It’s heartening to see that not all of the noise generated by the 2020 presidential campaign has dissipated in these post-election times.
President Biden pledged last week to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030 — making good on a big campaign promise and possibly nudging some of us out of the still-skeptical category.
When I think about climate, I think about equity. Low-income people spend more of their paychecks on energy and transportation costs. Those sweet rebates on electric vehicles? They don’t go to people who can’t afford a new car, much less an electric one. As CPR Member Scholar Maxine Burkett notes, environmental degradation creates “sacrifice zones” — and communities of color pay the price. We simply cannot address climate change without addressing racism, and environmental racism in particular.
When I think about climate, I also think about jobs. Jobs that don’t expose workers to toxins, COVID-19, or abuse. Quality jobs for workers and communities that reduce our carbon footprint and facilitate our transition to a clean economy. Jobs with protections and security in a changing economy. We simply cannot protect public health and the environment without addressing workers’ rights.
With this in mind …
Since the very beginning of the pandemic, public health officials have warned of a second wave of COVID infections. With no epidemiological background, I’d say the impact of the virus looks more like a wildfire rolling across a forest seeking fresh fuel. But I fear that I am on the front side of a different sort of second wave.
When the pandemic forced shutdowns across the country in March and April, millions of Americans lost their jobs. Some of us, myself included, were fortunate to work for organizations that have been able to weather the storm in a “virtual office.” But with September approaching, and schools forced to navigate uncharted waters, there are hard choices to be made.
My wife and I had to make one such choice not long ago, and as a result, I'm leaving the best job I've ever had.
I have two …