You might recall that, in a video captured by Kathy Byrnes at a campaign rally last January, Joe Biden told me, “Go vote for someone else.” Well, I’m not going to do that.
I’m voting for Joe Biden because, even though climate leaders may disagree with Biden on specifics, we can work with him. The best I can hope from climate denier Donald Trump is to get thrown out of his rallies. (For video of us raising signs in front of Trump just before getting tossed in 2015, click on the photo below.)
Throughout 2019, Bold Iowa’s climate bird dogs were relentless — questioning Biden and other presidential candidates across the state about climate change and the Dakota Access Pipeline. Our persistence paid off. Check out the evolution of our dialogue with Biden:
MAY 1, DES MOINES. During stops earlier that day in Davenport, Iowa City, and Cedar Rapids, Biden barely mentioned climate change. At his final rally of the day in Des Moines, the Bold penguins convinced Biden to talk extensively about climate change.
AUGUST 8, IOWA STATE FAIR. I spoke with Biden just before he hopped onto the State Fair Soapbox (here’s that brief exchange). What he said was encouraging: “We’ve got about ten years before we lose the opportunity to stop the erosion that’s occurring now.”
AUGUST 8, ASIAN & LATINO COALITION FORUM. Kathy Byrnes asked Biden about his statement regarding the US becoming the world’s largest energy producer. Biden said that his comment had been taken out of context: “We are in a position to be able to, in fact, remain energy independent by moving to complete, total elimination of fossil fuels by the year 2050.”
AUGUST 20, URBANDALE. Biden reminded us that he opposed the Dakota Access Pipeline “to begin with,” and told Shaun Ahern that climate change is “the single most existential threat we face.”
OCTOBER 23, WEST POINT. Biden again spoke a lot about climate change during his stump speech.
NOVEMBER 11, GRINNELL. At a forum sponsored by CNN, after Kathy and I questioned Biden about pipelines, Grinnell College students grilled him on the timeline needed for concrete action.
NOVEMBER 23, DES MOINES. Kathy and I again tried to convince Biden that old, leaky gas pipelines need to removed, not replaced.
JANUARY 26, DES MOINES. This is the exchange that went viral, but for the wrong reasons. I understand Biden’s growing impatience with our persistence, but I make no apology. The opportunity to question candidates on a wide range of concerns is what makes the Iowa Caucuses uniquely important. That’s why smaller states like South Carolina, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Iowa should continue to kick off the presidential nominating process.
Even though Biden didn’t give us the response we wanted to hear on pipelines, look at how far he came in just under a year! Biden went from hardly talking about climate to repeatedly speaking out against the Dakota Access Pipeline and calling for major climate action within ten years.
I’ll take that any day over the incoherent climate utterances of our current president.
I understand that some of you want more from Joe Biden. So do I. But he is light years ahead of Trump on climate and gaining clarity all the time. Furthermore, with our very survival in the balance and increasing evidence that Trump could lead America into fascism, this is not an election where we can refuse to vote if the “perfect” candidate isn’t on the ballot.
Still, if you can’t bring yourself to vote FOR Joe Biden, at least vote AGAINST Donald Trump — and the anti-Trump box on the ballot is spelled B-I-D-E-N.
Here’s this week’s line up:
(01:52) Climate Update: A broken record on records breaking;
(14:09) Is political violence becoming more acceptable in the US?, with Jeffrey Weiss;
(26:27) Groups prepare for non-violent response in the likelihood of election chaos, with Jeffrey Weiss;
(38:56) Grilling Biden and Harris on climate, with Kathy Byrnes;
(51:27) Yard-to-Table workshops 2021, with Kathy Byrnes, Birds & Bees Urban Farm.
CLICK HERE to watch our Facebook segment with Kathy Byrnes.
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