The Fiscal Cliff: What’s at Stake for Communities of Color in the Budget Debate?
Growing the green economy is an important path toward economic recovery for all Americans – but particularly for communities of color and those most affected by the economic downturn. Federal investment in green infrastructure; job training for careers in clean industries; and, enforcement in environmental protection for neighborhoods overburdened by pollution, feed two birds with one hand – create jobs and build clean, healthy communities. Instead of cutting vital programs that are essential to growing our economy - especially for the nation's most vulnerable - Congress should enact a balanced budget that calls for corporations and wealthy Americans to pay their fair share; prioritizes job creation; and opposes cuts to programs that protect clean air and water and a sustainable energy future.
- Speak Out About What’s at Stake – Let your local media know how the proposed cuts would affect local job training programs and infrastructure projects. Share success stories about workers who have benefitted from job training programs or green businesses who have hired workers through these programs. Download background document here. Download talking points here.
- Spread the Word – Educate your network regarding the impact of the “fiscal cliff”. Congress should enact a budget deal that supports vital programs that protect clean air and water and that build a sustainable energy future. For information on proposed cuts to conservation and environment programs, click here.
- Join the National Skills Coalition in its “Save Our Skills Campaign,” which includes state-level resources on the impact of sequestration on workforce programs, and broader actions to protect the Workforce Investment Act and other key workforce development programs.
- Hold your Congressional Leaders Accountable. Congress should vote YES on:
- Job creation strategies that invest in infrastructure, boost renewable energy production, and trains workers for jobs in the green economy.
- Ending the Bush tax cuts for families earning more than $250,000 annually. Ending the Bush tax cuts for families earning over $250,000 would generate close to one trillion dollars. This revenue should be reinvested back into our economy to fix roads, bridges, sewer systems and other vital infrastructure.
Invest in Communities Hurting the Most. Invest in a Sustainable CA Economy.
Two critical climate bills sit waiting for Governor Brown’s signature. Time is running out and opposition is strong. We need you to take action! Tell the governor to sign SB 535 and AB 1532.
California’s Cap and Trade program is expected to generate billions of dollars, charging polluters for the pollution they create. Shouldn’t this money be used to reduce green house gas emissions and protect communities most impacted by pollution and vulnerable to climate change impacts? Shouldn’t this money be spent to create quality jobs and business opportunities and build a more inclusive, sustainable economy?
If passed, that’s exactly what these bills will do.
SB 535 requires that 25% of the money generated by Cap and Trade go to projects that benefit disadvantaged communities and that 10% go to projects in those communities.
AB 1532 establishes an inclusive, transparent and accountable process for how to spend Cap and Trade revenue. It requires the state to create a 3-year plan for how to use the money to maximize economic, environmental and public health benefits for Californians.
Tell the Governor to sign these bills today! Help us reduce pollution while growing a clean energy economy that produces quality jobs for the communities that need them the most.
Protect the EPA Mercury and Air Toxics Standards
Air pollution from coal-fired power plants is killing our kids. We’re suffering from preventable heart disease and asthma attacks. And we’re spending billions of dollars on hospital visits and missed days at work and school. Polluters are trying to delay new clean air rules that will create jobs and protect the air we breathe and the water we drink.
Write your House Representative and United States Senators and tell them to protect the EPA Mercury and Air Toxics Standards below...
Take Action: End Bush tax breaks for rich, Create jobs for a stronger America
It’s time to stop giving millionaires and billionaires a free pass at the expense of middle-class families.
Since President Bush launched his tax breaks for the ultra-wealthy a decade ago, the richest of the rich have socked away billions of dollars while our economy and basic infrastructure have crumbled, setting America behind our competitors for the first time since World War II.
But we can fix our roads and bridges, lead the global green economy, and reinvest in the human capital that serves as the backbone of America like our teachers, small business owners and young leaders.
Instead of handing away billions of dollars to the richest Americans, let’s use this money to create good jobs for all Americans.
Ending the Bush tax breaks for the wealthiest few would bring an estimated $1.5 trillion back into our economy, money that can be used to create new jobs protecting our drinking water, making our highways and bridges safe again, and upgrading to energy sources that won’t pollute our air and make our kids sick.
Tell President Obama and your elected officials that it’s time to end Bush’s tax breaks for the wealthy and to instead put Americans back to work making our country stronger, healthier, and more competitive
Take action: Ask your Rep to support Let’s Grow Act of 2012
Did you that 45 million people in the United States go hungry every day?
Let’s stand with Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH) as she introduces The Let’s Grow Act of 2012. This Act will improve water quality in cities, encourage food production on vacant land, and get people eating fresh fruits and vegetables with food assistance programs.
Representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Hansen Clarke (D-MI), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Danny Davis (D-IL), and Delegate Eleanor Holmes-Norton (DC) have all signed on as co-sponsors.
Ask your Representative to sign on as a co-sponsor of The Let’s Grow Act of 2012. When the bill in introduced in mid-April, let's send a strong message to Congress that urban communities deserve increased access to healthy and affordable food, while expanding their local economies.
Learn more or send your representative a message below, encouraging them to support the Let’s Grow Act.
Tell Washington: Enact the "Plan To Keep America First"
We need to be building an American economy today that will position us for the next hundred years, not just the next one. There’s a clear path to doing so, but political obstacles make it difficult.
So Green For All has announced A Plan To Keep America First, a four-step outline of how we can ensure that our nation remains strong and competitive well into the next century. It’s ambitious and not politically easy.
That’s where you come in. Take a few minutes to read the plan. Then, let the President and your representative know you stand with them in the push for this bold, forward-looking agenda.
We’ve seen repeatedly over the last few months the power of speaking out, both on Wall Street and online. It’s time for us to step up once again and demand change.
Contact Secretary Vilsack to get EBTs at farmers' markets
Did you know that a simple, easily-fixed issue forces low-income people to buy unhealthy food instead of fresh fruits and vegetables?
Many of the nearly 45 million Americans participating in the supplemental nutrition assistance program are unable to use their benefits at many healthy fresh retailers such as farmers markets, farmstands, and roadside stands - simply because those markets don't have phone lines.
If the Department of Agriculture (USDA) were to provide those markets with card readers (called electronic benefit transfer or EBT machines), low-income families could buy fresh produce at any farmers' market.
Learn more, or send USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack a message below, encouraging him to make the change.
TAKE ACTION: Let Obama know ozone pollution is unacceptable
This summer, the EPA proposed a new standard that would allow less ozone in the air. And this morning, the President rejected it. Meaning that the 186 million people breathing air that has too much ozone will have to keep doing so until at least 2013.
We need you to take action. Contact the White House. Let the President know that it's unacceptable to put polluters before people.
Tell your Congress Member: 'Don't compromise our water quality.'
The US House of Representatives is currently considering a proposal that would reduce the EPA's budget by $1.5 billion dollars, or 18%. Most of the cuts would come from initiatives that clean our water. Let's tell Congress that they can't compromise the health and safety of our communities. Reject these cuts!
I Will Green My Block Pledge
I pledge to follow the "green my block" steps (below) to create a better future for my family and community, and I am urging our leaders in Washington D.C. to take action that will help move us toward the creation of a green economy and a better future for America.
1. I will unplug my electronics. I will shut down and unplug my Playstation, Xbox, computer, cell phone charger, and other electrical appliances when I am not using them, so they don’t continue to drain energy. By doing this I will save $$$ on energy bills and our environment!
2. I will use less water. I will take shorter showers and wash clothes in cold water. I will not let the water run while washing dishes, shaving or brushing my teeth. I will do this because the water heater is second only to the heating system in home energy usage.
3. I will change a light bulb. I will use a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) and save about $30 over the lifetime of the bulb, which will pay for itself in about 6 months. CFL’s use 75 percent less energy and last about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb.
4. I will recycle whatever I can and use recycled goods whenever I can! Recycling Tips.
5. I will ride with the people. I will use shared and public transportation, walk or ride my bike, because it lowers my carbon footprint and can build community at the same time.
6. I will sign up for Clean Energy. If my utility company offers "green energy," I will sign up. It creates green jobs and it provides for healthy clean energy sources that are renewable. If my utility doesn’t have a green energy option, I will call them and ask for one.
7. I will eat green. I recognize that low-income communities of color have higher rates of heart disease along with other preventable illnesses that can be mitigated with a healthier diet. I will choose healthy, organic and locally made foods. It's friendly on the earth and my body.
8. I will use reusable water bottles and bags. They are a better value, more eco-friendly, and studies show that bottled water isn't any safer than tap water. I will use reusable bags instead of plastic bags when I am grocery shopping, because plastic bags account for a large portion of what goes into our landfills.
9. I will think before I buy. When shopping today, I will look online first to find new or gently used secondhand products. I'll consider a service like craigslist or freesharing to track down furniture, appliances, electronics and other items that may be available cheaply or for free. I'll check out garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment shops for clothing and other everyday items.
10. I will buy products with less packaging. I will look for products with less packaging because if they are giving careful thought to their packaging, they are probably more considerate of other aspects of being sustainable.