Ending discrimination and creating justice and equity for all people includes not only socioeconomic and racial justice, but also environmental and climate justice. Below you’ll find an overview of these concepts and an ongoing list of resources for learning and teaching about them.
What is environmental justice?
According to the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice:
Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. This goal will be achieved when everyone enjoys:
- The same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, and
- Equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.
What is climate justice?
According to Yale Climate Connections, a nonpartisan, multimedia service providing reporting and analysis on the issue of climate change:
“Climate justice” is a term, and more than that a movement, that acknowledges climate change can have differing social, economic, public health, and other adverse impacts on underprivileged populations. Advocates for climate justice are striving to have these inequities addressed head-on through long-term mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Resources on Environmental & Climate Justice
The Winter Institute, Rethink Mississippi, & Friendly City Books Present An Earth Day & National Poetry Month Celebration
NASA Earth Day Activities
A variety of Earth Day activities, including live talks, games, videos, and great downloadable posters and books, is now online during NASA’s Earth Day Virtual Event.
From April 21-24, anyone can join the free, online event that includes live panel discussions and chats with NASA Earth science experts, as well as on-demand content, such as coloring pages and activity sheets, eBooks and downloadable posters, Meet a Scientist videos, and information on how you can be a scientist for NASA. There’s also an online scavenger hunt to kick off #GrowForLaunch, a chance to learn more about the plants grown in space and how you can start your own garden.
Teaching & Learning
Zinn Education Project’s Teach Climate Justice Campaign
The Zinn Education Project promotes teaching the people’s history in the classroom and has launched a campaign to “Teach Climate Justice.” How do we teach the climate crisis in a way that also confronts racism, economic inequality, misogyny, militarism, xenophobia, and that imagines the kind of world that we would like to live in?
Teach Climate Justice offers classroom-tested lessons, workshops for educators, and a sample school board climate justice resolution.
Books for Teaching Climate Justice
Titles on the environment for children, young adults, and educators curated by Social Justice Books.
Teaching Environmental Justice in Early Childhood
For D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice, a project of Teaching for Change, teacher Ashley Chu shared the importance of encouraging young children to become advocates for environmental justice:
Early childhood units on the environment are often reduced to tropes like “reduce, reuse, recycle,” “don’t litter,” and “turn off the lights and water.” These ideas are certainly important and worth teaching to students. They are tangible concepts that are easy for young children to understand and put into action. But the work should not stop there. Young students need to see how these actions fit into the larger picture of environmental justice and fighting for a better and more just earth for everyone.
She goes on to detail the projects that built background knowledge, highlighted activities of color, and shared the students’ collaborative problem-solving activities with the public.
Reference & Action
2C Mississippi is a non-profit organization that seeks “a climate-kind, educated and prosperous Mississippi.” Dr. Dominika Parry is president and CEO, an environmental economist who is professionally and personally passionate about climate change. She received her Ph.D. from Yale University, and she and her family now call Mississippi home.
Dr. Parry appeared on The Guidepost Podcast from The Winter Institute. She spoke with Von Gordon about climate change, the need for bipartisan science-based discussion of the climate and her belief that a sustainable community will also encourage business and investment.