Keep up with climate justice by following these five organizations
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The need for climate justice — which acknowledges that environmental hazards like pollution disproportionately hurt people of color and low-income communities, and fights to correct these injustices — is a pressing concern that isn't going away anytime soon.
Increasingly, politicians are acknowledging that climate justice is integral in the battle against climate change. But long before climate justice became a buzzword, organizations have been fighting for the rights of those most affected by the devastating effects of climate change.
Below are five organizations working on the ground, both in the U.S. and abroad, fighting harmful environmental policies, listening to frontline communities, and standing up to powerful corporations. These groups also keep the public up to date on their work and climate justice developments through social media.
If you want to keep up with climate justice developments — and fight for justice yourself — follow them.
Zero Hour is a youth-led organization started by youth climate justice activist Jamie Margolin to focus on climate change and climate justice. Margolin was frustrated by how elected officials tend to ignore young people in conversations about climate change. In 2017, at age 15, she and three other co-founders started Zero Hour to center young and diverse voices.
Zero Hour focuses on intersectional solutions to climate change, like listening to the perspectives of marginalized groups (such as Indigenous people and people with disabilities) and incorporating those viewpoints into Zero Hour's actions. The group does some of its work through climate marches, summits, and social media campaigns.
Its most current campaign, Vote 4 Our Future, is a joint effort between Zero Hour and the nonprofit National Children’s Campaign. The goal is to make climate the most important issue for Americans and to train young people to educate their communities on the Green New Deal. The youth-led project includes grassroots political activism, community-led strategic partnerships, and rallies, such as virtual events on topics like fracking. The campaign is explicitly aimed at increasing voter turnout among first-time voters and youth voters of color to mobilize these communities to combat environmental racism and environmental injustice.
Tamara Roske started the Earth Guardians as an accredited high school in 1992 in Maui, Hawaii, where it centered environmental awareness and action in its core curriculum. The organization moved to Colorado in 1997 to engage more young people in its work.
Today, Earth Guardians trains youth in over 70 countries to lead climate and social justice movements through art, music, storytelling, civic engagement, and legal action. Earth Guardians is the only organization plaintiff in the class action lawsuit Juliana vs. United States, which states that the U.S. government has deprived Generation Z of its constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property through the government's actions that spur climate change.
In 2020, the organization built an online community resource center to unify Earth Guardian crews, which work on environmental issues, like pushing fracking bans and eliminating pesticides, in their communities. The group hosts in-person and virtual trainings like the Indigenous Youth Leadership Training, which brings together Indigenous youth leaders from more than 20 tribal North American nations to share information about their traditional ways of life and solutions around climate justice. The organization has also developed climate change curriculum, distributing climate lesson plans to 5 million American students in 2019.
The California Environmental Justice Alliance, which was started in 2001 through grassroots efforts, works in California to organize the people most affected by climate injustice — low-income communities and communities of color. It fights for policies to alleviate both poverty and pollution, and its Climate Justice Program (part of its overall work to fight against climate injustice) strives to push forward statewide policies that will protect these vulnerable communities, for instance, moving oil and gas drilling operations away from homes, schools, and hospitals, and phasing in renewable energy for frontline communities.
The nonprofit Amazon Watch, which was started in 1996, is focused on protecting the Amazon rainforest and advancing the human rights of the Indigenous people living in it. Amazon Watch also challenges the extraction of natural resources and promotes Indigenous climate justice solutions, like independent solar power and the capacity for Indigenous leaders (especially women) to take care of their ancestral lands. It partners with Indigenous and environmental organizations to do this work. Its ongoing campaigns include:
The Climate Justice Alliance works in the U.S. and abroad to unite more than 70 urban and rural frontline communities to fight for climate justice. Here are a few ways its members organize:
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November 9, 2020 at 06:13PM