By May Boeve, Executive Director, 350 Action
Yesterday, millions of us voted for climate justice and for an America where all of us are welcome and can thrive. We elected a wave of progressive champions to the House — and with that victory, we sent a message to Trump and his fossil-fueled cronies: that their hateful, divisive agenda does not represent us.
But we still have a lot of work to do. Let’s make it clear to our new members of Congress that we expect real leadership on climate that puts people before Big Oil’s bottom line.
More than anything, yesterday was a testament to people power. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers like you made phone calls, sent text messages, and knocked doors — even in the pouring Election Day rain. Thank you.
That people power carried bold progressives to historic victories from coast to coast. We elected the first Native American women and the first Muslim women to Congress: Deb Haaland — a true climate champion who stood with water protectors at Standing Rock — was elected in New Mexico. Environmental justice champion Rashida Tlaib won in Michigan, and pipeline fighter Ilhan Omar soared to victory in Minnesota. Portland, Oregon passed the historic Clean Energy Initiative, which will fund green jobs and healthy homes for people most impacted by climate change.
But it’s also clear that the fossil fuel industry still has a powerful stranglehold over our democracy — and that Big Oil and their allies will spend whatever it takes to protect their profits. In Colorado, Washington, and California, fossil fuel billionaires crushed records and outspent the grassroots, people-powered campaigns for Proposition 112, Initiative 1631, and Measure G by as much as 40 to 1.
No matter what, I’m proud that scrappy, grassroots campaigns stood toe to toe against the fossil fuel industry’s might and millions of dollars. Now, it’s up to us to build a political movement so large that our voices can finally drown out big polluters’ dirty money.
Of course, elections aren’t (and have never been) a silver bullet. This is just one piece of the work it takes to win the just world and safe climate all our communities deserve. And yes: Donald Trump is still President, Republicans still control the Senate, and elsewhere in the world — from Brazil to Hungary to the Philippines — divisive right-wing leaders still have a firm grip on power.
But as history as shown, social movements like ours are what will bring about lasting change — and that’s the work we have ahead of us now. And we have momentum on our side.