Covid-19 has destabilized our lives beyond recognition but another (in)visible pandemic has been affecting our society, economy, and earth for decades. The climate change crisis has been pushed to the background, dismissed as socialist pipe dreams, and explained away by world leaders that we entrust to guide us.
The fact that the coronavirus lockdown coincides with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day is not as ironic as it is eye-opening. For a day that hovered in the shadows in recent years, Earth Day has re-emerged as the stark reminder that protecting our planet requires so much more than separating your papers and plastics; it’s opening the discussion for fundamental change in the nature of our economy—and who is running it.
Under the cover of the Covid-19 crisis, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has put an enforcement freeze on all environmental protection laws for the indefinite future, essentially giving heavy industry license to use the pandemic as a scapegoat for otherwise illegal polluting; our elected leaders are making it easier than ever for industry to pollute our environment without repercussion.
Under the cover of the Covid-19 crisis, the EPA has put an enforcement freeze on all environmental protection laws for the indefinite future.
According to Cynthia Giles, former head of the EPA’s Office of Enforcement under the Obama administration, “[This EPA statement] tells companies across the country that they will not face enforcement even if they emit unlawful air and water pollution in violation of environmental laws, so long as they claim that those failures are in some way 'caused' by the virus pandemic. It allows them an “out” on monitoring too, so we may never know how bad the violating pollution was.”
The irony here is that these rollbacks of these environmental laws that protect clean air and water come at a time when we are at our most vulnerable to environmental health risks. Despite the evidence that higher pollution levels are linked to higher death rates from COVID-19, this canary in the coal mine falls on deaf ears.
We’ve been made aware of these warning signs for decades, yet the regulating organizations around the country ignore the imminent dangers to not only our environment, but our civil rights. Following a year of record heat, untamable wildfires, droughts, and floods around the world, we now face a virus that has caused mass unemployment and tens of thousands of deaths and the parallels between environmental and economic disaster have become glaringly obvious.
In the past several weeks, a new patchwork of policies seemingly unrelated to the pandemic have been passed under the guise of slowing the spread of coronavirus, highlighting the inequalities of those most vulnerable who are not getting the support they need.
These rollbacks of environmental laws that protect clean air and water come at a time when we are at our most vulnerable to environmental health risks.
Just earlier this week, the federal government declared it would suspend all immigration into the U.S. due to Covid-19. This decision comes at a time when families seeking asylum at the US/Mexican border have been trapped in crowded, unsafe, and unclean living environments without proper food, water, or shelter for weeks.
Conservative states like Texas, Ohio, and Alabama deemed abortions non-essential medical procedures, forcing those seeking access to cross state lines amidst stay-at-home orders, or take matters into their own hands with dangerous D.I.Y. methods.
When Congress passed the $2 trillion bailout bill in the beginning of April, it made sure that the self-employed and other independent workers could apply for loans or grants from the Small Business Administration, but explicitly denied sex workers and those in the adult entertainment industry financial aid.
There is an undeniable and disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on communities of color. The homeless, unemployed, and underemployed lack access to basic health care, health insurance, and the financial means to socially distance themselves while those without child care or paid time off face significant obstacles.
Few are likely to come out of this unscathed by the health and economic impact of the coronavirus. But none of us will escape the inevitable climate crisis if we fail to take action and invest in stronger public systems that keep the people and our planet safe in the face of instability.
What We're Doing to Help
With all that said, the last several weeks have put Momotaro Apotheca to the test. We know you’ve been put to the test as well. From the existential threat to the disruption of the minutiae of our daily lives, we’re forced to confront a reality that was certain all along: things will change. But as the world around us changes rapidly, we want you to know that we’re not. If anything, our commitment to our community and environment has only strengthened.
We will continue to be transparent about our business practices. We’ll continue to responsibly source the highest quality ingredients we can find without cutting corners. And we’ll continue to ethically run our company in order to ensure that when you make a Momotaro Apotheca purchase, you know that you’re getting the highest quality product you can find with minimal environmental impact.
We think it’s important to not only earn, but keep your trust. That’s why we use 3rd party certifications to let you know that the claims we make are backed up by a trusted source. In a time when the EPA is suspending all enforcement of environmental laws and states are limiting our civil rights, we know that the commitments we make as a responsible company are more important than ever.
Momotaro Apotheca is a committed member of 1% for the Planet. It is our promise to donate at least 1% of our proceeds to benefit environmental non-profits in support of fighting climate change.
All of our products are 100% plant based. Our supplier partners are Oregon Tilth Certified Organic, which is fully accredited with the USDA National Organic Program.
We select FSC Certified paper board for our packaging in support of sustainable forestry.
We are proud members of the Leaping Bunny program and have committed to never test our products on animals.
We will continue to build partnerships and campaigns that support the most vulnerable populations across the country. We most recently ran a campaign where all proceeds made from sales were donated to the Sex Workers Outreach Program (SWOP) to support sex workers who have been explicitly and unfairly excluded from the financial support provided by the CARE Act during the coronavirus pandemic. Read more about why supporting sex workers during this time is important.
We have also donated to Planned Parenthood to help keep their doors open to those seeking abortion; we maintain that abortion rights are human rights, and are essential operations.
Read more about our commitment to our community and our planet here.
Learn more about the changes our company has made in light of the pandemic here.
While we are unable to (temporarily) enjoy what nature has to offer as Earth Day goes digital, our goals remain the same. We must mobilize as a democracy, as a people, as one, to take meaningful actions to make a difference.
How to Remain Politically Active & Socially Conscious During a Crisis via Momotaro Apotheca
Live Stream Earth Day Live via EarthDay.org
Coronavirus brings clearer skies but darker world to 50th Earth Day via Axios