Linking Environmental Quality and Social Justice
Climate disruption is not an equal opportunity threat. People of color, indigenous communities, and low-income families bear disproportionate health burdens like asthma, certain types of cancer, cardiac problems, and heat-related deaths. It’s not right.
Over the past decade, through carefully nurtured relationships, the Sierra Club’s Environmental Justice and Community Partnerships program, with support from the Sierra Club Foundation, has been bringing the environmental health issues of our most vulnerable communities into the national spotlight.
The Environmental Justice and Community Partnerships program is a core part of the Sierra Club’s work to build partnerships to move the nation beyond coal and oil, and to create a just, healthy, and prosperous society.
Clean Power Plan for Healthy Communities
The United States is poised to reinvent the way our nation generates electricity. The president’s Climate Action Plan intends to bring power generation in line with 21st century technology and the common sense values of protecting public health, reducing carbon emissions, and spurring new jobs in the clean energy sector. The Sierra Club’s goal is to ensure that the implementation of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan is inclusive of the communities most affected by the current “dirty energy economy,” and that State Implementation Plans contribute to equity and quality clean energy careers for low-income people and communities of color, as well as the working families that have depended on the coal industry for jobs. With the U.S. Supreme Court stay of the Clean Power Plan, the Sierra Club organized a strategic response with environmental justice allies and partners to ensure states continue planning to achieve climate goals regardless of the ultimate federal ruling on the Clean Power Plan.
Ensuring the Sustainable Redevelopment of the Gulf Region
More than a decade later, the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita still poses a number of environmental justice issues in the Gulf region, including those around sustainable reconstruction, local wetlands restoration, and safe disposal of toxic debris. The Environmental Justice and Community Partnerships Program continues to lead efforts to ensure the Army Corps of Engineers properly repairs the levee system and restores tens of thousands of acres of wetlands destroyed to make way for the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet Canal in the 1960s. Sierra Club organizers work with local groups in New Orleans to support communities as they rebuild neighborhoods and develop green jobs for residents.
To learn more about the Environmental Justice and Community Partnerships Campaign on the Sierra Club's website, click here!