By Morgan Goodwin - Senior Director, Angeles Chapter
On behalf of the Angeles Chapter, I accepted an invite to the Earth Day celebration at the residence of the Vice President.
It was no small thing to commit to travel across the country for a fancy social event. However, many of you encouraged me to accept, and I was proud to represent all the good work we are doing here.
I arrived a day early, and worked from the Sierra Club office near Union Station. I got to meet with Robert Scott, a Sierra Club federal lobbyist working on Outdoors For All issues. I got to give him an overview of our Inspiring Connections Outdoors program, our Military Outdoors section, and our outings program in general. We also talked about how we do advocacy to create more transit to trails. We look forward to working together!
Then I learned that the Biden administration was planning to approve permits to build two Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals on the gulf coast. I Joined a protest outside the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, who were expected to approve the permits. Exporting LNG is part of the Biden administration's foreign policy - they reason that if we sell Europe and SE Asia our natural gas, then Russia and China will have less influence. We think this is terrible foreign policy and terrible climate policy, and I was glad to add our voices to the outrage.
With the protest fresh in my mind, I made my way to the Earth Day reception at the Naval Observatory. It feels important to note that I took an e-bike there in my suit and tie, which is really the best way to get around DC. At the event, I met many people from across the country and the environmental movement, from philanthropists to native leaders to activists and clean-tech engineers. Some highlights:
Sierra Club outgoing president Ramon Cruz and I pose with pop-star Ellie Goulding. Ramon was in his element, and I’m so proud to have had him as our board president through this time. Ellie played 3 songs for the crowd, and was really lovely.
I met Martin LePage who worked for Sierra Club for ten years. Martin mentored Bill Vanderberg and helped start Building Bridges to the Outdoors, and supported Sierra Student Coalition
Kamala Harris gave a short speech. I was underwhelmed. She reminded us the importance of celebrating what progress we can. She touted the massive climate investments that the IRA is delivering for a wide variety of transformative industries. She encouraged us to stay positive and keep fighting even when its hard. I was experiencing intense cognitive dissonance with the LNG export terminal approvals.
I know DC is complicated, and I know governing is hard. However, this event reinforced for me the importance of standing up to stop things that need to be stopped, of being willing to say no and fight hard, even against our allies, for justice.
My key takeaway from visiting DC is that we need to build a lot more power for the environmental and social justice movements in order to secure a livable climate and protect the places we love.
The Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club welcomes your participation in its century of involvement in the enjoyment and protection of our planet's environment. The Angeles Chapter spans Los Angeles and Orange Counties in Southern California, with an extensive program of hikes/hiking, national and international travel, local conservation campaigns, political action, and programs for people of all ages.