Friends Committee on National Legislation is asking Quaker meetings right now to offer suggestions about what the FCNL legislative priorities should be for the 117th Congress (2021-2022). I urge Friends in the West to especially focus on legislation affecting our atmosphere, natural environment, and the uses of our public lands.
FCNL’s goal of seeking “an earth restored” was totally focused on seeking legislation about climate change in 114th Congress (2017-2018). The legislative priority was: “Support solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate disruption.” By the 116th Congress (2019-2020), that priority expanded slightly: “Sustainable solutions to climate change, including reducing fossil fuel use, increasing renewable energy, strengthening environmental protections, promoting international cooperation, and protecting vulnerable populations.”
Please consider what is happening around us. The West is pockmarked with the unrestored aftermath of the search for metals. The public lands are being auctioned off wholesale so that marketable resources belonging to the public – belonging to us and to our descendants – can be drilled, mined, and logged for immediate profit.
There is constant pressure at the state and national levels to turn over the federally managed public lands to the states, where they are quite likely to be sold off or leased for exploitation. The states can’t afford to manage them.
This U.S. Administration – with the support of Congress – is intent on rolling back the environmental protections we have enjoyed for our water and air and the land we live on. The latest move is to repeal major provisions of the 1972 Clean Water Act; this may take effect by April.
Friends, please consider what is happening around us in the ground, air, and water. Consider what it really takes to achieve “an earth restored.” It’s more than climate change; it’s also protecting what we have – natural resources that are fast being sold off or ruined.
Look at the FCNL policies (www.fcnl.org/updates/the-world-we-seek-25). The section on “We seek an earth restored” is good! One way to translate our concern into action is to see it reflected in the FCNL priorities.
-- Tom Vaughan, Gila Meeting, Silver City, NM (IMYM)