- The face of America is changing dramatically. New census data shows that for the first time in our history, babies being delivered in hospitals all over the country are predominantly African American, Latino, Asian and other minorities. It's not just our babies who are growing more diverse. It's our neighborhoods, our communities and our workforce. In some of America's largest cities, a new majority has already emerged -- one made up of people of color. The faces of voters are changing, too. In the 2010 election, the percentage of Hispanic voters reached a record high. Meanwhile, census projections show that in just 30 years, nonwhites will represent a larger block of America's total population than whites. It's true that we have work to do before our voting power matches our numbers -- far too many people of color are still systematically locked out of our democracy by arbitrary voter ID laws, criminal disenfranchisement and racial gerrymandering. But politicians who fail to notice that America is changing -- fast -- may soon find themselves in trouble. Ultimately the leaders who thrive in the 21st century, and the ones who continue to hold office, will be those who respond to the needs of our increasingly diverse citizens. Elected officials will have to pay more attention to the issues pressing African-American, Latino, Asian and Native American families. And the nation's energy sector is among the most important issues. Why? Because many people of color bear the brunt of pollution from outdated power plants and toxic industries. A staggering one in six African-American children suffers from asthma, compared with one in 10 nationwide. And of the 8 million people living within three miles of polluting coal-fired power plants, a disproportionate number are people of color. Energy is not just how we power our lives; it's a public health issue. For more on clean energy and what we can do to improve our environment, visit
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Standing up for clean energy against the lies

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green for All, says the clean energy community must repudiate untruths in the face of opposing campaigns spreading lies. Ellis-Lamkins encourages people to ask questions about why the opposition would have a problem with clean energy, especially since clean energy was a core principle of John McCain’s campaign for the presidency.
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‘7 Billion’ Music Video Showcases Women’s Role in Improving Communities—and Seeks to Inspire Change

The nonprofit Green For All has premiered a new music video that calls on people from all over the world to join together to build a brighter future for their families and communities. Harkening back to the activist roots of Mother’s Day, the video focuses on women who have inspired change, and calls on a new generation of leaders to continue their work. The song, titled “7 billion”, won Green For All’s 2012 Dream Reborn Music Contest and was written and performed by two young Atlanta-based artists, Invest and Silent C. Read the full story...

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins: This Mother's Day, Let's Be '7 Billion Strong'


This Mother's Day is a very special one for me. I'm expecting my first child in just a few weeks. It's a time filled with anticipation and hope. But most of all, this new addition to my family and my life has given even more urgency to our effort to create an inclusive green economy. It's pretty hard not to want to leave behind a healthier, greener, more prosperous world when it's your own child who will be living in it. Maybe that's why women have contributed so much over the decades to movements for justice and peace.