We are at a generational, if not an historical, tipping point for our nation and the world. Our economy and institutional power structures have been built on the exploitation of people and the environment. Addressing the climate crisis and growing economic and social inequalities requires a presidential candidate with an independent voice to challenge and dismantle these structures. We need a voice that can embolden and empower a grassroots movement of people to create a more healthy and just nation.
Sen. Bernie Sanders has spent a lifetime fighting against this exploitation and motivating people to take action. This is why the Friends of the Earth Action PAC enthusiastically endorses Sen. Sanders for President of the United States. Our endorsement is based on his deep and unyielding commitment to fighting climate change and, leaving our world a better place for the future.
Environmentally, Sen. Sanders is a vocal and visible leader. From challenging agri-industry giants like Monsanto who seek to prevent people from knowing what is in their food, to fighting the oil industry's effort to build the Keystone XL pipeline, Sen. Sanders spent a lifetime advocating for a healthy planet. He has a remarkable 95 percent lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters after more than 20 years of service to the State of Vermont in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.
While voting is an indicator of leadership, Sen. Sanders's actions have consistently gone further. He marched in the streets of New York with people from around the world to protest global warming and the fossil fuel industry at the People's Climate March. He introduced aggressive federal legislation to address global warming and drafted the most comprehensive effort to eliminate all fossil fuel subsidies, which could save American taxpayers nearly $135 billion. And his vocal support of the protests against the Keystone XL pipeline helped to legitimize a growing anti-fossil fuels movement.
Sen. Sanders has an outstanding environmental record, but the Friends of the Earth Action PAC's endorsement goes beyond his environmental leadership. Solving the climate crisis requires addressing the deep structural social, racial and economic forces that perpetuate a currently unfair and unjust system. We must link protecting voting rights, overturning Citizens United, dismantling "too-big-to-fail" banks, creating a living wage, adopting universal health care, creating a fair and just immigration policy, protecting workers' right to organize, and opposing unjust trade agreements to solving climate change.
Sen. Sanders is talking to the American people about these issues and describing a more fair and environmentally sound country. We are at a point in our history at which equivocating on these basic rights and issues impacts our capacity to solve them. We simply cannot solve the climate crisis and create a more just society by repackaging failed policies that reinforce the current environmental and social status quo.
Sen. Sanders' boldness and honesty was in clear display when he recently said, "Unchecked growth -- especially when 99 percent of all new income goes to the top one percent -- is absurd...Where we've got to move is not growth for the sake of growth, but we've got to move to a society that provides a high quality of life for all of our people." It is a simple truth Sen. Sanders repeats: our economy has to be built on sound ecological principles, fairness and equity.
He has proven himself a bold and fearless voice for the planet. His leadership on real solutions to climate change and inequality, while creating a transformative economy to prioritize public health and renewable energy, has earned him an enthusiastic endorsement from the Friends of the Earth Action PAC. And we encourage anyone who values a nation that prioritizes the rights of its citizens and health of our planet over the profits of its corporations to support Sen. Sanders for President of the United States.
Erich Pica is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Friends of the Earth U.S. and Friends of the Earth Action. Pica is a nationally-recognized expert on energy subsidies, who has worked to reform U.S. tax and budget policy in ways that reduce pollution and spark a transition to clean energy.
Follow Erich on Twitter at: @erichpica; @foe_us