A small group of climate activists has established an encampment near President Joe Biden’s private home in Delaware where they are demanding he declare a national climate emergency and immediately order the end to fossil fuel development in the United States.
Establishing the camp on Christmas Day and sleeping overnight in tents or cars on a roadside area not far from the family’s Wilmington residence, the campaigners operating under the “Occupy Biden” banner say if the president truly recognizes that the world is in a “code red” situation when it comes to soaring global temperatures then he must act accordingly.
“The president has the power to declare a climate emergency, but has not done so,” said Echo Alford, a local resident and member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, in a statement Thursday. “The president knows that we are occupying land right outside his home, but he hasn’t addressed us or our demands.”
Earlier this week, some of the activists invoked the blockbuster film Don’t Look Up — currently among the most viewed movies on Netflix and which satarizes humanity’s inaction in the face of the climate threat — to argue that fictionalized version is not far from the what’s really happening:
@LeoDiCaprio @JLawrence_RepUs we watched the film this week at @OccupyBiden! We’re occupying land in @POTUS’s neighborhood all week to put pressure on him to take #ClimateActionNow. Can you please support our cause?#DontLookUp #OccupyBiden pic.twitter.com/ga783bZWZE
— OCCUPY EVERYTHING 🌄🌎⏳ (@barefootbritt) December 29, 2021
With Democrats in control of the House, Senate, and White House, added Alford, “they have the power to enact sweeping change to protect our earth and our futures, but they haven’t. I stand in solidarity with this multigenerational working-class movement for environmental justice because this inaction by lawmakers is inexcusable.”
With the Democrat’s signature climate legislation contained in the Build Back Better Act now stalled in Congress, the activists say that grassroots pressure must be intensified to ensure the opportunity to take meaningful action is not lost.
Karen Igou, the small business owner and founder of Extinction Rebellion Delaware who is lead organizer of the encampment, said the stakes are too high for inaction to be accepted. “Our youth are scared, angry, and smart,” Igou said. “They know we could do better and they demand that we do so now. If our government does not do all in their power to stop our climate emergency then, I believe, they are committing genocide on our grandchildren. The scientists have stated our dire situation. The [International Energy Agency] has stated it. And Build Back Fossil Free has a Biden Executive Blue Print that he could be following, but is not.”
The group is planning a New Year’s Day rally on Saturday to lift up their demands.
we #OccupyBiden so @JoeBiden will declare a #ClimateEmergency with #NoNewFossilFuel projects pic.twitter.com/kJXAT0VMlM
— Andrew Hinz (@andyhinz2) December 29, 2021
“I am here, all day and all night, from Christmas morning to New Year’s Day, sleeping in a car, because of what our president said is a worldwide, ‘code red’ emergency situation,” said Ted Glick, a veteran activist whose has written books on the climate crisis. “When it’s ‘code red’ you do things you’ve never done before. I and others here are doing that. President Biden must too, using the powers he was elected to use.”
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