Climate Action

President Biden Must ‘Finish the Job’ on Climate

When the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, the goal was to educate the public about how humans were harming our environment with dangerous pollution. Earth Day planted the seeds that led to public policy changes that are still benefiting people across the U.S. more than 50 years later. This includes the development of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the enactment of the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts. This progress has required decades of activism led by different stakeholders, as well as the concrete actions of past administrations. Now, 53 years later, we continue to educate the public on the importance of government policies and programs that protect our environment as we fight for environmental justice and work to tackle the climate crisis.

As both a physician and President and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association, I have first-hand knowledge of the impact pollution has on vulnerable communities throughout the country. I have seen how Latino and Black communities bear the burden of pollution from power plants, oil and gas infrastructure, and transportation sources, leaving communities to face numerous health risks, including chronic diseases and respiratory issues.

The good news is that today President Biden and his administration have many tools at their disposal to clean up dangerous soot, mercury, carbon, and smog pollution from power plants and other sources. Using his existing authority, the president can finalize the strongest solutions for pollution across his administration.

If we don’t act quickly to enact strong standards to limit pollution, our children and grandchildren will be forced to breathe dirty air, drink contaminated water, and live in areas with stronger climate-fueled extreme weather events.

On this Earth Day, let’s hold President Biden accountable for his promises to “finish the job” by cutting climate pollution in half by 2030. This includes making clean energy easily accessible to all and accelerating the transition to a clean economy, all while fulfilling the administration’s promise to ensure environmental justice for all. Today, on behalf of the National Hispanic Medical Association and alongside several other environmental groups and health experts, I call on President Biden to take climate action now. Our communities and our climate can’t wait!

By Dr. Elena Rios, President and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association