For Immediate Release

As Earth Day 2020 Moves Events Online, United Methodist Women Urges Members to Contact Elected Officials to Urge Them to Protect Vulnerable Communities

As Earth Day 2020 Moves Events Online, United Methodist Women Urges Members to Contact Elected Officials to Urge Them to Protect Vulnerable Communities

NEW YORK – The world continues to reel as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic. Calls for social distancing have impacted our ability to work, go to grocery stores, gather with friends and family and protest injustice. Events large and small have been cancelled, postponed or moved to virtual settings. This includes Earth Day 2020.

As the Earth Day Network and youth Climate Strike announced plans to transition Earth Day 2020 from in person events to online actions, United Methodist Women, an official Earth Day 2020  and Climate Strike movement partner, urged its members not to abandon the activism birthed by Earth Day but to kick outreach to elected officials into high gear. The group urged its members to contact their respective elected officials in the House of Representatives and the Senate to come together as they did 50 years ago in passing bipartisan legislation that protects the most vulnerable and the earth.

“The postponement of Earth Day has little bearing on the demands associated with the day,” said Elizabeth Chun Hye Lee, United Methodist Women Executive for Economic and Environmental Justice and Climate Justice Lead. “As women of faith, we have been pressing government leaders and companies to urgently transition our energy dependence from air and earth polluting fossil fuels to renewable energy, because of the dire climate consequences and disproportionate health devastation fossil fuels has on children and communities of color in the United States. Recent reports have now shown air pollution is linked to higher coronavirus hospitalizations and death rates, and that the coronavirus is infecting and killing African Americans, who statistically live in areas with greater air pollution, at disproportionately high rates.”

“Half of the states in the country are still allowing water and energy utility shutoffs, during a time when most of the population have been ordered to stay at home,” Lee said. “How do we wash our hands and stay safe if we have no water? How do our children access remote learning if they have no electricity or broadband? Our members from around the US have been reaching out to both chambers of Congress with this message: the next COVID-19 package must include a moratorium on utility shutoffs and be centered around principles of justice that include health, economic relief, worker prioritization, and finances that support transition to renewable energy.”

“If history is an indicator of the future, we know that working people and directly impacted communities are not the automatic beneficiaries of relief efforts,” Lee said. “When there are points of crisis, like the coronavirus pandemic, vulnerable communities are often left out. Our advocacy is needed to ensure bailouts are not directed to corporations, but to workers. The postponement of Earth Day doesn’t change our basic plea for fairness, equity and justice in matters pertaining to energy and to the preservation of life.”

Posted or updated: 4/8/2020 12:00:00 AM

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