350 Colorado’s Brent Goodlet leads a chant during the Earth Day march and rally in Denver

Thank you to all who joined an inspiring Earth Day picnic, march and rally with speakers across a broad coalition calling on State leaders and the Federal Reserve to enact stronger protections for our climate, reduce fossil fuel emissions, defund fossil fuel finance, and proactively fund climate solutions. We are so grateful to be part of such a strong community of advocates across so many organizations! 

Denver, Colorado – A coalition of over 60 environmental and community groups convened at the Denver Capitol for Earth Day on Friday, April 22nd, to mount calls for stronger climate action and environmental protections from Colorado leaders and the Federal Reserve in response to the worsening climate crisis.

The United for Colorado’s Climate Coalition also delivered a petition to Governor Polis, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and Colorado Department of Health and Environment on Earth Day, calling for the declaration of a climate emergency and swift action to address the climate crisis. The petition urged the Governor to issue executive orders and work with the legislature as necessary to require the COGCC, CDPHE, and other relevant executive branch agencies to develop a comprehensive plan to phase out fossil fuel production in Colorado by 2030.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s August 2021 assessment, there is “high confidence” that human-influenced rising temperatures are a direct cause of the extension of the wildfire season, increased drought, and decreased precipitation in the southwest United States. Speakers pointed to Coloradans’ increasing concerns over climate change, wildfire and water, with polling released earlier this year showing that 82% of Coloradans consider climate change a serious problem, with 98% saying wildfires that threaten homes and property are a serious problem here. 

Speakers included those impacted by the recent Marshall Fire. “We cannot let another Earth Day go by without instituting major shifts to a clean energy economy,” shared Susan Nedell, Mountain West Advocate with E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs), who lost her home to the fire. “The devastating Marshall Fire, costing the community over $513 million is a stern reminder that the cost of inaction for our lives and pocketbooks, is far greater than the cost to prevent a further climate crisis.” 

Participants gathered at the State Capitol to call on Governor Jared Polis and other state leaders for bolder climate action, then marched to the Federal Reserve Building to call for an end to fossil fuel financing and greater protections of our climate, including the funding of climate solutions. Despite the overwhelming evidence of the climate crisis, the Federal Reserve has continued to financially uplift the fossil fuel industry, and refused to enact accountability for climate risk. 

“Scientists across the world have sent a clear message: we only have a short window of time to significantly cut down greenhouse gas emissions and keep global warming below 1.5°celsius.” says Giselle Herzfeld, Defunding Climate Disaster Campaign Coordinator for 350 Colorado. “In spite of this, Wall Street banks have continued to pump hundreds of billions of dollars into the fossil fuel industry, under the guidance of the U.S. Federal Reserve. This is why, on Earth Day, we are calling on the Federal Reserve to stop funding the climate crisis, and start funding a Green New Deal.”

The most recent IPCC report released earlier this month further raised the alarm, with scientists warning that there is a limited window of time to keep global warming below 1.5°celsius and that greenhouse gasses from the burning of fossil fuels must begin to decline immediately to reach that global goal. Stronger climate leadership is required at the local and national level in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2030, which is needed in order to meet greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals. 

Quote Deck: 

“Governor Polis claims to be a climate hero, but almost 5,000 oil and gas wells have been developed under his administration, exported greenhouse gas emissions are not counted toward CO’s emissions, and the Greenhouse Gas reduction roadmap includes plans to INCREASE oil and gas production while cutting Greenhouse gas emissions simply by mitigating methane leaks,” shared Maya Beauvineau, Colorado Youth Climate Leader. Sticking a bandaid on a bullet wound–or some tape on a leaky pipeline–is not going to save our future on this planet. Genuinely transitioning away from fossil fuel production, while centering social justice for disproportionately impacted communities, will.” 

“Earth Day 2022 arrives as an extreme fire danger day for Colorado. We’re in the midst of climate change that is burning our state and causing weather extremes around the world. This is not a day of celebration but a renewal in our demand to treat this catastrophe as the emergency that it is, drop “politics as usual”, stand up to oil and gas, and make the brave bold just transition changes to ensure a livable future for our children and planet.” – Dave Robinson, Collective for Another World

“On this day we joyfully celebrate the successes of our movement & those we have lost in our pursuit for environmental liberation. We recognize and lift up those a murdered,  incarcerated, or threatened for speaking truth to power as an act of self defense.” Ean Thomas Tafoya, GreenLatinos CO State Director

8 months ago, we visited Senator Hickenlooper’s office with letters signed by 700 Coloradans.  We called on him, and our entire congressional delegation, to champion federal action on climate, care, jobs, and justice. They promised they were working on it, they promised it was a priority, but 8 months later we are entering an early, extended wildfire season and still no federal action. We join with thousands of people across the country to demand President Biden, Congress, and local elected officials address the climate crisis at scale, invest in essential care workers, create union-protected, dignified jobs, and prioritize investments for the communities most in need.” – Hannah Recht, Colorado Thrives Coalition & Colorado 9 to 5

“Politicians at all levels are easily distracted by immediate crises, cash and threats from the fossil fuel industry, and media that by and large do not take the climate crisis as seriously as they should.  It is important that the people of Colorado continually tell elected officials as well as utilities and regulatory agencies that we need to think and act boldly to preserve a livable climate for our children or for ourselves.” – Kevin Cross, Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate

Sponsoring organizations of the Earth Day event and activities included 350 Colorado, Be the Change – Colorado, Broomfield Health & Safety First, Capitol Heights Presbyterian Church, CatholicNetwork, Clean Energy Action, Colorado Sierra Club, Colorado Thrives Coalition, Collective for Another World, Colorado Businesses for a Livable Climate, Colorado Call to Action, Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate, Colorado Latino Forum, E2 – Environmental Entrepreneurs, Cultivando, Empower Our Future, Denver Metro Chapter Climate Reality, Fort Collins Sustainability Group, GreenLatinos, Indivisible Colorado, Larimer Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council, North Range Concerned Citizens, Northern Colorado Community Rights Network, Rainforest Action Network, Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice Center, Safe & Healthy Colorado, Save EPA, Small Business Alliance, Spirit of the Sun, Together Against Neighborhood Drilling, Together Colorado Climate Justice Committee, Unite North Metro Denver, Wall of Women

Speakers included: 

  • Maya Beavineau, Youth Climate Strike Organizer, calling on Gov. Jared Polis to take bold climate action by implementing the calls to action in the United for Colorado’s Climate coalition petition that will be delivered on Earth Day morning
  • Lucy Molina, mother and impacted Suncor fenceline resident fighting to protect the Commerce City community from environmental injustice and the pollution of the Suncor refinery and fracking
  • Aracely Navarro, Cultivando, speaking about community air monitoring of the Suncor refinery pollution
  • Susan Nedell, a representative of E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs), whose home was lost in the Marshall Wildfire will speak about the impacts of climate change on Coloradans 
  • Patricia Garcia Nelson, Safe & Healthy Colorado representative and mother fighting to stop fracking by Bella Romero Academy and other similar environmental injustices
  • Kevin Cross, Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate – a coalition of 34 organizations working together to advocate for strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to a level supportive of a livable climate
  • Lisa Widdekind, Collective for Another World
  • Ren Smith, Sierra Club, will speak about the need to transition off coal and fossil gas for Colorado’s energy in order to meet our climate goals
  • Paddy McClelland, Wall of Women
  • Elizabeta Stacishin, Indivisible Colorado
  • Hannah Recht, 9 to 5 Colorado, speaking on behalf of the Colorado Thrives Coalition on connections between climate justice and social justice
  • Ean Tafoya, GreenLatinos
  • Giselle Herzfeld, 350 Colorado, speaking on the need for the Federal Reserve to account for climate risk, defund fossil fuel finance and support climate solutions