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Environmental Justice Resources to Dig Into on Earth Day

Publish Date: April 20th, 2023

Grab a seat and a snack and dive into some great videos about climate and environmental justice with us! We’re all affected by the issues addressed in these talks (whether we realize it or not), so one way we can start to fight back is by understanding how everything is connected.

Before we get started… we know that digging in can be challenging; we're on a learning journey ourselves and recognize that everyone is diving in from a different level, perspective, and lived experience. But we hope that any of you reading this can take it as an invitation to come as you are and join us on the journey.

To get you started, here’s a list we’ve curated:

Environmental Justice Explained – Grist (3:33 mins): We’re kicking it off with a quick video that summarizes environmental racism. We’ve learned that in doing climate justice work, having a strong foundation of terms and understanding of history is a great place to start and revisit frequently.

Environmental Justice – Van Jones (12:58 mins): “We are passionate about rescuing some dead materials from the landfill, but sometimes not as passionate about rescuing living beings, living people.” Van Jones discusses pollution and how it disproportionately affects poor people, not just the environment in this TedTalk.

Racism and Climate Change are About You – Dr. Atyia Martin: (17:18 mins):“Climate change affects us all, but it doesn’t affect us equally.” Dr. Atyia Martin explains how climate change and racism intersect from who makes policy and gets to be a part of the conversations to which communities are the most affected by natural disasters.

Climate Action Should Focus on Communities – Jade Begay (10:31 mins): “Are we investing our problem-solving skills, research, time, energy into the right places or are we just applying business as usual?” Jade Begay, an Indigenous rights expert, calls us in to addressing climate change with a focus on communities, not just carbon.

A New Social Contract for Global Climate Justice – Huma Yusuf (10:41 mins): “As the scale of devastation becomes apparent, the sense of climate injustice is mounting. Pakistan emits less than 1% of global greenhouse gases, and yet it is consistently among the countries most vulnerable to disasters caused by climate change.” Huma Yusuf shares her vision for global climate diplomacy where countries responsible for pollution are held accountable and developing countries bring us to a greener future.

How to Build an Equitable and Just Climate Future – Peggy Shepard (11:17 mins): “It should be no surprise that every community has a right to a clean environment, yet some are sacrifice zones – communities living on the frontlines of pollution and environmental hazards.” Peggy Shepard explains that in a more equitable climate future, community health cannot be sacrificed for the sake of development and sacrifice zones should be turned into green zones that counteract the legacy of pollution and harmful practices.

Recommended Reading:

If you’re feeling fired up about Earth Month now, you’re not alone! Here are a couple more blogs we’ve written to help you make every day Earth Day.