WHAT is Climate Justice? Climate Justice advocates to dissolve and alleviate the unequal burdens created by climate change. As a form of environmental justice, climate justice involves the fair treatment of all people and freedom from discrimination with the creation of policies and projects that address climate change and the systems that create climate change and perpetuate discrimination.
WHO is climate change affecting the most? Climate change is fundamentally an issue of human rights and environmental justice. With rising temperatures, human lives–particularly in people of color, low-income, and Indigenous communities–are affected by compromised health, financial burdens, and social and cultural disruptions. Persons living in Climate Justice areas are the first to experience the negative impacts of climate change such as heat-related illness and death, respiratory illness, infectious diseases, unaffordable rises in energy costs, and extreme natural disasters. Not only do they bear disproportionate burdens from climate change itself, but also from ill-designed policies to prevent climate change and the side effects of the energy systems that cause it as well.
WHERE do we need Climate Justice? Climate justice organizers are working strategically at the centers of injustice, in cities and communities across the U.S. Climate injustice affects communities both locally and globally. In the U.S., a vast majority of low-income, communities of color are concentrated in urban centers in the Southern United States and along coastal regions–areas at high risk of flooding and major storms, and that have a history of substandard air quality. For more information, visit http://www.ejcc.org/.
Clearwater, in partnership with Citizens for Equal Environmental Protection of the Hudson Valley (CEEP), a community organization dedicated to securing equal environmental protection for all residents in the Lower Hudson River Valley, is now working to assess environmental and health impacts in the environmental justice community of Peekskill as part of a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) grant.
Along with the Peekskill Environmental Justice Council, the two organizations collaborated to identify and research some of the most prominent sources of pollution in the City of Peekskill, as well as key environmental assets, which need to be protected and equitably accessed.
Over the course of two years, CEEP and Clearwater worked with the Peekskill Environmental Justice Council (PEJC) to review existing health data, and assess any disproportionate impacts on communities of color, ethnicity or low-income populations. An updated version of Clearwater’s 1993 Angler Survey was administered to determine if people are consuming fish from the River, to understand their reasons for fishing, and to determine if they were aware of health advisories for various contaminants found in fish caught in this section of the Hudson River.
Click here to view the Peekskill Community Based-Environmental Justice Inventory (CBEJI)
As an extension of this project, Clearwater is implementing a Climate Justice initiative in four Hudson Valley cities with funding from a highly competitive EPA Environmental Justice Small Grant awarded last year. This grant will utilize the template created by the Peekskill CBEJI to assess potential environmental, economic, public health, and safety impacts of climate change on communities of color and low income in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Beacon, and Peekskill, each of which have waterfronts vulnerable to sea-level rise along their shorelines.
For more information about the CBEJI or Climate Justice grant, please contact Karla Raimundi, Esq., at email@example.com or 845-265-8080 ext. 7159.