Center for American Progress

Fight for Our Future: Activists Demand Action on Climate and Justice
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Fight for Our Future: Activists Demand Action on Climate and Justice

On Saturday, April 23, activists took to the streets of Washington, D.C., to demand that our leaders finally deliver on climate, care, jobs, and justice.

Scientists from around the world have sounded a terrifying alarm: Without immediate action, the world is set to blow by the needed pollution reduction benchmarks and lock in a future with more intense storms, deadly heat waves, and ecological collapse—now and for generations to come. People of color, those with disabilities, and low-income communities, in particular, will continue to be disproportionately burdened by the health and economic devastation caused by pollution and climate change.

But there is hope. We can still realize a pollution-free future powered by clean energy and built with union jobs, all centered on racial and economic justice. This will only be possible, however, if our leaders act now.

At the “Fight for Our Future” rally, timed with Earth Day 2022, the Center for American Progress spoke with advocates about their vision for a just, clean energy future and asked them what they are fighting for.

Answers have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Quotes from activists

Malik Smith (left) and Ryan Kirkpatrick (right) hold

Malik Smith (left) and Ryan Kirkpatrick (right)

I am here today because I think that with [congressional action], we are able to help the environment—and the Black and brown communities who are most affected. Malik Smith
I’m here today to maybe find hope: hope for a future. Ryan Kirkpatrick
Gregory Greer holds a

Gregory Greer

I’m worried that the ecosystem, on which all life depends, will be changing more than we can handle. It will change the amount of food we are able to grow, which will mean hunger for more people. It will mean conflict, because people will be trying to get away from situations that are too hot, or too wet, or too cold. We have the technology that will solve this problem, and therefore, we want to use it to stop the world from suffering. Gregory Greer
Diane Holmes wears a shirt with the words:

Diane Holmes

I’m here today to support the climate, care, jobs, and justice. Diane Holmes
Emily Donahue (left) holds a sign that reads:

Emily Donahoe (left) and Ashe Hennessy (right)

We care a lot about the climate. We think it’s really, really important to get everyone to rally together—all voices, all different perspectives—so that we can have a healthy planet for future generations. Emily Donahoe
We want our grandkids to see elephants and to have clean water and clean air. Ashe Hennessy
Yao Hemming (left) and Neville Hemming (right) hold signs during the

Yao Hemming (left) and Neville Hemming (right)

We’re here because we realize the climate is changing and that we need to not screw up the Earth for people here. We want to do our part: to say something, to join in and contribute what we can to make more people realize that [the climate crisis] is happening. Yao Hemming
I know we can all do stuff individually, and I think doing individual actions is important. But we need bigger changes, systemic changes. We need federal legislation [on climate]. Neville Hemming
Kathy Mikesell holds three signs that urge us to

Kathy Mikesell

I’m here today because I feel that people should do their part. I’m going to quote Alice Walker: ‘Activism is my rent for living on the planet. Kathy Mikesell
Kamari Smith (left) holds a sign picturing the planet Earth that reads:

Kamari Smith (left) and Emily White (right)

I have honestly been facing a lot of climate anxiety recently. We’re a couple, and we’re planning a future together, so I’m worried about the future for our kids. It’s really concerning to think about. Emily White
I don’t want to see [the planet] get destroyed. That’s why I’m here. Kamari Smith

Conclusion

The window for leaders to avert irreversible climate catastrophe is rapidly closing, and the people have made their voices heard: Congress must invest in a pollution-free future now. The 100 percent clean energy economy can be built with union jobs and address racial, economic, and environmental injustice—but only if our leaders act quickly to deliver.

PARADIS, LOUISIANA - AUGUST 31: In this aerial photo, an RV that is flipped over sits under an uprooted tree in an RV park after Hurricane Ida on August 31, 2021 in Paradis, Louisiana. Ida made landfall August 29 as a Category 4 storm southwest of New Orleans, causing widespread power outages, flooding and massive damage.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Congress Must Invest in Clean Energy

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Authors

Hannah Malus

Deputy Director, Energy and Environment Campaigns

Margaret Cooney

Campaign Manager

Caroline Alt

Content Strategy Coordinator

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