Graphic: Taylor Mayes, Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs

By Judy Asman, LNS Communications and Information Director

At the end of March, it seemed for a minute like Earth Day to May Day actions would be non-existent with the devastating spread of COVID-19—especially with executive orders throughout the states that suspended (and rightfully so) live events to mandate social distancing.

But in the 50th year of honoring and fighting for the existence and sustainability of our planet, environmental and climate justice organizations, civil rights groups, environmental groups, unions, and labor allies around the country were not about to let that happen. Nor was May Day, the International Day of Labor, which in 1886 resulted in workers’ rights still threatened in the current day, about to be forgotten. The existential threat of a global pandemic would not eclipse the preceding and increasingly existential threat of the climate crisis but instead bring to light that the two crises are very much linked.

Throughout the country, unions and climate allies teamed up to hold panel discussions, digital rallies and Twitter storms that aimed for the attention of lawmakers. Some activists developed templates for live, in-person actions, adhering vigilantly to CDC guidelines and shared online so they could be heard and seen on the streets without causing further damage amid the pandemic. At home in Takoma Park, where LNS was founded, an idea was launched to perform one song each day, first on Earth Day to honor sustainability, then on to solidarity on May 1 (May Day), and then about peace on May 4—50 years since the massacre at Kent State. Music and the arts remained at the core of this year’s #ED2MD as songwriters and musicians contributed their songs to the LNS video library.

If you missed any part of it, you can still see a roundup of actions organized by groups and individuals who understood and acted on the inherent relation between the climate emergency, the COVID crisis and their obvious higher impact on lower income communities, the working class and ethnic minorities. What resulted was 10 days of dialog, mobilization and education on what the COVID-19 crisis currently means to the labor-climate movement and how going back to “normal” will not be an option in the post-pandemic era if we continue to strive for making a living on a living planet. See #ED2MD highlights »