Environmental & Climate Justice
Environmental injustice, including the proliferation of climate change, systematically impacts communities of color and low-income communities in the U.S. and around the world.
Environmental and climate justice is a civil rights issue. We all depend on the physical environment and its bounty.
Toxic facilities, like coal-fired power plants and incinerators, emit mercury, arsenic, lead, and other contaminants into the water, food, and lungs of communities. Many of these same facilities also emit carbon dioxide and methane — the No. 1 and No. 2 drivers of climate change. But not all people are equally impacted. Race — even more than class — is the number one indicator for the placement of toxic facilities in this country hit by climate change.
Ahead of the 2023 United Nations climate negotiations (COP28), 650 scientists published an open letter to President Biden, calling for the United States to take climate action for meaningful, comprehensive, and necessary progress. It's critical that this year's negotiations deliver real advancements, as we are rapidly running out of time to limit some of the worst impacts of climate change. Additionally, solutions must center communities most impacted by climate and environmental injustices, and not perpetuate sacrifice zones where Black, Brown, Indigenous, and low-income communities are overburdened with toxic pollution.
Tell the Biden administration you want to see bold climate action at COP28, including a fast, fair phaseout of fossil fuels; ramped up climate finance; operationalization of the international Loss and Damage Fund; and zero tolerance for fossil fuel industry interference with the process.
Black communities continue to bear the brunt of environmental injustices and safe drinking water violations. The NAACP has led efforts with local branches and units regarding the need for clean and safe drinking water in many Black communities across the country.
We're continuing the conversation on the need for safe water to continue to draw attention to places like Jackson, Mississippi, which have faced decades of disinvestment.
The NAACP Center for Environmental and Climate Justice and the Louisiana State Conference and its branches and units are deeply concerned by the steps that Louisiana has taken regarding the proposed permit for carbon dioxide management and its potential implications on water quality and historically excluded communities.
The NAACP offers recommendations regarding the proposed Class VI Program Revision Application submitted by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources Office of Conservation, Underground Injection Control (UIC) to the EPA for primacy and to include Class VI geologic sequestration.
The Jackson crisis is part of "the conversations about how Black communities are deprioritized when it comes to ensuring that there's infrastructure planning, ensuring there is resiliency built within the communities," said Abre' Conner, director of environmental and climate justice at the NAACP.
Running water could not be guaranteed by city officials, since the water pressure had dropped throughout the entire water system. The failure of the main water treatment plant in Jackson, Mississippi, means 180,000 people in the capital city and its surrounding areas will be without reliable drinking water for the foreseeable future.
President of the NAACP Derrick Johnson addressed Governor Reeves on Twitter. "We demand on behalf of the Jackson communities that you request federal aid from @FEMA and other agencies to ensure people have access to a basic human right: WATER," read Johnson's tweet.
Black communities continue to live close to natural gas facilities and will continue to have a higher cancer risk without pollutant levels being mitigated through the operation of this proposed rule. Air in many Black communities already violates various air quality standards and at least 6.7 million Black people live near oil refineries.
Communities must continue to have the ability to monitor pollution in their communities. The timeline is too long between the notification of a high level of pollution within a community and responsive action. Nothing is normal regarding high levels of emissions and more defined language is required to explain the documentation of emissions.- Abre Conner, Director, Center for Environmental and Climate Justice
The EPA has an obligation to ensure and strengthen the operation of community monitoring of methane and other emissions. For every hour of emissions, the atmosphere is harmed and neighboring communities are at risk of an explosion. Defining the language for documenting emissions and rewarding notifiers for protecting communities gets us one step closer to prioritizing Black communities.
Environmental injustice is about people in Detroit, Ohio, Chicago, Memphis, Kansas City, and elsewhere who have died and others who are chronically ill because of exposure to toxins.
Climate change is the new normal of more severe storms, like hurricanes Sandy and Isaac, which devastated communities from Boston to Biloxi. Our sisters and brothers in the Bahamas, and Inuit communities in Kivalina, Alaska, and communities in Thibodaux, Louisiana, and beyond, will risk property losses to rising sea levels in the next few years.
Climate change and environmental injustice: we work to address the many practices that are harming communities nationwide and worldwide. We fight for the policies needed to rectify these impacts and advance a society that fosters sustainable, cooperative, regenerative communities that uphold all rights for all people in harmony with the earth.
We combine action on shutting down coal plants and other toxic facilities, as well as the building of new toxic facilities, at the local level with advocacy to strengthen development, monitoring, and enforcement of regulations at federal, state, and local levels. This also includes a focus on corporate responsibility and accountability.
We work at the state level on campaigns to pass renewable energy and energy efficiency standards while simultaneously working to provide safer, more sustainable mechanisms for managing energy needs for our communities and beyond. We also support small businesses, unions, and others to develop demonstration projects to ensure that communities of color are accessing revenue generation opportunities in the new energy economy.
We work to ensure that communities are equipped to engage in sustainability and climate action planning that integrates policies and practices on advancing food justice, advocating for transportation equity, upholding civil and human rights in emergency management, and facilitating participatory democracy.