-Ruth King, author, "Mindful of Race, Transforming Racism from the Inside Out"
"First, if you’re a person of color, particularly Black or Latino, you’re more likely to live near toxic facilities, like petrochemical companies here in Louisiana, producing toxins that shorten and impact quality of life. And then, [our communities] are on the front line of impacts from climate change, living in places where there could be more floods and a higher incidence of different [climate-related] diseases. For poor communities, there’s also not having access to health insurance or medical services. Communities of color are disproportionately affected by all of these things.”
— Dr. Beverly Wright, CEO of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Dillard University
JUNE 2020: As our world is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed so many across the globe, another pandemic has been exposed: Institutional racism caused by white supremacy. The murder of George Floyd, a black man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis, MN has caused an uprising around the world, as people protest the injustice that is at the very heart of society. As white women that have created The Flowers Are Burning, we want to express our commitment to anti-racism and to bring awareness to the ways racial injustice disproportionately affects Black, Indigenous, People of Color and low income communities. We want to bring awareness to the intersection of climate change and race...as well as providing resources for white people to learn about how to become anti-racist allies to communities of color.
"As historically white-led environmental organizations that still hold structural power today, WEC and WCV are committed to dismantling systemic racism and advancing racial equity and environmental justice in all we do. We work with the understanding that the same beliefs, practices, and systems that create and perpetuate interpersonal and institutional racism, also create and perpetuate environmental destruction. Solving one cannot be done without solving the other. There is no environmental justice without racial justice and economic justice. Until we do this, we cannot fully achieve our mission."
"We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood - it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words 'Too late.' "
—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In the U.S. Climate change disproportionately affects low-income communities and communities of color. The effects of climate change, such as extreme weather conditions, have devastating consequences for communities of color and low-income communities. These extreme weather events can displace esidents and even cause death. In the aftermath of such disasters, efforts of city officials to rebuild communities of color and low-income communities are often inadequate compared to efforts to rebuild higher-income and white communities.
“These same exploits that are causing climate change on a massive scale … are causing very immediate health problems in areas inhabited by black and brown people, You can’t afford to not care about it when you’re part of these marginalized communities.”
~Corina Newsome, a wildlife conservationist and climate activist, Georgia Southern University
"Racial justice is climate justice. That means police reform is climate policy."
~Emily Atkin, environmental writer
"The disbelievers do not believe that either climate change or racism is real. Or they do not believe they are caused by emissions of greenhouse gases or racist policies. Or they do not believe that regulating them would be better for society. All this disbelief rests on the same foundation: the transformation of science into belief. It is a foundation built from the economic, political, and ideological blocks that stand the most to lose from the aggressive reduction of carbon-dioxide emissions and racial inequities."
-Ibram X. Kendi, Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research
Resources on Environmental Justice, Racism, and Whiteness
The Principles of Environmental Justice “Environmental justice demands that public policy be based on mutual respect.” Embracing the integral connections between environmental protection and racial justice makes us better positioned to achieve our mission and win on our issues. We feel fortunate to work with and learn from others who champion work in this intersection. Below are some resources that guide our personal and organizational commitments.
The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations As the most comprehensive report on diversity in the environmental movement, this document provides perspective on the Green Ceiling, unconscious bias, and other issues around workplace diversity. A great way to understand the realities of the environmental movement in the 21st century.
SUGGESTED BOOKS: The Quest for Environmental Justice: Human Rights and the Politics of Pollution, Robert Bullard, Editor Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism from the Inside Out, Ruth King Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon for White America, Michael Eric Dyson White Fragility: Why It's so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, Robin J. Diangelo How to be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do, Jennifer Eberhardt Me and White Supremacy: A 28-Day Challenge to Combat Racism, Change the World, Layla Saad Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates The New Jim Crow Michelle Alexander