The Just Transition Alliance is adding an environmental justice perspective to the debate around climate change solutions
The evidence is overwhelming: climate change will change our all of lives dramatically. But the harmful effects won’t be shared equally. They are most devastating to people in urban centers, coastal regions and those dependent upon subsistence fishing. These populations, in the United States and across the globe, are overwhelmingly people of color.
But the world’s poorest people and people of color have been largely left out of the discussion about adapting to a world affected by disruptive climate change. And not only are they unequally affected, they also have the fewest resources to deal with the effects.
These communities are often already burdened with poor air quality and the corresponding health effects, including asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Rising temperatures means more extreme events of every kind-drought, storms, hurricanes, tornados, forest fires, and deadly heat waves. This is why it’s so critical that people who will be harmed the most get a voice in finding solutions to global climate change.
To address this, the Environmental Justice Leadership Forum on Climate Change, is a coalition of organizations working together to ensure that national climate change policies are just, responsible and sane. The Forum has developed policy proposals that address climate change fairly and effectively. We advocate for policies and programs that protect the most vulnerable communities of our country and demanding action to create a just transition to a clean, renewable energy economy and future.
We’re also part of the Environmental Justice Climate Change initiative, a diverse group of U.S. environmental justice, climate justice, religious, policy, and advocacy networks working together to promote a climate policy based on justice. Until recently, the national and international debate didn’t consider the disproportionate harm of global climate disruption on Indigenous Peoples who face losing more of their land and People of Color in the inner city as well due to rising air pollution contributing to greater rates of asthma and other chronic diseases.
Real solutions- not greenwashing
The Just Transition Alliance has helped create a position opposing carbon trading. We’re showing why false solutions like offsetting carbon from vehicles by planting trees, and making fuels from food crops only benefit the fossil fuel industry.
Under carbon trading programs, energy companies and others that release greenhouse gases can either agree to reduce their carbon emissions or buy the right to keep polluting. First these polluters make money by causing the climate crisis, and then turning around and claiming to solve it- while profiting! In some cases, genetically engineered trees are planted as “offsets”. But they not only threaten local biodiversity, but also cause displacement of indigenous communities and undermine their livelihood.
We are also advocating broadening the discussion around green jobs beyond sustainable energy jobs to include the greening of chemical manufacturing, janitorial, farmwork, and much more.
The Just Transition Alliance is a coalition of labor, economic justice activists, environmental justice activists, Indigenous people and working-class people of color. The organizations that comprise Just Transition Alliance are the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Canadian Communications, Energy, and Paper Workers International Union, Farmworker Network for Economic and Environmental Justice, Indigenous Environmental Network, Northeast Environmental Justice Network, Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice, and the United Steel Workers of America. Together, the Just Transition Alliance embodies the process of people of color, Indigenous peoples, workers, and unions in polluting industries in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. addressing environmental and economic justice issues together. Read about our principles .
José T. Bravo, Executive Director, [email protected]
José is a leader in Californian and national chemicals policy reform work, and Green Chemistry as a member of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families and Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy (CHANGE). CHANGE is an alliance of health, environmental, labor, resource organizations and EJ organizations throughout California. Also, José is on the steering committee of the State Alliance for Federal Reform of Chemicals Policy (SAFER). SAFER is an alliance of organizations in key states working to create a pre-market testing system and regulation for all chemicals. José works directly with Environmental Justice (EJ) Communities and Labor (Organized and Unorganized). José’s work in social justice issues is rooted in his upbringing in the Southern California farm fields alongside both his parents. José has also worked on immigrant rights issues since his days as a student organizer in the 80’s to the present. José has participated in the Environmental Justice movement since 1990, over the years he has gained recognition as a national and international leader in the EJ movement. José is also serves on the board of Communities for a Better Environment.
Dr. Jenice L. View, Training and Education Director, [email protected]
Jenice is an Assistant Professor of Educational Transformation. For more than twenty years, Jenice has worked with a variety of nongovernmental organizations to create space for the voices that are often excluded from public policy considerations: women, people of color, poor urban and rural community residents, and especially youth. She has also been an educator in a variety of classroom and community settings, including as a middle school humanities teacher at a DC public charter school, as the education and training director of a national environmental justice and labor organization, and as a professional development trainer of classroom teachers.
She is a co-editor of Putting the Movement Back Into Civil Rights Teaching, winner of the 2004 Philip Chinn award from the National Association of Multicultural Education. She has presented workshops and presentations in a variety of national and international settings on the subjects of popular education, labor education, environmental justice, youth development, and the civil rights education. A native of Washington, DC, she has a B.A. in economics and international relations from Syracuse University, an MPA-URP in development studies and urban and regional planning from Princeton University, and a Ph.D. in education from the Union Institute and University.
David Gonzalez, Program Associate, [email protected]
David graduated from California State University San Marcos with a BA in Human Development, and has worked with low income high school students in the GEAR UP program. He is fluent in English and Spanish.
Karina Flores, Office Administrator, [email protected]
Karina manages daily operations including scheduling, meeting logistics, and accounting. Previously Karina volunteered as an education access community organizer. She is fluent in English and Spanish.
Board of Directors
WE ACT for Environmental Justice
Northeast Environmental Justice Network
New York, NY
Farmworker Justice Network
United Steelworkers of America
Indigenous Environmental Network
Centro de Investigación y Solidaridad Obrera
Mexico City, Mexico
Pam Tau Lee
Coordinator of Public Programs
Labor Occupational Health Project
San Francisco, CA
Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice
This post was written by Marie Venner