By any measure, it’s been a rough couple of weeks. The omicron variant is causing spikes in COVID cases around the world, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has once again pledged to kill President Joe Biden’s agenda, and the path to avoiding the worst impacts of climate change continues to narrow. And yet it’s important to remember what almost a year of You Love To See It dispatches has shown: Good things happen when people organize their communities or workplaces and stand up to corporate greed and the threat of fascism. If 2022 is going to put us on a better path, towards a more democratic and just society, it will be thanks to these collective efforts.
Things That You Love To See:
• United Mine Workers Urge Sen. Manchin To Support Build Back Better — After Manchin announced on Fox News that he would be voting no on Biden’s signature legislation, the United Mine Workers issued a statement asking him to reconsider. “We urge Senator Manchin to revisit his opposition to this legislation and work with his colleagues to pass something that will help keep coal miners working, and have a meaningful impact on our members, their families, and their communities,” noted the statement.
• U.S. Army Creates Single Vaccine Against All COVID & SARS Variants (Defense One) — “Within weeks, scientists at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research expect to announce that they have developed a vaccine that is effective against COVID-19 and all its variants, even Omicron, as well as previous SARS-origin viruses that have killed millions of people worldwide.” Importantly, the new vaccine is owned by the U.S. government, not a private corporation, meaning that there should not be a battle over intellectual property.
• Federal Bank Regulator Proposes First Climate Risk Guidance (The Hill) — “The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) on Thursday proposed the first-ever federal climate guidance for banks. The guidance would be used to identify and manage risks relating to climate change or ecological disaster at any national bank or other OCC-governed institution with more than $100 billion in assets… Safety advocacy group Public Citizen called the guidance a ‘solid start’ in a statement Thursday.”
• Anger at Jen Psaki Helped Americans Get Free Covid Rapid Tests (The Intercept) — “The press secretary has long been a lightning rod for criticism from the right — and from Russia — but the bipartisan anger at her flip response to Liasson’s question seems to have forced the Biden administration to revise the unpopular policy on home testing that she found it so hard to defend. So, as Biden told the nation Tuesday afternoon, Americans who want to know if they are infected will soon have an alternative to hunting for the scarce tests in stores, paying inflated retail prices for any they can find, and then possibly getting reimbursed by private insurance companies.” It’s a small win, but you still do love to see it.
• Biden Just Extended Student Loan Pause Until May (VICE) — “After months of pressure from student debt–relief advocates for another moratorium on federal student loan payments, the Biden administration said Wednesday that it would extend its pause to May 1. Payments had been scheduled to begin again at the end of January, but the White House had revisited its deadline in recent weeks due to the arrival of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.”
• New York City Passes Building Gas Ban (New York Times) — “New York City will ban gas-powered heaters, stoves, and water boilers in all new buildings, a move that will significantly affect real estate development and construction in the nation’s largest city and could influence how cities around the world seek to reduce the burning of fossil fuels, which drives climate change.” The gas ban is the result of organizing by a broad coalition of climate and environmental justice groups.
• Amazon Reaches Labor Deal, Giving Workers More Power to Organize (New York Times) — “Amazon, which faces mounting scrutiny over worker rights, agreed to let its warehouse employees more easily organize in the workplace as part of a nationwide settlement with the National Labor Relations Board this month. Under the settlement, which was finalized on Wednesday, Amazon said it would email past and current warehouse workers — likely more than one million people — with notifications of their rights and would give them greater flexibility to organize in its buildings. The agreement also made it easier and faster for the N.L.R.B., which investigates claims of unfair labor practices, to sue Amazon if it believed the company violated the terms.”
• EPA Finalizes Rule To Strengthen Clean Car Standards — “Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its final rule for federal clean car standards, which will curb emissions from the transportation sector and protect our health and our climate by strengthening the stringency for model years 2023 through 2026 for cars and light-duty trucks, including making important changes to improve on its initial proposal from August,” said a press release from EarthJustice, which also noted, “This final action follows months of advocacy from a diverse coalition of environmental, health, faith, and consumer organizations, after years of defending the Obama-era clean car standards from the previous administration’s rollbacks. In September, over 200,000 people urged the Biden administration to strengthen the proposed rule and drop automaker loopholes in the final rule in order to act on climate action, racial justice, and public health.”
Bonus Food For Thought:
Dan Sherrell is the author of a new book about the climate crisis, Warmth: Coming of Age at the End of Our World. In this recent interview with The Nation, he spoke about facing the climate crisis head on, with hope rather than blind optimism. “Hope isn’t ‘Liquid hydrogen will come in and save us all,’” he said. “Hope is knowing that every increment we move the thermometer in one direction or the other saves or consigns millions of people to life or death. I can’t imagine higher stakes than that. And I can’t imagine anything that would invest a human life with more meaning than that struggle.”
Reader Comment Of The Week:
“This should be forwarded to Joe Biden's Supreme Court Commission.” — Steve Duskin, commenting on “How Dark Money Bought A Supreme Court Seat.”
States around the country will be considering legislation next year to divest public pension funds from fossil fuels. Do you have a public pension? The Climate Safe Pensions Network wants you to join a local campaign to pressure your state legislature or pension fund to divest. Or, you can receive more information about the network by signing up through Stand.Earth here.
Whether or not you have a pension, you could be bankrolling the climate crisis through other means. Stop The Money Pipeline wants you to join their Customers for Climate Justice campaign by signing on to an open letter to the CEO of your bank to demand they stop bankrolling the climate crisis.
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