Climate change is one of the highest-stakes, transformative issues of our lifetime.
Everybody’s Movement: Environmental Justice and Climate Change features the perspectives and wisdom of twenty-three activists and funders who are engaged in or supporting work to connect environmental justice and climate change. In this report, these leaders from across the United States share their perspectives about how their movement can contribute to climate organizing, policy, and solutions. They also speak about how their movement can be strengthened by better integrating climate issues into the content of environmental justice.
While climate change has name recognition amidst the white noise of modern life, the success of the movement for implementing climate solutions and decreasing the concentration of carbon dioxide to 350 parts per million is far from assured. For climate change to become a priority for U.S. voters and households, for it to become everybody’s movement, a stronger connection must be made between global warming and people’s daily lives. The broad and vibrant response necessary to address climate change and serve as a counterweight to special interests in oil and coal industries requires the engagement of more people, from a wider array of society.
In addition, while many people of color and low-income communities regard climate change and the environment as priorities, the climate change movement still remains highly homogenous by race and class and significantly by gender in its leadership. Even in 2009, climate briefings held across the country consistently feature mostly male and all-white casts.
Like other pockets of environmental and conservation movements, climate change still suffers from the perception, and arguably the reality, that it is a movement led by and designed for the interests of the white, upper-middle class. Many people erroneously believe that interest in environmental issues is dependent on race, education, and class. To the contrary, growing numbers of people of color working in the environmental field and public polling demonstrate that reality often differs from conventional assumptions.
The demographic ground is fundamentally shifting and changing the U.S. population and culture in unprecedented ways. People of color and indigenous peoples now comprise one third of the U.S. population. By 2042, demographers project they will be the majority and by 2050, they will constitute 54 percent of the nation’s population.
These trends are not just numbers. They signal inevitable, transformative shifts in values, culture, and political power in American life. Fundamental changes are already being felt in
American cultural and political discourse. To ignore these historic trends and their impact on the climate change movement, seems disconnected, at best. A mono-cultural climate change movement is counter-intuitive to long-term growth and effectiveness. Strength in diversity could defuse the perception that environmentalists are a narrow, easily marginalized, out-of-touch elite. It would support their work to make policy solutions not only equitable but also transformative, creating positive economic and environmental ripple effects throughout society.
It’s always so impossible to find this video so I’m finally posting it. This is from the 2008 election. Watching this kid try to articulate how he feels about Obama winning at 0:50 makes me cry like every single time.
Tim DeChristopher, who was just released from federal custody, is best known as the man who disrupted an auction of pristine public lands. But there’s more to his story than his role as “Bidder 70.”
Before his imprisonment, DeChristopher continued to speak publicly about the need for escalation. While he didn’t berate 350.org or other climate justice groups, his message was clearly aimed at them. He criticized the movement for focusing on mass gatherings that resulted in statements rather than action.
I saw Tim DeChristopher speak at a screening of Bidder 70 last night and am deeply appreciating how he totally changed the climate movement. This film, btw, is screening at the Quad Cinema on 13th st between 5th & 6th ave at 1pm and 7pm until May 23 (Thursday). It’s beautiful. Go watch it. Even if you’re not hardcore into climate activism. This thing will just make you think about how you want to live your life and the kind of person you want to be.