Welcome to the 50th Earth Week, a week to celebrate, protest, increase awareness, and take action. We want to acknowledge that, for those directly impacted by the pandemic and its economic impacts, this is simply not the time to focus on anything but coping minute by minute, and our hearts are with you.

There are many of us who do have some additional time during this strange extended moment to pause and consider how we got here and what is really important: Earth Week is a good time to shine a spotlight on what we have learned.

1 – What is really important?

This is a question that has been distorted by our fast-paced lives, driven by a culture that insists on a very narrow view of success, and a system that has forced way too many people to work more than full time in order to simply survive. During the pandemic, we view this question through a lens of what we have lost, and what we have unexpectedly gained. Of course we knew before that family, community, clean air, safe and quiet streets, universal and affordable access to healthcare, and a reliable safety net are important, but now that importance has come into sharp, urgent, and undeniable relief.

2 – The cracks in our system are huge, unjust and enraging

Again, we knew this before, but the spotlight of the pandemic is showing us just how vulnerable people are, and how much injustice is driving avoidable, unacceptable impact on people’s lives. The racial injustice is enraging: people of color are dying at much higher rates from COVID-19. Other forms of environmental injustice are enraging: while many are enjoying substantially cleaner air, people living near refineries and fossil fuel burning power plants continue to suffer severely adverse health impacts, regardless of the vulnerability to COVID-19. The labor injustice is enraging: the biggest systemic problem is that too many people are paid way too little to cover even the basics. Add a pandemic and watch these issues multiply and cascade: essential workers making peanuts and not getting essential protection to avoid death. Really? REALLY? Layoffs, quibbles over unemployment insurance coverage, lack of sick pay,…. 

3 – This is the fight of our lives

For those of us who can, Earth Week is a good time to engage with others, and learn about how efforts to address the climate crisis are intricately linked to racial, environmental and labor justice issues, and about local efforts to solve these problems.

Join Us This Week

Consider participating in these Earth Week activities:

Our work at 350 Bay Area and 350 Bay Area Action is making a difference, in big and small ways, locally, regionally, and at the state level. We are working hard to adapt to the new environment, and as ever, we are keeping justice issues at the forefront of our work.

You are an appreciated supporter of 350 Bay Area and we thank you for this. Let us now continue to work together for a healthy and sustainable carbon free future.

Your climate team,
Laura Neish for the volunteers and staff of 350 Bay Area