Standing Strong for Environmental Justice
Supporters of social and economic justice have been on high alert since the election, beating back attacks on our civil rights and civil liberties as well as attempts to dismantle our education and healthcare systems. But extremists in Washington also have the environment in their crosshairs, and working people need to join together to protect our water, our air, and our health against corporations who are putting profits over people.
In this spirit of labor-environmentalist solidarity, James Muller, co-chair of the SEIU 1021 Climate Justice Committee, brought our members’ voices to the Oakland City Council last week to support a resolution backing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).
“As the federal agenda continues to distance itself from proactive addressment of climate change, “ Muller testified, “it becomes imperative for our states and local governments to step in and voice their opposition.” The resolution, co-authored by council members Rebecca Kaplan, Dan Kalb and Abel Guillen, recommends CaLPERS divest from DAPL. “Our hard earned retirement contributions should not be spent making the rich richer while the Sioux Tribe is divested of its sovereign rights of territory,” Muller said.
The resolution passed unanimously, but President Donald Trump has vowed to make DAPL happen. And many more urgent threats are coming from Washington’s new anti-environment mood: The new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, has close ties to the fossil fuel industry and shares Trump’s conviction that the EPA should exist only to remove obstacles to corporate interests.
To take on these threats, labor-environmentalist cooperation (often called blue-green alliances) to build broad coalitions will be crucial. Local 1021 and our SEIU partners will continue to fight for working families’ right to a healthy, sustainable future.