‘It’s a tragically teachable moment. I don’t say this in a partisan way. But the parallels [between COVID-19 and climate change] are screaming at us, both positive and negative. Just think about it. This moment in life is inseparable from this moment on earth.’
That’s the take this Earth Day from former Secretary of State and onetime presidential contender John Kerry, who was a participant in the inaugural Earth Day 50 years ago.
He described that Nixon-era march, well before social-media sharing but timed to the launch of the Environmental Protection Agency and other initiatives, as his first moment of activism after arriving home from combat in Vietnam.
The onset of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic from the novel coronavirus has “made more people value science, flattening the curve has given proof of concept to the fact that when lives are on the line, and as people understand that their daily decisions are connected to the lives of others, people everywhere will mobilize,” Kerry said in an interview with Our Daily Planet.
Kerry, who also penned an Earth Day op-ed for the Boston Globe, said on MSNBC that a “baseline of truth” to advance scientific recommendations around COVID-19 and climate change is needed, but has at times proved elusive from the Trump White House.
“…It’s no coincidence that the same president who called COVID-19 a ‘Democratic hoax’ referred to climate change as a ‘hoax from China,’” Kerry charged in the Our Daily Planet interview.
For its part, the Trump administration has helped usher in relief for small businesses and individuals hard hit by the economic slowdown from the pandemic.
President Trump, in a release recognizing Earth Day, said: “We are working hard to remove trash from our oceans, accelerate cleanups at Superfund sites, and revitalize communities through our Brownfields program. Additionally, I was proud to announce earlier this year that the United States will be joining the Trillion Trees Initiative launched in January.”
The acknowledgment comes at a time when the Trump administration has relaxed some longstanding environmental regulations citing coronavirus in the short term, and cost to businesses over the long haul.
“…[T]here’s a story of hope in the climate crisis that is the opposite of what you have to do to stop the spread of COVID-19. You had to basically shut down much of the economy to stop this disease,” Kerry said in the interview. “On climate, it’s not a choice between economic recovery and climate action; solving the climate crisis is the engine of our economic future, period. That’s the great part of it: we end up healthier and create more jobs. We just have to get going.”
Kerry, whose presidential ticket with John Edwards lost to incumbent George W. Bush in 2004, now leads World War Zero, a consortium of corporate executives, scientists, activists and others who claim to want more than the “usual suspects” involved in addressing accelerating man-made climate change.
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