Support for Civilian Climate Corps

Number 2022-05

WHEREAS, the Civilian Conservation Corps established in 1933 planted more than three billion trees and constructed trails and shelters in more than 800 parks nationwide during its nine years of existence; and

WHEREAS, the Civilian Conservation Corps put 3 million unemployed young men to work; and

WHEREAS, while demonstrating the potential for success of a large-scale public works program, the Civilian Conservation Corps also engaged in racial segregation and excluded women; and

WHEREAS, young Black unemployment rates were double the national average in 1933 and despite the clear need, the federal government restricted Black enrollment to less than 10 percent of total corps enrollment; and

WHEREAS, President Biden’s Executive Order 14008 seeks to conserve and restore public lands and waters, bolster community resilience, increase reforestation, increase carbon sequestration in the agricultural sector, protect biodiversity, improve access to recreation, and address the changing climate; and

WHEREAS, data from the Economic Policy Institute demonstrates that unemployment rates have peaked at unprecedented levels due to the COVID-19 pandemic and racial and ethnic minorities compared with white (non-Hispanic) workers have experienced higher rates of unemployment, and women have also had to leave their jobs in large numbers; and

WHEREAS, degradation of natural resources is pushing thousands of American wildlife species toward extinction and threatening the clean air, clean water, and food supplies that every person in the country needs to survive; and

WHEREAS, our public lands, urban, rural and coastal communities, forests, and wetlands are in urgent need of conservation and restoration; and

WHEREAS, scientists warn that impacts from climate change that destroy habitat and force more interactions between humans and disease-carrying animals may increase the risks of pandemics by making it easier for deadly pathogens—including COVID-19, Zika, Lyme disease, Ebola, and SARS—to make the leap from the natural world into the human world; and

WHEREAS, the rapid loss of natural areas in recent decades has disproportionately impacted communities of color and low-income communities that suffer from an abundance of deforested urban vacant land, and too few parks and green spaces, many of which are poorly maintained; and

WHEREAS, studies have uncovered that race, income, and age often pose a barrier to equitable access to nature and roundtable discussions around access and safety, conducted by the environmental justice team at the National Wildlife Federation, have highlighted that lack of representation, physical safety, and history also pose unique challenges for Black community members and other racial and ethnic minorities.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the National Wildlife Federation, at its Annual Meeting assembled June 8-12, does hereby encourage relaunching a modern 21st century Civilian Climate Corps, consistent with President Biden’s Executive Order 14008, which will provide millions of stable jobs for people of all ages, genders, and disability statuses, including returned citizens and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, particularly in underserved communities and that recognizes past discrimination; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Wildlife Federation and its affiliates support the implementation of accountability mechanisms to prevent discrimination and reporting mechanisms on Civilian Climate Corps enrollment and projects to ensure that resources are reaching the people and communities most in need; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Wildlife Federation and its affiliates support a 21st century Civilian Climate Corps that provides a living wage, benefits, childcare, and opportunities for further education and jobs training to all workers and a commitment to economic inclusion and business opportunities for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and Pacific Islander communities and women-owned businesses; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Wildlife Federation and its affiliates support at-scale jobs programs to confront the interrelated climate, biodiversity, and environmental justice crises which demand immediate attention; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the National Wildlife Federation and its affiliates support specific policy requirements to ensure that a 21st century Civilian Climate Corps is inclusive and advances equity, especially aggressive efforts to recognize and address historical disparities across race, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation in all programs related to this effort.