An image of Earth in space
An image of Earth in space, created by Noah Haggerty

Today, across the Unit­ed States (and around the world) pro­gres­sive activists and envi­ron­men­tal­ly con­scious folks are cel­e­brat­ing the fifty-fourth annu­al Earth Day by clean­ing up their com­mu­ni­ties and ral­ly­ing in sup­port of envi­ron­men­tal justice.

Here’s a roundup of Earth Day news and events that we’ve been tracking:

President Biden to make the first in a series of Earth Week announcements

Pres­i­dent Biden will mark Earth Day in North Car­oli­na, and while there, will make the first in a series of Earth Week pol­i­cy announcements. 

Here’s some back­ground from the White House: “Build­ing on his cli­mate, clean ener­gy, and envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice agen­da, Pres­i­dent Biden will trav­el today to Prince William For­est Park in Tri­an­gle, Vir­ginia, to cel­e­brate Earth Day 2024, and high­light his Administration’s unprece­dent­ed progress in tack­ling the cli­mate cri­sis, cut­ting costs for every­day Amer­i­cans, and cre­at­ing good-pay­ing jobs.” The fol­low­ing will be announced this week: 

  • Today: $7 bil­lion in grants through the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency’s Solar for All grant com­pe­ti­tion, a key com­po­nent of the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act’s $27 bil­lion Green­house Gas Reduc­tion Fund.
  • Today: New actions to stand up the Amer­i­can Cli­mate Corps – a ground­break­ing ini­tia­tive mod­eled after FDR’s Civil­ian Con­ser­va­tion Corps that will put more than 20,000 young Amer­i­cans to work fight­ing the impacts of cli­mate change today while gain­ing the skills they need to join the grow­ing clean ener­gy and cli­mate-resilience work­force of tomorrow.
  • Tues­day will focus on help­ing ensure clean water for all communities.
  • Wednes­day will focus on accel­er­at­ing America’s clean trans­porta­tion future.
  • Thurs­day will focus on steps to cut pol­lu­tion from the pow­er sec­tor while strength­en­ing America’s elec­tric­i­ty grid.
  • Fri­day will focus on pro­vid­ing clean­er air and health­i­er schools for all children.

Washington will have a solar-themed Earth Day event, too

Gov­er­nor Inslee will be in Seat­tle with EPA Region­al Admin­is­tra­tor Casey Sixkiller to announce the fed­er­al solar funds com­ing to Wash­ing­ton. Join­ing them will be Mike Fong, Direc­tor of the Wash­ing­ton Depart­ment of Com­merce, Joseph Fer­nan­di, Direc­tor of Cus­tomer Ener­gy Solu­tions for Seat­tle City Light, and Rod Bran­don, the Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the Seat­tle Hous­ing Authority. 

Oregon’s Jeff Merkley is working on tackling plastic pollution

Oregon’s U.S. Sen­a­tor Jeff Merkley tells NPI and oth­er media out­lets he is lead­ing a con­gres­sion­al del­e­ga­tion to the fourth ses­sion of the Inter­gov­ern­men­tal Nego­ti­at­ing Com­mit­tee (INC‑4) to devel­op an inter­na­tion­al legal­ly bind­ing instru­ment on plas­tic pol­lu­tion. The del­e­ga­tion, which includes U.S. Sen­a­tors Shel­don White­house (D‑RI), Peter Welch (D‑VT), and Kirsten Gilli­brand (D‑NY) and U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jared Huff­man (D‑CA-02), will call for the devel­op­ment of an ambi­tious inter­na­tion­al agree­ment to address plas­tic pol­lu­tion. Gov­ern­ment lead­ers and inter­na­tion­al stake­hold­ers are con­ven­ing at INC‑4 in Ottawa, Cana­da through Mon­day, April 29th.

British Columbia’s government reaffirms its environmental protection policies

British Columbi­a’s gov­ern­ment is also mark­ing Earth Day. Pre­mier David Eby and Min­is­ter of Envi­ron­ment George Hey­man empha­sized that Canada’s west­ern­most province is also invest­ing in renew­able ener­gy and a respon­si­ble tran­si­tion away from fos­sil fuels. 

Said Hey­man:

As a gov­ern­ment, we’re tak­ing action on cli­mate change by help­ing peo­ple and busi­ness­es low­er their car­bon foot­print. Through the Clean­BC Roadmap to 2030, we have big goals to reduce emis­sions, and we’re get­ting there by invest­ing in clean-ener­gy projects, pro­vid­ing new incen­tives for indus­tri­al oper­a­tors to tran­si­tion to low-car­bon solu­tions, and by cap­ping emis­sions from the oil and gas sector.

And through the Plas­tics Action Plan and the Clean Coast, Clean Waters Ini­tia­tive, we’re recy­cling more of what we use and bet­ter pro­tect­ing our marine ecosys­tems, and every­one and every­thing that depends on them.

BC is cur­rent­ly being gov­erned by the New Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (NDP), the more pro­gres­sive of the province’s major polit­i­cal par­ties. Though the NDP’s envi­ron­men­tal agen­da is far more respon­si­ble and eth­i­cal than the BC Lib­er­als, there’s room for improvement. 

The Tyee notes that a cam­paign called Tran­sit for Teens is push­ing the gov­ern­ment to allow all young peo­ple under the age of eigh­teen to ride pub­lic tran­sit at no charge. Right now, youth between the ages of twelve and eigh­teen must pay a fare. 

Wash­ing­ton State recent­ly made tran­sit fare-free for all youth through the Move Ahead Wash­ing­ton ini­tia­tive, which is fund­ed by Cli­mate Com­mit­ment Act mon­ey that the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty and right wing forces want to repeal. 

NPI strong­ly sup­ports the Tran­sit for Teens cam­paign and urges Pre­mier Eby and Min­is­ter Hey­man to make it a real­i­ty for British Columbi­a’s youth.

Hap­py Earth Day to all of our read­ers, and our grat­i­tude to the many vol­un­teers par­tic­i­pat­ing in com­mu­ni­ty events around the globe to plant trees, pick up trash, and elim­i­nate pollution. 

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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