Category Archives: Uncategorized

How About Earth Day Becomes Every Day?

When I was a young child we would celebrate Earth Day at school each year. There would be decorations, Earth-shaped cookies, and special events tailored towards our planet. It was a fun way to celebrate mother nature while learning about our wondrous natural environment.

Somewhere over the last few years, perhaps when I was nearing the end of High School or more recently while in college, Earth Day has evolved into Earth Week. Major corporations and media outlets now create a variety programs to celebrate our environment while bringing awareness to a range of important topics such as water degradation, plastic pollution in our oceans, and many more, of course including our climate crisis.

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Where five years ago as a High School Freshman I was asked to speak on Earth Day at our local zoo, this week I have spent nearly every day making a presentation, giving a speech or doing one thing or another for folks celebrating Earth Week. I have, for example, given the keynote speech for the Climate Innovation Challenge from CAVU, as well as acted as a judge for the competition; spoke at World Creativity and Innovation Day/Week for the United Nations twice; participated in a panel discussion for the University of Miami Student Government ECO Board; been interviewed by my college radio station (WVUM), NBC Universal, and more.

Showcase MCThe evolution to Earth Week is glorious but it’s not enough. Not nearly so. If we are ever going to actually, truly change things for the better in a lasting way it will require everyone on earth living their lives with our natural environment in their hearts and on their minds every day of the year. That’s a big goal but I believe that it’s possible based on how far we’ve come in just a few years of my own life and how serious youth in my generation are about protecting our natural environment. If we can just add the other 51 weeks of the year, every year, then I am confident we can protect this special place we call home for future generations.

So, what do you say? How about every day becomes Earth Day by 2030 if not sooner? Mother Nature needs our help and I know you can do it!

Happy Earth Day (Week) and soon to be Year everyone!

Now It’s Your Turn

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I’ve done all I can, now it’s your turn.

Today’s your BIG Day!

I’ve not only already voted but over the last year and especially the last few months I’ve written more blogs, appeared on more panels, and given more speeches and other forms of engagement via Zoom than I can count. The hours, in some cases, days of preparation is all worthwhile if it helps motivate our country to take action by voting and electing political leaders who care about the environment as passionately as you and I do.

But now it’s your turn.

In the event you were not part of the amazing record breaking (shattering!) number of Americans that voted early this year or, for that matter, that voted by mail-in ballot in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, today’s your day.

Today’s the day you need to please get up and out to the polls and V O T E.

As an American it is our right, our privilege, and, yes, our democratic honor to vote and never has it been more important that you exercise your rights. No matter what it takes, I am asking you, your friends, and your family to safely go to the polls and vote. Don’t suffer in silence or think your vote and voice does not matter. Your vote very much matters and you have a critically important role to play. In fact, what you think not only matters, but your view and vote will help shape the future of our country perhaps forever.

It’s that important.

Today.

Your BIG Day.

So please vote.

Climate Change & The U.S. Supreme Court: Playing Politics with our Future

I am deeply proud of my work with the fine lawyers at Our Children’s Trust, the firm that is helping litigate the landmark lawsuit I’ve been party to (Reynolds v. State of Florida), as well as the Federal litigation (Juliana v. United States), that are attempting to have the courts require state and federal governments to enforce laws to clean and protect our climate. The work that Julia Olson and her team, people like Andrea Rogers who helps me here in Florida, conducts is important and impactful.

The comments and answers we are hearing from lawyer Judge Amy Barrett, who will soon replace the iconic RBG on the US Supreme Court, on a range of social and environmental issues that will help shape our future are certainly also important and impactful. Her answers and views on equality, women’s rights and, yes, our environment including our climate change crisis, are critically important to every American.

And every American should shudder to think that someone who will soon be in a lifetime position to rule on all sorts of important laws sees our climate change crisis as a political issue rather than wanting to focus on the science and facts. Here’s what she said when asked about whether she believes climate change is happening, in effect if it is real:

I will not express a view on a matter of public policy, especially one that is politically controversial.”

– Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Responding To A Senate Judiciary Question on Whether Climate Change Is Happening

What kind of an answer is that from an educated person who will soon sit on the highest court in our land? A frightening one for sure.

And with this in mind I’d like to share much of the content that Our Children’s Trust has just published about Judge Barrett’s nomination and especially her answers related to our climate change crisis.

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Dear friends,

Earlier today, Judge Barrett offered the above response to Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) when asked about climate change. Later in the afternoon, in an exchange with Senator Kamala Harris, Judge Barrett was asked whether she believed that COVID-19 was infectious, whether smoking causes cancer, and whether climate change is real. Here is part of their exchange:

           Senator Harris: “Do you believe climate change is happening and is threatening the air we breathe and the water we drink?”

           Judge Barrett: “…You have asked me a series of questions that are completely uncontroversial like whether COVID-19 is infectious, whether smoking causes cancer, and then trying to analogize that eliciting…. an opinion from me that is on a very contentious matter  of public debate and I will not do that. I will not express a view on a matter of public policy, especially one that is politically controversial because that’s inconsistent with the judicial role as I have explained.” (emphasis ours)

Judge Barrett signaled today to the Senate Judiciary Committee that she believes climate change is a matter of politics not science. We vehemently disagree. We expect lifetime jurists on our nation’s highest court to understand and respect what is overwhelmingly established scientific fact: Climate change is real and it is caused by human activity. 

Judge Barrett answered questions today about the scientific reality of COVID-19 even while religious freedom cases challenging governmental COVID-19 policies are working their way through multiple courts and could end up in the Supreme Court. We understand she can’t comment on government climate policies, but she should be able to truthfully answer questions on the scientific reality of climate change.

And it isn’t just scientists who know this. Alongside the world’s governments, scientists, children, and faith leaders, Pope Francis, in Laudato Si and more recently in Fratelli Tutti has said that climate change is the most serious issue facing humanity. Just this week, the Pope said that science tells us every day “that urgent action is needed . . . if we are to keep the hope of avoiding radical and catastrophic climate change. And for this we must act now. This is a scientific fact.” 

Before any vote is taken, Judge Barrett needs to clarify her opinion on and understanding of climate science and whether she would respect credible scientific evidence in cases before her. Contrary to what her responses at the hearings suggest, Supreme Court Justices don’t just interpret the law, and they don’t avoid hearing cases on issues they might view as being contentious; instead they apply law to the facts and evidence, even when it involves complex areas of science.

Our Children’s Trust has sent questions to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, demanding answers on Judge Barrett’s understanding of climate science and whether she would respect expert evidence in cases before her, as well as the constitutional rights of children.

It is clear that Judge Barrett will soon be given a lifetime appointment to the US Supreme Court. The Republican Party, led by President Trump, has clearly decided to set aside the protocol of decency and decorum that’s been followed in the past (much less common sense) and instead force the issue upon our nation before it’s too late (meaning before the November 3rd, 2020 election) for them.

As we vote in the upcoming election, please keep in mind that candidates for an office such as the Presidency or that of a Governor are in positions to nominate and appoint judges that have a lasting impact on our society long after those elected officials have left elected office. And as Judge Barrett made clear this week, judges can be biased and prefer to play politics rather than focus on the facts and our collective futures and that, my friends, should alarm each of us.

Please vote like our future depends on it… because it does.

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