Blueprint for Victory: How We Protect the Planet at the Polls

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As we head further into the 2024 election season, the stakes for our planet and democracy are reaching fever pitch. But luckily, Food & Water Action has a strategy that’s proven to beat the odds — and it involves you! 

Building grassroots power and electing allies to office are some of the strongest ways we can protect our health, environment, and democracy. These allies are dedicated to protecting our families, our economic wellbeing, and our livable future on this planet. 

With our growing community of volunteers and supporters like you, Food & Water Action helps candidates win — even against conventional wisdom and predicted outcomes. We’ve played a key role in electing climate champions in western Pennsylvania, in the heart of fracking country, as well as in upstate New York, California, and more. 

This November, we’re poised for more wins. Here’s how we’ll do it, together.

Identifying and Endorsing Key Races

In 2024, the House is considered a toss-up that will come down to a handful of races. Side by side with you and thousands of fellow activists, we’ll be active in several of these.

To protect our planet at the polls, we’re taking on two major strategies. First, champion progressives who will fight for the bold policies we need. Second, fight for a Democratic majority that will give a progressive coalition more power and defend our government from right-wing extremists.

Endorsing Progressive Champions in Congress

No one has fought harder against the Trump and right-wing Republican agenda than the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and no one has fought harder for common sense food, water, and climate protections. They will stake out the bold positions we need and move the needle for the whole Congress. Progressive lawmakers have been key to everything from addressing corporate consolidation to building support for needed water infrastructure funding.

This year, we’re endorsing and organizing for progressive candidates like Dr. Clarence Lam in Maryland’s 3rd district. Dr. Lam directs the preventive medicine residency program at Johns Hopkins University, so he sees firsthand how harmful bad air quality and polluted drinking water are to his patients.

As a state senator, Lam introduced legislation to ban fracking chemicals, regulate a harmful pesticide, and more. He’s pledged to support a ban on oil and LNG exports and fight climate scams like carbon capture in Congress. With progressives like Lam in office, we’ll have real allies in the halls of power.

Defending and Flipping Key Seats for Democrats

Along with electing progressive champions, we’ll also be defending and flipping battleground seats for the Democrats. We know that with Democrats in office, progress is possible. If Republicans maintain control of the House and/or flip the Senate, even a strong progressive caucus will have much less power. And in a worst-case scenario, we’ll need a Democratic Congress to act as a safeguard against a second Trump presidency.

With the combined strength of our community, we took on this strategy in the 2022 midterms with big wins. For example, in battleground Pennsylvania, we elected Chris Deluzio, a progressive champion for workers. These wins were essential to reducing the predicted “red wave” in the House to a mere puddle. Now, we’re working to defend these incumbents in their races this fall.

At the same time, to bring back a Democratic House majority, we’re working to flip seats like that of New Jersey’s contested 7th Congressional District. Our endorsed candidate, Sue Altman, has a history of standing up for New Jersey families and has made environmental issues a top focus of her campaign. 

Building Power and Connections on the Ground

After endorsing our champions comes the fun part — Get Out the Vote! At a time when inboxes are overflowing and TV commercials blur together, we know that person-to-person communication can move voters.

Whether knocking on doors or sending handwritten letters, we make politics personal. That’s why, with supporters like you, Food & Water Action prioritizes tactics like door-to-door canvassing in hotly contested elections.

With work like this, we’ve created an established network of experienced volunteers who consistently help drive our grassroots actions. And, we’ve been building power in key areas around the country, including in Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Florida.

Ahead of the 2022 midterms, in Pennsylvania alone, we knocked on 20,000 doors, turned out more than 220,000 phone calls, and sent 4,600 handwritten letters to get out the vote. As a result, not only did our endorsed candidates Reps. Deluzio and Summer Lee win their races; thousands of Pennsylvanians turned out to vote blue in tight races up and down the ballot.

With Your Help, We’re Ready for Wins

With victories like these, the Food & Water Action community is laying the groundwork for a strong democracy and a livable future for all. We’ve blocked many extremists, climate deniers, and corporate-backed cronies from gaining power in Congress. We’ve elevated climate champions across the country who fight for bold policies that will protect our food, water, and climate. 

Now, we’re once again pouring our all into winning key races. And we’re playing the long game: building the relationships, the infrastructure, and the grassroots energy we’ll need to continue winning for years to come. With you, we’re not only fighting like we live here — we’re winning.

Help power our fight to defend our communities, our planet, and our democracy!

How Trump’s Nomination Jeopardizes Food, Water, and Climate

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In February, President Joe Biden announced a temporary pause on the country’s buildout of liquefied natural gas. After approving the Willow drilling project and the resulting outrage nationwide, Biden is finally starting to take the hint. We cannot and will not accept the status quo on fossil fuels. 

Of course, former President Donald Trump couldn’t let the moment pass without reminding us of the threat he poses to our planet. The next day, he announced that he would “approve the export terminals on [his] first day back.” 

“We will drill, baby, drill,” he crowed. 

After yesterday’s Super Tuesday primaries, Trump effectively secured the Republican nomination for president — raising the stakes for our livable future.

We know Trump’s track record and his stance on our issues. It isn’t pretty. In 2024, we face a fork in the road: a path to more progress toward a livable future, or doors slammed shut in our faces. Here’s exactly what’s at stake.

1. Threatening the Green Energy Transition We Need

Well before the LNG export terminal boom made headlines, Trump had already staked out a position on transporting the fuel by rail. In 2020, he permitted the highly flammable fuel to be shipped on “bomb trains” without a special permit, threatening rail-side communities across the country. (Biden suspended the rule, but still needs to ban bomb trains completely.)

This is just one drop in the ocean of Trump’s terrible response to climate. He’s called climate concerns “nonsense” and downplayed his own administration’s research.

And, early on in his presidency, Trump pulled us out of the Paris Agreement, the foremost international effort on climate change. Thankfully, Biden re-engaged with these efforts.

This year, the U.S. attended the COP28 climate conference to continue negotiating international climate action. Though the resulting deal didn’t go nearly far enough, it did include something unprecedented — for the first time, COP included language for countries to “transition away” from fossil fuels. Just as we’re starting to make progress on the international front, a second Trump administration would almost certainly walk it back.

That’s not the only thing it would walk back. Trump would undo as much of our progress as he can. According to advisors and senior campaign officials, the former president intends to slash funds to clean energy programs and repeal regulations on the oil and gas industry. He would also cut spending and staff to government agencies key to food, water, and climate protections.

2. Siding with Profit Over People in Our Food System

Megacorporations dominate many corners of our economy, especially our food system, with disastrous consequences. Take, for example, the meat industry. The four biggest meatpackers process 85% of all U.S. beef cattle. Because of their size and power, monopoly corporations get away with a lot of bad behavior, like dangerous working conditions. Rather than rein them in, Trump paved the way for more abuses.

For one, the administration approved three massive mergers for seed and agrochemical giants. Trump’s USDA also greenlit faster inspections on hog lines and faster line speeds at poultry plants. The former led to more contamination violations in hog slaughter plants; the latter threatened even more injuries in an industry already notorious for its health and safety risks.

Biden not only withdrew the bad line-speed rules — he’s also tackling our country’s poisonous monopoly problem at the root. His administration (following organizations including Food & Water Action) sounded the alarm on how meatpackers use their market power to raise prices and profits. At the expense of both families and farmers, meat giants have seen skyrocketing profits since the start of the pandemic.

In 2021, Biden ushered in the biggest crackdown on monopolies in decades. That included directing the USDA to issue new rules to protect farmers and ranchers against corporate abuses. He also urged the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice to improve merger guidelines, which guide agency evaluations on the risks of mergers and whether they’ll step in to stop them.

A second Trump term jeopardizes this progress. The former president seemed only interested in tackling monopolies if it involved companies he had beef with. A second Biden term would steady the course on this work, which is essential to the health and economic well-being of families, workers, and farmers.

3. Allowing More Toxic Chemicals and Dangerous Water Water Pollution

The U.S. has a massive toxic chemical problem. For too long, our government has allowed corporations to make and sell products that pollute our water and endanger our health. The EPA is supposed to protect us from these harms — but Trump de-fanged the agency throughout his presidency.

The administration weakened regulations and enforcement for toxic chemicals and paved the way for new ones to enter the market. It halted bans for chemicals the EPA had already found dangerous. According to whistleblowers, Trump’s EPA bent over backward to accommodate corporations that want to profit from their toxic products as soon as possible. 

In contrast, Biden has taken major strides in protecting our health and drinking water. For instance, his EPA finalized new rules for regulating PFAS forever chemicals and proposed new lead-in-water rules.

For years, community activists and groups like Food & Water Action have demanded more protective policies. While these rules aren’t strong enough and we still have a long way to go, Biden has taken unprecedented steps in the right direction.

We Need to Defend Our Livable Future at the Polls

Over the past few years, we have won incredible victories that lay the groundwork for securing a livable future for all. We know we have the power to continue making huge strides. But if Trump returns to office, our work will become much harder. We can expect some massive steps backward that will further jeopardize our livable future.

This is underscored by the fact that Trump has sunk deep into the pockets of polluting corporations. The oil and gas industry is one of the top donors to the former president’s campaign. He pocketed $7.37 million last year from Big Oil — 10 times more than Biden. Trump also took in triple the amount of donations from agribusiness compared to Biden.

Though Biden has not come close to taking the action required to adequately address the climate emergency, we have made some progress with the potential for more, bolder action in a second term. While Trump can more easily ignore us, Biden can’t — he’s accountable to us, his base.

This year’s LNG pause showed that we can and do move the President to act. We’d lose that power with Trump behind the wheel.

That’s why Food & Water Action is going all-in on get-out-the-vote ahead of November. We know how to mobilize folks across the country to vote on the issues that matter to them. It’s gotten us amazing wins, and we’re poised to win more this year. But we need your help. 

Help us fight for our livable future and keep Trump out of the White House!

End Fossil Fuels Pledge: Candidates Promising Bold Climate Action

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The science couldn’t be clearer: in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change, we need to rapidly transition off fossil fuels and onto 100% renewable energy. To do that, we need elected officials at every level of government who will oppose any expansion of fossil fuels and fight for real climate solutions. 

We know that the climate crisis can’t be solved while still depending on coal, oil, and gas, so we’re exposing Capture and Storage (CCS) — the fossil fuel industry’s biggest scheme. Right now, the federal government is planning to spend billions of dollars on this technology, which has never fully succeeded in capturing emissions. Read more on the carbon capture scam here.

This year, Food & Water Action is asking candidates to take the pledge to stand against fossil fuel industry schemes and help us lead the transition to renewable energy.

Pledge Language

I accept the science that says humankind’s use of fossil fuels is the primary driver of dangerous global climate change.

Therefore, as a candidate for elected office, I pledge to put people and the planet before corporate profits by leading efforts to stop new fossil fuel development and achieve a just transition to 100% clean, renewable energy. The catastrophic impact of fossil fuels on public health and climate change-driven extreme weather events shows that we must act now.

If elected, I will 

  • oppose any policies that will expand or extend fossil fuel production, use, or transport, including carbon capture and hydrogen, which will keep us dependent on oil and gas. 
  • advance efforts to quickly transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, including policies to increase electrification and energy efficiency;
  • support efforts to address the toxic legacy of fossil fuels in our communities, especially those most impacted including indigenous peoples, communities of color, low low-income and rural communities;
  • support the declaration of a national climate emergency.

Are you a candidate for elected office? Sign the pledge here.

Current List of Signers

Has your candidate taken the pledge?

  • Check back soon for our first round of signers!

Get Involved

Two young volunteers stand with signs that read "100% Renewables now!" and "Off fossil fuels." They stand in front of a building with a poster that reads "New York State Senator John C. Liu 11th Senate District" in the window.
Food & Water Action volunteers ahead of a meeting with New York State Senator John C. Liu.

Getting candidates to sign the pledge is an important way to educate leaders on climate solutions and identify the candidates who will fight for them, if elected. Food & Water Action volunteers will be asking candidates in their communities to sign the pledge throughout the 2024 election cycle. 

Help us recruit more candidates to take the pledge!

Questions? Email: [email protected]

Candidates listed on this page have signed the End Fossil Fuels Candidate Pledge. Signing this pledge does not constitute an endorsement by Food & Water Action or any other organization.

National Environmental Groups Endorse Luz Rivas for Congress

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A group of national environmental advocacy organizations is endorsing Assemblywoman Luz Rivas’ campaign for California’s 29th Congressional District. Food & Water Action, Oil Change U.S., Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund, Friends of the Earth Action, Zero Hour and Climate Hawks Vote spoke out in support of Assemblywoman Rivas’ bid. Rivas is running for the vacant seat left by retiring Congressman Antonio Cárdenas. She began her career as an electrical engineer, eventually winning a seat in California’s State Assembly where she would chair the Natural Resources committee.  

Friends of the Earth Action Government and Political Affairs Director Ariel E. Moger said: “Friends of the Earth Action is elated to endorse Luz Rivas, an incredibly effective elected leader and environmental justice advocate. Her experience and expertise prove she would be an invaluable champion for people and the planet in Washington. We sincerely hope that California voters will join us in supporting Rivas’ bid for Congress.”  

Food & Water Action Political Director Sam Bernhardt said:  “Luz Rivas has an unmatched understanding of the dangers of scam policies like carbon capture and sequestration, and she has the background in engineering to serve as the expert spokesperson we need in the nation’s capital where, unfortunately, far too many elected officials remain uneducated on the issue.”  

Oil Change U.S. Political Director Collin Rees said: “Luz Rivas has a deep understanding of environmental injustice and a fierce vision for a bold, people-centered approach to ending the fossil fuel era and building a world where all can thrive. We need more members of Congress with Assemblymember Rivas’s understanding of the harms of carbon capture and storage and other harmful fossil fuel industry scams.”

Center for Biological Diversity Action California Political Director Karuna Jaggar said: “Luz Rivas has a remarkable record of success during her time in the California legislature, and she’ll certainly bring that fierce dedication to Congress. Her background in engineering and deep understanding of climate science will prove critical as we fight to avoid the worst harms of the climate catastrophe. Rivas is exactly the type of person we need in Congress, and we’re proud to endorse her.”

Zero Hour Executive Director Zanagee Artis said: “Luz Rivas boasts a remarkable understanding of the scientific underpinnings of the climate crisis and will be the champion for environmental justice that California’s 29th district needs in Congress. We have no doubt that she will lead with both people and planet at the forefront of her decision-making.”

Climate Hawks Vote Political Director RL Miller said: “Luz Rivas is a rare combination of working class, environmental justice heart, and climate science smarts. We’re looking forward to working with her in Congress. I’ve known Luz and worked with her in the California legislature, where she’s been an effective lawmaker championing solid science-based policies.”  

Friends of the Earth (Action), Inc. fights for transformational environmental policy and pushes political discourse to center justice and the environment. Friends of the Earth (Action), Inc. is the 501(c)(4) affiliate of Friends of the Earth U.S., but these organizations’ names are not interchangeable. This news release is from Friends of the Earth (Action), Inc., not Friends of the Earth. 

Food & Water Action, the political and lobbying arm of the national advocacy group Food & Water Watch, mobilizes people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people’s health, communities and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.

Oil Change U.S. is dedicated to supporting real climate leadership, exposing the true costs of fossil fuels, and building a just, equitable, and renewable energy future in the United States. We work to demand political candidates and elected officials reject fossil fuel money, end fossil fuel subsidies, oppose new pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure, and support a just transition and a Green New Deal.

The Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund is a national nonprofit organization that advocates for legislation and legislators that will advance a progressive environmental agenda. The Action Fund is the 501(c)(4) affiliate of the Center for Biological Diversity, but these organizations’ names are not interchangeable. This news release is from the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund, not the Center for Biological Diversity.

Zero Hour is a youth-led movement creating entry points, training, and resources for new young activists and organizers (and adults who support our vision) wanting to take concrete action around climate change. Together, we are a movement of unstoppable youth organizing to protect our rights and access to the natural resources and a clean, safe, and healthy environment that will ensure a livable future where we not just survive, but flourish.

Climate Hawks Vote works to build grassroots political power for the climate movement…and we win our races. 

Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Food & Water Action Endorses Clarence Lam for Congress

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The national environmental advocacy group Food & Water Action is endorsing State Senator Clarence Lam’s campaign for Congress (MD–03). 

The group endorsed Sen. Lam based on his long track record of fighting for the environment. In his time in the state legislature, Lam introduced legislation to ban fracking chemicals, regulate the pesticide chlorpyrifos, stop oil trains from running through Baltimore, and strengthen Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.

Lam’s background as a medical doctor and public health specialist will provide a much-needed voice of authority in Congress to speak on the impacts of pollution. 

In endorsement interviews, Lam committed to supporting a ban on oil and liquefied natural gas exports, as well as fighting climate scams like carbon capture.

Food & Water Action Political Director Sam Bernhardt said:

“Clarence Lam has been a champion for the people of Maryland, working tirelessly to protect Maryland’s families from harmful pollution. He has proven himself willing to take on the biggest polluting industries, no matter how powerful they are. We know he will use that same energy to be a champion for the American people as a member of Congress.”

2024: The Good, the Bad, and What Comes Next

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by Mia DiFelice

As we head into another election year, it’s no secret we face massive challenges. Our warming climate is plunging us into dangerous, unknown territory. More climate- and election-denying extremists are grasping for even more power. 

But at the same time, we’re gaining incredible ground. The past few years have seen exciting progress and amazing victories. Our movement is growing, and so is our power.

In 2024, Food & Water Action has a strategy for building on those victories and securing new ones. With your help, we can fight to defend a livable future and elect the leaders we need to support us.

Here, we’re breaking down the good we’re building on, the bad we’re fighting, and how exactly we’ll do both.

The Good: A Growing Movement for Climate Action and Progressive Champions

When Food & Water Action began this work, climate was on the margins of politics. Over the past few years, that has changed dramatically.

This progress was on full display in the 2020 presidential elections. All the major Democratic candidates tried to outdo each other on who had the boldest climate plan. Then, climate — especially fracking — played a central role during Trump and Biden’s general election contest. 

The ground swelling of grassroots organizing and growing popular support for bold climate action made this possible. In the streets and at the polls, people are enthusiastically supporting climate action and climate champions. 

We saw this last summer when Biden approved Willow, a carbon bomb drilling project in Alaska. Online and in-person organizing, especially from young people, condemned the administration. And though Willow went through, we’re seeing the administration re-evaluate its drilling policy and slow down approvals.

Fights like Willow have shown the power of people showing up and making noise. We’re confident we can build on that momentum in the 2024 elections. Already, we are proud to endorse Laura Friedman in California and Jamal Bowman in New York in this year’s Congressional races. And our work on this front is only beginning. 

Climate isn’t just big on the national level—the number of climate champions winning at all levels of government is growing. Last year, we were proud to support Sara Innamorato for Allegheny County Executive, one of the most powerful positions in Pennsylvania.

With her win, we built on the ground we laid in 2022, as we helped Western PA Representatives Summer Lee and Chris Deluzio get to Congress. And we proved again that we could get a climate champion elected in the heart of fracking country. 

The Bad: Rising Stakes for Our Planet and Democracy

We face so many intertwining crises that threaten our health, our livelihoods, and the planet we share. Global average temperatures are reaching new heights, and new fossil fuel projects continue to gain steam. Private companies are poaching our water, and corporations are polluting and draining it. Meanwhile, Big Ag and Big Oil continue raking in profits, while families struggle to make ends meet.

Right now, Congress has way too many lawmakers poised to worsen these problems. In fact, they’ve made their plans clear. If they had their way, they’d cut funding to renewable energy and grid expansions, gut environmental protections, and drill even more.

That’s in great part because of the millions they’re pocketing from polluting corporations. And that same cash is already flooding this election cycle.

The oil and gas industry alone has so far sent $11.4 million to Congressional candidates, and it spent $30.9 million during the last election cycle. As a result, many lawmakers are more concerned with preserving profits than serving the people.

What’s more, the Republican Party — which currently controls the House — has proven itself incapable of productive policymaking. Last year, it pushed the House to the teetering edge of a government shutdown. Then, it ground lawmaking to a halt by booting Speaker Kevin McCarthy and bickering for weeks over his replacement.

And as Congress approaches its new deadlines for must-pass spending bills, we’re bracing ourselves for more chaos.

To defend our food, water, and climate, we need to boot right-wing extremists from office and elect leaders that have our interests — not corporations’ — in mind.

What Comes Next: Building Power in the 2024 Elections

Since it’s an election year, we can expect most lawmaking to stall. However, Congress must negotiate several of last year’s must-pass spending bills in 2024. We can make a difference by advocating to embed our priorities in these bills.

For example, Congress extended the 2023 Farm Bill deadline to September of this year. With the extra time, we’ll continue working with our Fair Farm Bill Action Team, pushing for a Farm Bill that puts families and farmers before Big Ag.

Additionally, we’re helping to pave the way for victories up and down the ballot in November. We’re going all-in on Get-Out-the-Vote. Door-knocking, phone calls, and even everyday conversations with family and friends are crucial to this work.

With your help, we can take back power from right-wing extremists, end the chaos in the House, elect more progressives and climate champions, and defend our democracy.

We also need to keep the focus on state and local races as well as the national ones. Many of these races, like Sara Innamorato’s, can have immediate impacts in people’s backyards. They can shut down factory farms, defend water systems, and ban fracking and other polluting industries at the local level. And they build the necessary foundations for sweeping, national change.

This year, we’re fighting to keep climate deniers, fossil-fuel puppets, and corporate authoritarians from taking power nationwide. But we’re not just playing defense.

We know that to truly change our climate trajectory and protect our food and water, we need folks in the halls of power who will stand with us and work with us. And we know we can build even more people power to make that happen.

We’re making 2024 our year.