PSARA: Environmental Justice and Full Employment
“CLIMATE CHANGE is a wake up call spoken in the language of fires, floods, storms and droughts – telling us that we need an entirely new economic model-one based on equity, sustainability and good jobs.”
According to the World Health Organization, climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. Between 1970 and 2004, there were over 140,000 deaths annually attributable to the use of fossil fuels.
Today the polar ice is melting; seas are rising. We are experiencing more extreme weather like Hurricane Sandy and the hurricane that slammed into the Philippines in November, 2013.
Scientists studying tropical diseases maintain that diseases like malaria and dengue fever will become more widespread as mosquitoes and other pests move north.
Food production is expected to decrease by 2% every decade.
The oceans are becoming more acidified. Plankton, the microscopic organisms at the base of the food chain, is rapidly moving toward the poles and decreasing in number. These organisms make half of the oxygen we breathe.
These facts are met with business as usual by the fossil fuel industry and many government leaders. Meanwhile poor and working people are suffering from the damage caused by climate change.
While the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere passed 400 parts per million in May 2013, fossil fuel corporations are planning to dig and transport more coal, and destroy more land and water by fracking more oil and gas. They tell us we stand in the way of progress when we object.
The fossil fuel corporations work hard to keep us divided with the promise of jobs for construction, mining and refining.
We do need jobs that pay living wages and allow families to live with dignity. We need to create and expand work that promotes healthy communities and a healthy planet. Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action (PSARA) will fight to ensure there is a just transition for those workers whose jobs are replaced by a new energy economy.
The refusal of Congress to tax billionaires while cutting social services and other programs critical to survival of the planet has to end. Income inequality today is worse than at any time in history. PSARA demands robust programs to respond to the threat of climate disaster and the destruction of lives and hope created by extreme income inequality.
We need nothing less than a large marshalling of the country’s resources to put people to work repairing our crumbling infrastructure. We need to be building the new systems and services necessary to survive the disastrous effects that have already been set in motion by the loading of too much CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere.
PSARA calls for significant government spending to help save the planet. We need smart electrical grids carrying renewable energy. We need jobs to build mass transit and we need energy-efficient affordable housing along those transit lines. We also need major investments in the old infrastructure to cope with the coming storms.
This is no time for austerity – it is time for massive government investment.