work for equity
Help reduce how climate change is hitting the "poorest first and worst" (UNESCO). Work together to reverse the disproportionate impacts of worsening floods, droughts, hurricanes, etc. on "frontline" communities.
Frontline communities, often drawn along lines of race and class, disproportionately bear the brunt of a changing climate. These burdens are not abstract ideas: they are the reality of the food people eat, the air they breathe, and where they live, work, and play. Climate justice means the fair treatment of people in these communities, including equitable distribution of climate risk and remediation as well as leadership opportunities for community members to drive solutions.
Understand how worsening floods, droughts, heat waves, hurricanes, and disease are affecting the “poorest first and worst” (UNESCO, The Economist, The Lancet, Geophysical Research Letters). Explore issues of climate justice (see EPA and NAACP ), and how they affect people in your community and nation. Who makes decisions about climate change? Who gets access or resources? Look at cases of how climate change is affecting the world’s most vulnerable populations right now, in Puerto Rico, Bangladesh, Haiti, along the U.S. Gulf Coast, and in many other places. For example, in the United States people who die during heat waves are more likely to be of color (American Journal of Epidemiology, Epidemiology). Communities of color are almost universally subject to more risk during, and receive poorer-quality response after hurricanes (sources).
Hurricane Ike: Impact across cultural groups.
Hurricane Harvey: Low-income communities hit hardest.
Injustice is systemic — it’s not just a few “bad apples” ruining everyone’s day. Take a hard look at how our individual actions as consumers, voters, or bystanders contribute to the current situation, and where they can help shift it.
Frontline communities most affected by climate change should have a voice in response and finding solutions. Are your local, regional, and national governments seeking and respecting those leaders? Are their climate response plans equitable?
Bring climate justice into discussions you're part of at work, in service groups, and with local government. Push for equitable decisions and processes, and to include frontline communities. Listen to people on the front line, who have valuable lived experiences.
Look for workshops on disrupting racism — universities, communities of faith, and activist groups may offer them in forums near you.
Urge your local community to integrate equity into its climate action plan.
in your city's
Although a key goal of the plan was to achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2030, original drafts did not account for equity concerns. Responding to community input facilitated by JTC, the City added objectives to:
For example, the plan now considers how non-homeowners lack the opportunity to invest in on-home solar and reduce their long-term energy costs. And the City is aware that many rental properties exhibit far lower energy efficiency ratings than other properties, which may result in higher energy costs for low-income people.
Participate in or donate to nonprofit organizations and civil rights groups engaged in climate, grassroots renewable energy groups, community gardens, and other projects that are led by people of color and frontline communities.
Consider using a platform like ioby, Kiva, or Global Giving to support individual and neighborhood projects that make places greener, healthier, and safer, and help local leaders become agents of positive change.
Supporting food and water security in Atebes, Ethiopia. A crowdfunding campaign to finance “victory gardens” in Atebes was started by Tsegay Wolde-Georgis of the Consortium for Capacity Building (CCB), CU Boulder.
The project began by supplying students and farmers with vegetable seeds and apple seedlings for testing using clay pot irrigation. The community-led project has sparked cultivation of high-value fruit and vegetables, erosion control, and improved water supplies in an area where land degradation and climate change had exacerbated drought and soil erosion. Read reports from the project on GlobalGiving.org.
There are direct links between climate justice and the education, health care, and power available to women. Supporting women and girls has strong ripple effects in families and communities. Educated and empowered women generate prosperity throughout their local systems, head healthier families, and gain the resilience to respond to changes in climate and care for pressured natural systems (Dankelman et al report PDF file, Project Drawdown, TED article and video). Work and donate toward supporting and educating girls here and abroad.
The Roddenberry Foundation will devote half its $1 million prize in 2018 to organizations working toward girls’ education and women’s rights. The foundation is funding top solutions to climate change as ranked by Project Drawdown, a group that has intensively studied the best ways to reduce carbon emissions.
Environmental justice, explained (4 min). We already know that pollution and climate change negatively affect people’s health and quality of life. But we’re not always clear about which people are most exposed and impacted (Grist).
Greening the ghetto (18 min). Majora Carter (Activist for environmental justice, Consultant on urban revitalization strategy) details her fight for environmental justice in the South Bronx -- and shows how minority neighborhoods suffer most from flawed urban policy (TED Talk).
Why climate change is a threat to human rights (22 min). Mary Robinson (President of Ireland, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights) asks us to join the movement for worldwide climate justice (TED Talk).
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