Yesterday, Nevada Democrats hosted a live streamed roundtable facilitated by Nevada State Senator Chris Brooks. The panelists included former California Governor Jerry Brown, Chispa Nevada Program Director Rudy Zamora, Nevada Conservation League Executive Director Paul Selberg, Nevada Conservation League Deputy Director Verna Mandez, and Moms Clean Air Force Nevada volunteer Cinthia Moore.
The panelists discussed Nevada’s leading role in the future of clean energy, Donald Trump’s anti-environmental agenda, and how a Biden-Harris administration will help local leaders secure a state that is clean and safe for all Nevadans.
Sen. Chris Brooks detailed what environmental leadership looks like in Nevada, and the need for allies at the federal level:
“Climate change is the greatest existential threat to our country. Fighting the climate crisis is our moral responsibility — for our children and for all future generations. It’s not only our responsibility; it’s a tremendous opportunity! Climate crisis and income inequality are the two biggest issues facing our planet, our nation, and our state. It is why I ran for office. I have worked in the clean energy economy here in the West. I started Nevada’s first solar electric company twenty years ago and our state’s first utility solar electric power plants… our state has the opportunity to create thousands more clean energy jobs through good policy at the state level… But the benefits of the great work we are doing in the state will be hamstrung without proper leadership at the top. Climate change is a global challenge, and we need federal leadership who understand just how dire the situation is.”
Rudy Zamora, Program Director of Chispa Nevada, a Latinx organizing program of the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund, discussed the importance of fighting for a cleaner environment so Nevada children can succeed:
“At Chispa Nevada, we organize Latinx communities so that they have a voice when environmental policy is proposed in the state. Our families are demanding access to clean air, clean water, and a healthier climate overall… We need to ensure Nevada reduces its carbon footprint, because our kids should be able to focus on their education, not worry if they have clean air to breathe.”
Cinthia Moore, a volunteer at Moms Clean Air Force in Nevada, emphasized the climate crisis is also a health crisis for Nevada:
“We don’t normally think of climate change as being connected to our health, but this is a public health crisis… Las Vegas is number nine in the entire country for the worst ground-level ozone pollution, and the current standards are just not working. Trump’s EPA decided to cut back on the public commentary period. On an issue as important as clean air for our children, we need an administration who does not rush through the process”
Paul Selberg, Executive Director at Nevada Conservation League, put the stakes for electing pro-conservation candidates up and down the ballot in clear terms for Nevada:
“States have an important role in pushing back against the reckless policies of our current president. We are lucky to live in a state so dedicated to protecting our lands and waterways… In the upcoming election, we have the ability to elect pro-conservation candidates. We have seen time and time again that a healthy democracy leads to a healthy environment. With wildfires across the West, with Reno and Nevada being named some of the fastest warming cities in the nation, we cannot allow reckless legislators who question the science on climate change to get elected.”
Verna Mandez, Deputy Director at Nevada Conservation League, articulated the importance of including the communities most impacted by climate change at the level of policy-making:
“When we talk about climate change and environmental sustainability, it is important to talk about these issues within the context of Black, brown and indigenous communities of color. Communities of color have been on the frontlines fighting their lives and the health of the environment… But when we are talking about crafting environmental policy that is equitable and sustainable, oftentimes we are missing the representation, the great ideas, of Black, brown, and indigenous brothers and sisters.”
Former California Governor Jerry Brown of California closed the event with a strong call to action, urging Nevadans to vote in the most important election of their lives:
“We were moving in a direction under Obama that was pretty substantial. Now, Trump reversed many important environmental rules. Biden and Harris can put America back in the Paris Accord, back on the pathway to green energy and to protecting our environment… The motivation is clear. The failure of Donald Trump is obvious. As we look ahead, we have to make sure that we get every vote out; that we wake people up to the dilemma we are facing… We have an opportune moment to make progress. What we need to do is not pass a law or two; we need a transformation of our economy.”