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Environmental & Climate Justice

"Despite producing a disproportionately tiny fraction of emissions, Black, brown, and Indigenous communities are left to deal with the brunt of sea level rise, polluted air and water, and exposure to toxic chemicals as a result of environmental racism and redlining. However, organizations focused on climate justice can help fill the gap that politicians and companies have created."

Izzie Ramirez

GreenLifeNH is committed to learning from local, national and global environmental & climate justice leaders and activists. We are committed to supporting their work, amplifying their voices, and highlighting the environmental justice issues in New Hampshire. Please join us by letting us know about environmental justice issues and/or organizations & activists in your community. 

Why does Climate Justice matter? Hear from the experts.

Environmental Justice

Image by Kouji Tsuru

What is Environmental Justice?

Environmental Justice is a social movement seeking to achieve the fair and equitable distribution of environmental benefits and burdens associated with economic production". The movement began in the United States in the 1980s and was heavily influenced by the American civil rights movement. 

In the United States, communities of color and low-income communities disproportionately bear the environmental burden of pollution, industrial production and processing facilities, power plants and landfills, and are hardest hit by effects of the climate crisis. Simultaneously, these communities have fewer resources to respond to the effects of these burdens, with less political power and representation, and all while facing inadequate health care and access to healthy food.  Furthermore, these communities do not receive the environmental benefits of parks, gardens and green spaces, or the leverage in which to demand these benefits. 

 

Environmental justice is defined as "a social movement seeking to achieve the fair and equitable distribution of environmental benefits and burdens associated with economic production". The movement began in the United States in the 1980s and was heavily influenced by the American civil rights movement. 

Climate Justice

"Climate justice occurs when those who have the most resources to address the climate crisis actually use them to protect vulnerable communities. Climate justice is a part of environmental justice."

- The Solutions Project

Walking in Water

What is Climate Justice?

Climate justice is a concept that addresses the just division, fair sharing, and equitable distribution of the benefits and burdens of climate change and responsibilities to deal with climate change.

Although GreenLifeNH's environmental efforts focus locally in New Hampshire it is critical to acknowledge the global impact of climate crisis especially when it comes to climate justice. Nations in the majority world (aka "developing world" or "global south") are by far the hardest hit by climate change and also the least responsible. Research from the Center for Global Development shows that industrialized nations including the United States, the European Union and Russia are overwhelmingly responsible for the climate crisis, having produced 79 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the Earth’s atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution. Climate vulnerable nations have fewer resources to combat the devastating impact of the climate disaster and leaders and activists have pressed world leaders that "words are no longer enough" as the climate crisis intensifies. At COP26Kenyan climate activist Elizabeth Wathuti's insisted: “Every moment you delay, more people will suffer.”

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Environmental Justice Organizations

“Those who are most affected and have the fewest resources to adapt to climate change are also the least responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions—both globally and within the United States.” - University of Colorado Environmental Center

We ask that you take a close look at these U.S.-based organizations - and support the ones that best align with your intentions. Help us grow this list by emailing us the official websites of environmental justice organizations you support. Thanks!

We make existing protections work harder for the people of New England. Even the strongest environmental laws are toothless until they are enforced. CLF achieves breakthrough results by pressuring federal and state agencies to enforce laws that are already on the books. Check out what CLF is doing in New Hampshire.

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350 is building a future that's just, prosperous, equitable and safe from the effects of the climate crisis.  Check out the New Hampshire chapters.

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We are a growing network of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) in Vermont who enjoy, work in, lead in, benefit from, and contribute to the four focus areas of Releaf: land, environment, agriculture, and foodways.

The Indigenous Environment Network aims to “protect the sacredness of Earth Mother from contamination and exploitation by strengthening, maintaining, and respecting Indigenous teachings and natural laws,” not just in the United States, but globally. A lot of its work is helping tribal governments develop techniques and mechanisms to exert their sovereignty in order to best protect the land.

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Black Millennials For Flint (#BM4F) is a national environmental justice and  civil rights organization with the purpose of bringing like-minded organizations together to collectively take action and advocate against the crisis of lead exposure specifically in African American & Latinx communities throughout the nation. Our roots began as a programming initiative within Thursday Network—Greater Washington Urban League Professionals led by LaTricea Adams, Founder, President and CEO of Black Millennials for Flint.

Our mission is to achieve environmental justice and healthy, sustainable communities through collective action and the law. CRPE is a national environmental justice organization providing legal, organizing, and technical assistance to grassroots groups in low-income communities and communities of color.

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The Solutions Project aims to protect disadvantaged communities. We work to create an equitable society for women, Black people, Indigenous communities, and other communities of color. As a result, society as a whole is more prepared for climate change.

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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.

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The Labor Network for Sustainability

The Labor Network for Sustainability (LNS) engages workers and communities in building a transition to a society that is ecologically sustainable and economically just. We work to foster deep relationships that help the labor movement engage in the climate movement and the climate movement understand the economics of climate change and the importance of organized labor as a key partner in confronting the climate crisis.

Rooted in our unique Frontera (border) experiences and values, Nuestra Tierra’s PEOPLE-FOCUSED mission is to ensure that marginalized communities have access to the outdoors — and that our history, values, and people are authentically reflected in public lands management.

We do this through impactful education, advocacy and empowerment.

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Every day community leaders around the Pacific Rim are finding ways to protect our planet from climate breakdown, air pollution, water loss and plastic waste. Pacific Environment nurtures these community solutions by providing local leaders with funding and expertise. We complement this movement-building by putting direct pressure on international decision-makers to amplify local voices and advance systemic environmental reform.

The Sunrise Movement is a youth movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process. We’re building an army of young people to make climate change an urgent priority across America, end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on our politics, and elect leaders who stand up for the health and wellbeing of all people.

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We use science to make change happen. The Union of Concerned Scientists is a member-supported nonprofit that’s fighting for a safer and healthier world.

We are an intergenerational, multi-racial, nationally-recognized, women of color led, grassroots organization that promotes sustainability and resiliency through community organizing, education, leadership development and cultural/artistic expression in Brooklyn, NY.

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In 1988, community activists joined forces with environmental litigators to fight for landmark changes in Northern Manhattan’s air quality. Nearly 30 years later, we have not stopped fighting for justice.


 

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Environmental Justice Posts