Day 17: Support climate justice
Today's action: Taking a climate justice journey
Today’s action is to learn about and find a way to support climate justice and environmental justice. For those of us in the US, there are at least two components to think about: climate and environmental justice in our country, and climate justice globally.
If you’re new to the subject, start with learning. Pick one or more of these:
Watch this 3 ½-minute video about environmental justice
Watch the 6-minute video (Words Have Power) about a young activist who helped shut down Connecticut’s last coal-powered plant
Read this short blog about carbon inequality or watch this 11-minute video on who should pay to fix the climate emergency
And now, make a plan for how you will support climate justice and environmental justice. A few ideas:
Commit to learning more about climate justice and environmental justice.
When you push your politicians for better climate policy, make sure you keep environmental justice as part of your asks.
Donate to an environmental justice organization (see the "looking for more" section for suggestions).
Bring a justice lens to environmental issues and your own involvement in environmental causes. For example, if you’re protesting a toxic plant in your neighborhood, good for you! But if that toxic plant then gets moved to a lower-income neighborhood, will you protest it there, too?
Why this action? Climate change is deeply unfair. While EVERYONE (yup, everyone) will be affected, the people and communities who have contributed the least to climate change are often the ones who suffer the most. Globally, the richest 10% of humanity have emitted 52% of cumulative emissions; the poorest 50% account for just 7% of emissions. Yet those poorest people and nations are already bearing the brunt of climate change, and are the least equipped to adapt. As Vanessa Nakate, a Ugandan youth climate activist, has said, “We are facing the same storm, but we are definitely in different boats.”
And a long history of environmental racism in the US (and other countries) means that communities of color suffer both from the legacy of environmental racism and from continued racism and injustices. As we work together to tackle climate change, we must remember to do it in a way that supports environmental justice.
Looking for more? Read on for more info and further related actions.
Learn and reflect:
There are tons of great organizations and movements working on climate justice and environmental justice. Check out their work (and considering donating). Examples in the US include: the Climate Justice Alliance, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, and Nuestra Tierra. If you want more, here’s a <10-minute video of WE ACT’s Executive Director discussing environmental justice and “sacrifice zones.”
Check out the Intersectional Environmentalist and their media portfolio, including videos and podcasts.
Watch Amy Goodman’s interview with Vanessa Nakate, in which they discuss how climate justice requires listening to African activists.
Climate reparations are a key component of climate justice. Learn more here; if you’re up for a longer read, check out David Wallace-Wells’s article on Climate Reparations and its relevance for thinking about carbon removal.
Read All We Can Save, an anthology of writings by 60 women, bringing both feminist and justice perspectives to climate action. And if you’re looking for children’s books with environmental and justice themes, here’s a list compiled by Oxfam.
Supporting environmental justice and climate justice also requires active work on anti-racism. What does that mean? Here’s a 5 ½ -minute video from Re-Earth Initiative on how to be actively anti-racist, and here’s a whole book on How to Be An Antiracist. There are also lots of anti-racism resources out there; here’s one list.
As suggested in this blog on supporting environmental justice every day: self-learn; elevate the voices of impacted communities; hold your representatives accountable; and use the power of boycott.
Look for opportunities to support environmental justice in your community. Are there local organizations or campaigns that you could volunteer with or otherwise support?