The United States Senate is starting the debate on the Kerry Boxer bill to address climate change.
This bill, addresses many issues such as funding alternative energy sources (including billions for 'clean coal'), increasing U.S. security, and creating jobs. But this legislation is missing a key element: language addressing climate change and human rights.
For environmental refugees both within the United States and internationally, climate change means losing their homes, land and culture. And because people displaced by climate change have no legal status, they have no recourse for their losses. For their sake, please sign this petition to our president to issue an executive order recognizing their legal status as refugees.
As President Mohamed Nasheed has said,
If we can not save 350,000 Maldivians today, we can not save New York, London, or Mumbai tomorrow.
The president has shown remarkable skill in juggling a recession, two war fronts, and a bitterly partisan health care debate. But the way our Senate is arranged, it is very difficult to pass sweeping reform even with a president who represents 'Change'. Furthermore, with recent failure at the Bangkok climate change talks, many people are skeptical that the Copenhagen climate change talks this December will address the legal status of environmental refugees.
So, we the people must petition our government, namely our President Barack Obama and the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban-Ki Moon.
Here is the language of the petition:
To the President of the United States and the United Nations
We the undersigned ask President Obama to sign an Executive Order
recognizing people displaced by climate change as Environmental
Refugees and grant these environmental refugees asylum in the United
States as permitted by Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution and the
laws of the United States of America.
We also ask United Nations Secretary General to call a special
session of the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees to change
the legal status of people displaced by climate change from 'Migrants'
to 'Refugees' so that these displaced Refugees may seek asylum in other
countries around the world.
Click on this
website to sign the petition.
President Mohamed Nasheed convening an underwater cabinet meeting to focus attention on climate change.
Here is the announcement of the petition at the Denver 350.org Rally this past Saturday.
This is an issue that we can all take part in, locally and through grassroots movements.
As R L Miller documented in this diary, environmental refugees are not a group of people far away or in the future, they are here now, both in the United States and around the world. And with the revised temperature rise predictions of 6.3 degrees by 2100, this problem is going to get worse before it gets better.
If George Bush could sign executive orders giving contractors immunity in Iraq, executive powers to classify information to Dick Cheney, and legal loopholes to side step the Geneva Convention regarding torturing prisoners, then I think it should not be a huge issue to give legal status to people who lose their land due to climate change caused by our fossil fuel use.
Please sign the petition for the executive order today for their sakes.
Follow Wade Norris on Twitter: www.twitter.com/wadenorris