The work is to believe that there is a chance until there is none. That is not naivety, not optimism, but a form of discipline to do everything we can until we can’t. This Earth Day, we’re embodying regeneration. Movements are sprouting and rewilding the planet: What are they? How can we lend our best selves to each other?
That the planet is alive is a sign that there is still time. You probably didn’t expect to hear this from us, at least not after report after report reminding us that it’s “now or never”. Which is why now, more than ever, we must remember how loud and relentless our efforts have been in the face of capitalism’s crushing force. (PS: to imagine a world beyond capitalism, injustice and collapse, check out this Regenerative Activism event series happening this month!)
The beginnings of Earth Day
“Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world.” – Dolores Huerta
The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970. It was also Lenin’s hundredth birthday. That the event’s date fell on the birthday of Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, who believed in the power of mass struggle and fought for a post-capitalist world, is probably a reminder that we need everyone on our side. We need to not be purists and bring more and more people into the movement.
Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, garnering support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, urban dwellers and farmers, business and labour leaders. Millions of people took to the streets of US cities and towns on 22 April 1970 in mass protests over the damage being done to the planet and its resources. By the end of 1970, the first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of other first of their kind environmental laws, including the National Environmental Education Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Clean Air Act. Two years later Congress passed the Clean Water Act. A year after that, Congress passed the Endangered Species Act. Earth Day went beyond the US in 1990.
Earth Day Today: “Invest In Our Planet”
(We’ve been unpacking investments extensively this month! Read all about why we need a nuanced discussion on green finance and ESGs. And more recently, our top picks for what regenerative retail and venture capital looks like)
The global organizer of Earth Day announced that the theme for Earth Day 2022 will be “Invest in Our Planet.” The goal of the campaign is to push aside the barriers erected by the ancient, dirty fossil fuel economy and their co-conspirators, old technologies of centuries past, and redirect attention to creating a 21st-century economy that brings back the health of our planet, protects our species and provides opportunities for all.
As Individual citizens, voters, investors, consumers and organisers of movements, we have the simple yet effective power to make our voices heard.
Shouldn't over 1,000 scientists risking arrest to save the planet be a bigger news story than Elon Musk trying to buy Twitter?
— Peter Kalmus (@ClimateHuman) April 14, 2022
This Earth Month, April, has seen a lot of overwhelming fights and calls to action. From the IPCC report released in the first week to the Scientist Rebellion more recently. Climate scientists are desperate: they’re crying, begging and getting arrested. They’re chaining themselves as part of global protests and risking arrest to demand climate action.
As UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in the press conference on Monday: “Investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure is moral and economic madness.” And yet, this is precisely what President Biden, most other world leaders, and major banks are doing. It’s no exaggeration to say that Chase and other banks are contributing to murder and neocide through their fossil fuel finance.
Peter Kalmus, one of the arrested scientists, wrote for Guardian (we strongly recommend reading the article in full):
“On Wednesday, I was arrested for locking myself to an entrance to the JP Morgan Chase building in downtown Los Angeles with colleagues and supporters. Our action in LA is part of an international campaign organized by a loosely knit group of concerned scientists called Scientist Rebellion, involving more than 1,200 scientists in 26 countries and supported by local climate groups. Our day of action follows the IPCC Working Group 3 report released Monday, which details the harrowing gap between where society is heading and where we need to go. Our movement is growing fast. We chose JP Morgan Chase because out of all the investment banks in the world, JP Morgan Chase funds the most new fossil fuel projects. ”
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Amazon Workers Win Big
Worker control over production is environmentalism. Their fates were intertwined. As Mazzocchi said in an Earth Day speech to the OCAW and broadcast on the Today show in 1970, the environmental movement needs the labour movement and vice versa.
“You can’t be concerned about the environment unless you’re concerned about the industrial environment because the two are inseparable. After all, we create the pollutants. . . . We’ve got to control the plant environment and we’ve got to tell the truth about what we’re doing to the plant environment.”
It’s been a few days since Amazon Workers in Staten Island New York won the vote to unionise. This comes after the defeat at Alabama last year. It’s amazing that the workers at Staten Island were able to help finish what the workers at Alabama started. And there should be more to come.
The unionisation of Amazon at SI (ALU) is no small feat. Amazon is one of the biggest companies in the world. Having it unionised significantly increases the leverage of the entire working class.
There’s plenty of great literature explaining the success of ALU. Here’s a piece that gets into how the workers treated their employer’s union-busting tactics into opportunities to build more workers’ support. We are lucky to have an amazing case study to learn from. Power to the ALU workers. They deserve it. (Support them here.)
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Fashion Revolution Week
The fashion world isn’t excluded from Earth Week – it is considered one of the most polluting industries, which for several years has been trying to change direction and be more active towards environmental issues. It’s a destructive industry that’s taking a serious toll on our non-renewables. It hurts the people that work in it, too.
Fashion Revolution week happens every year in the week surrounding the 24th of April. This date is the anniversary of the 2013 Rana Plaza Collapse. Rana Plaza, a building in Bangladesh, housed a number of garment factories, employing around 5,000 people. The people in this building were manufacturing clothing for many of the biggest global fashion brands. More than 1,100 people – mostly young women – died in the collapse and another 2,500 were injured, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history.
No one should die for fashion.
Join the Fashion Revolution and get involved with your local movement in the upcoming Fashion Revolution Week from 18th – 24th April, 2022.
FEATURED IMAGE: via Pexels | IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Standing person in white sweater on plant field holding a perfectly round mirror
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