Each day of the month of April leading up to Earth Day (April 22), I will be offering a suggestion for how we can really honor the Earth this year. This list will go beyond the usual suggestions to change your light bulbs and take shorter showers. Instead, the focus is on collective action working toward radical social change.
When we talk about taking action to protect the Earth, our home, we are conditioned by capitalist culture to think only about our reducing own consumption. But the choices we make at the store and gas pump can only take us so far. The biggest contributions to global emissions are not the result of the choices of individual consumers, but the choices made by industry and big corporations.
In addition, the influence consumers have over industry and big corporations is only partial, at best. This is why we need government regulation. And that is why we need regulators and elected representatives who are financially independent of the industries they are supposed to be regulating.
The Supreme Court’s holdings in Citizens United (2010) and similar cases have made this impossible. In Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are “persons” who entitled to the right to free speech and that money is speech. The result of these rulings is that corporations can now legally buy elections.
So one thing you can do to honor the Earth this Earth Day is to help get corporate money out of politics. Follow these links to commoncause.org or movetoamend.org and tell your lawmakers to support a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United.
Find out who your House representatives are, then check this list to see if your representatives support House Joint Resolution 48 proposing an amendment to the Constitution providing that Constitutional rights apply only to “natural persons” (human beings) and not fictional persons (corporations). If your representatives aren’t on the list, then call or write them to tell them to support an amendment to the Constitution to overturn Citizens United. If they are, then call or write them to thank them for their support.