Green Groups Rally On Earth Day, Warn Fossil Fuels Imperil Life As We Know It

In-depth video by DC Media Group 4 min 57 sec

Washington DC—Over 40 green groups rallied on Earth Day at Freedom Plaza to celebrate the Earth’s natural beauty while calling on world and local leaders to get serious about ending the use of fossil fuel energy sources. The Saturday event saw hundreds join a in panorama of environmental and social justice messages on a common theme: any further delay in ending carbon based energy sources-oil, methane, and coal, and continued reliance on these energy sources—would lock in rising global heat levels and imperil the existence of all the future generations.

The Earth itself has already been speaking its own language for several decades by warning us about rising global heat levels. Its message has been been in terms of increasing regional droughts, burning forests, stronger and more potent storms, a die-off of species, warming and rising oceans, melting polar ice fields, and increasing global heat.

Scientists have translated the earth's language into mathematical terms and in the terms of physical impacts. But the environmentalists of Earth Day have translated the Earth's messages into the collective practical action that must be taken now.

Global leadership has largely put off Earth’s environmental warnings up to this point. The President’s approval of the Willow carbon energy extraction project in Alaska and his subsequent approval of the North Slope Liquid Natural Gas export terminal with a 800 mile methane pipeline, just this month, illustrates this fact. Global leadership inaction spells out a short-term memory mentality on climate but it has long-term consequences for the Earth and all of its inhabitants.

The Earth itself has a perfect natural memory for its own environment. It remembers every pound of carbon dioxide gas released by burning coal, methane and oil. This also means that additional carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere acts for up to 3 decades as a catalyst by refracting infrared light (heat) into the natural moisture of the atmosphere around it. Carbon dioxide compounds the climate emergency by adding more heat to the atmosphere which is transferred by rain into the oceans.

The NOAA tracks the levels of carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere and publishes quarterly reports on its levels and it is increasing and has increased to levels not seen since in 1000s of years—since before humans began a coal boom energy extraction in Europe during the 1850s

*Speakers Warn Of Dystopia By Inaction*

One after one speakers told of the worsening climate emergency while hundreds listened and independent media broadcasted ( speeches over social media. Some carried messages on sign boards while others wore special outfits. Many discussed the climate emergency among themselves, its impacts on them, and told of what they have come to accept: the Earth as we know it is dying and collectively we have less than a decade to end fossil energy dependence. To delay further is tantamount to a climate outcome worse on humanity than all the wars ever fought.

Speakers’ main points were: (1) There can be no climate solution without acknowledging and solving the human rights issues of those mostly severely impacted in the Black and Brown communities and that the climate emergency transcends political issues; (2) there can be no solution to the climate emergency if leaders continue to greenwash the climate movement by approving more methane, oil, and coal projects that cement more greenhouse gasses from additional fossil energy infrastructure; (3) the funding of climate creating infrastructure by the five major big banks must end; (4) initiatives must begin immediately because in less than 10 years it will most likely be too late.

*Inaction on Climate Is Environmental Racism*

Nee Nee Taylor, an organizer with Harriet's Wildest Dreams, a civil rights organization in Southeast Washington DC, connected the dots between the climate movement and institutional racism on Black and Brown people. Taylor said that Black and Brown people in Washington DC and across the country continue to be the most impacted by climate disasters because many Black and Brown communities are converted to sacrifice zones by fossil energy projects and local government policy. Taylor cited the health effects and the climate impacts on low lying rural and urban areas where poor communities are usually housed.

Taylor pointed out in Southeast DC “two trash transfer stations are in Black communities. There are no trash transfer stations in Dupont Circle where Mayor Bowser lives.” This scenario has also been playing out repeatedly in regions across the country, such as in St. James Parish, Louisiana, a Predominantly Black community also known as “Cancer Alley.” St. James Parish is notoriously connected to environmental racism where petrochemical companies are springing up ( and making Black residents sick with air and water pollution.

“Black people have always been the canary in the mine,” said Taylor. “Environmental racism is not a Democratic or Republican issue. It is an issue of human rights and equality. It is also a global issue."

Taylor called on the White-led climate justice movement to look closely at itself when calling out the banks, oil, gas, and coal corporations, and its financing of the climate machinery—that they must consider the inherent injustice of not recognizing the impacts of climate disasters on Black and Brown communities. “Until they recognize that Black lives matter, they will never be in a position to combat the climate disaster,” she said.

*Extinction Rebellion Washington DC Art Project—Methane Pipeline Cube*

Extinction Rebellion Washington DC Chapter Press SpokesPerson Jade Olson, called on DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and the DC Council to nix a plan by Washington Gas to invest $4.5 billion in its “Project Pipes” methane pipeline infrastructure investment and instead invest in expanding the electric energy grid. By replacing methane pipes the DC government is locking the city into many more decades of methane use, they said.

Extinction Rebellion Washington DC has embarked on a campaign ( to challenge the Washington Gas investment in its methane pipeline replacement project know as “Project Pipes.” On its website, Extinction Rebellion DC wrote, “Gas leaks are also a major environmental justice problem. Black, Indigenous and people of color are more exposed to the dangers of leaking gas pipes than white people. Gas utility companies also fix these leaks faster in white neighborhoods (”

Olsen described the methane pipeline cube art installment as taking months to build. It depicts a complex series of pipes interconnected with some open to the air. It demonstrates the futility of continuing to build onto an old design concept that is destined to fail.

*Global Impacts of the Climate Emergency*

Basiv Sen, Climate Policy Director at Institute for Policy Studies, spoke of the global climate impacts. He said that the U.S. was propagandizing the world with stories it was trying to fix the climate emergency while it was building more fossil energy projects. The two actions could not be reconciled.

“India and the South Asia subcontinent are going through an horrific unseasonable springtime heatwave for the second year,” he said. “This is part of the international impact of the continuation of the fossil fuel economy” He pointed out that the U.S. produces 25% of the global use of fossils and is addicted to carbon based energy sources.

*Elders Join Third Act to Fight The Financiers of Fossil Energy Projects*

Lawrence MacDonald and Lisa Finn of Third Act Virginia, an organization of elders fighting for democratic norms and advocates for climate justice joined the youth-led action on Earth Day because they believe they can learn from youth and help them with the climate emergency.

“The generation that was in power when climate went from being a problem to being an emergency has an obligation to support young people in demanding action and end the fossil fuel era,” said Mac Donald.

Finn, said that she would not have come out to Earth Day previously because did not know anyone involved. She joined Third Act Northern Virginia and it has given her a connection to the community and a sense of achievement. She is committed to helping other groups such as the youth in the community now because she can focus and work with others in Third Act on the same objectives.

“Forming a community on environmentalism is a big thing. We learn a lot from our youth because they have a lot to teach us,” she said.

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