Pallavi, RAN’s Deputy ED, takes a moment to reflect on 2020 so far

By Pallavi Phartiyal

It would not be an understatement to say that 2020 will go down in history books as one of the most disruptive years of our lifetimes. From economic upheaval to disproportionate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to early wildfires and hurricanes to the uprising for racial justice, the time for dismantling systemic layers of oppression has long since arrived.

protest banner outside of a Chase bank
RAN Executive Director Ginger Cassady holds a banner outside of a Chase bank

RAN has been pushing for systems analysis and sector-wide reform for over 35 years. We’ve advocated for human rights as a non-negotiable aspect of the demands we exert on industries driving fossil fuels production and tropical deforestation. And as you will read in this inaugural e-Panther newsletter, throughout the chaos of this pandemic we have been centering racial justice in the issues we amplify and the resources we mobilize.

The injustices facing our society were already at a breaking point before the current pandemic. COVID-19 has simply exacerbated it and brought us to a point of no return. This is the moment when we fight for stopping climate change, for the right to protest to demand justice. Together, we must hold ourselves and corporations accountable to real action so that we can finally stop perpetuating this disastrous status quo. We have precious few years remaining to align with the 1.5C target laid out in the Paris climate agreement, and even less time to stop deforestation and secure land rights for Indigenous communities that have proven to be the best stewards of our forests.

Portland police responding to escalating protests in response to federal agents, July 2020
Portland police responding to escalating protests in response to federal agents, July 2020

The most immediate work though is dismantling the racial injustices that devalue and denigrate Black lives. Climate justice and racial justice are inextricably linked. George Floyd’s cry of “I can’t breath” while a police officer was publicly murdering him are also the same rallying cries that we have heard from environmental justice communities for decades. Climate impacts and pollution burdens often rest disproportionately with countries least responsible for historical emissions and with Black and brown communities. Our planet belongs to each one of us and everyone deserves to breath free! I hope you will join us in double downing on our efforts.

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RAN panther logo projected onto BK bridge