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Building Back Better Starts Today

published on: January 22, 2021

“That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb if only we dare it, because being American is more than a pride we inherit – it’s the past we step into and how we repair it.”

The Hill We Climb
National youth poet laureate, Amanda Gorman 

Amanda Gorman’s words soothed much of the pain of the last four years while providing an important reminder that living up to our American ideals means reckoning with and righting the wrongs that have plagued our democracy from the beginning. Witnessing the swearing-in of Vice President Kamala Harris–the first Black vice president, the first Asian-American vice president, the first woman vice president–filled me with inspiration and hope. I hugged my daughters and immediately felt more optimistic about America’s future than I have in a long time.

The Biden-Harris Administration is wasting no time getting the nation back on track to tackle the climate crisis. On Day One, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to immediately address the climate crisis and protect our health and environment from its most catastrophic impacts. The previous administration rolled back, weakened, or eliminated more than 100 environmental and public health safeguards, increasing air and water pollution and putting our health at risk.

On Day One, President Biden’s climate-related executive actions included:

  • Rejoining the Paris climate agreement and returning the US to a position of global climate leadership; 
  • Revoking the presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, a project that Indigenous people and climate activists have protested for years;
  • Reestablishing an interagency process to quantify and manage the social cost of greenhouse gases. 

Additional executive actions are sure to follow in the early days of the Administration to restore scientific integrity, centering racial justice and equity, and creating the jobs we need to build back better.

With the much-needed support for climate action and environmental protection from the Biden-Harris administration, we have the momentum to make real change for our communities. The work is far from complete. Conservation Voters elected environmental champions to federal, state, and local office, and now we must keep up the pressure for progress.

To recover from four years of neglect and outright assaults on our environment, we need immediate action. In the coming days and weeks, President Biden should use his executive authority to act fast on climate change, including by

  • Moving the country to a 100% clean economy by 2050;
  • Making major investments in clean energy;
  • Restoring scientific integrity in all federal decision making and scientific expertise throughout our federal agencies;
  • Committing to the electrification of cars and trucks and 100% elimination of transportation sector air pollution;
  • Building climate-resilient infrastructure; and
  • Ensuring that Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and other communities of color, which are first and worst impacted by climate change and dangerous pollution, have a voice in planning a clean and liveable future

Our future became brighter this week. The Conservation Voter Movement is equipped to face the hurdles that await us. FCV is ready to get to work and continue to advocate for our land, water, climate, democracy, and racial justice. We invite you to join us as a volunteer, supporter, and advocate.

“We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be: a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free. We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation.”

The Hill We Climb
American Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman


Read more: 

The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman

E&E Climate News Here Are All the Climate Actions Biden Took on Day One

Center for American Progress The Biden Administration Brings State Climate Leadership to the White House