Linking Environmental Quality and Social Justice
The continued use of fossil fuels depends on having sacrifice zones—places where pollution and risk exposure are heavily concentrated. Sacrifice zones are places where people and land are considered disposable. In the United States, systemic and structural racism is what enables sacrifice zones, which are disproportionately populated by Black, Indigenous, and people of color and low-income communities. Addressing racial, economic, and climate justice are prerequisites for solving the climate crisis and transitioning to a just and sustainable world where all people and living things can thrive. But these large-scale problems manifest locally in very different ways. The Healthy Communities Campaign, working in collaboration with labor and environmental justice groups, supports community organizations in organizing for power and winning just outcomes, focusing on issues of energy justice and local resiliency and recovery plans.
To learn more about environmental justice on the Sierra Club's website, click here!
Protecting Democracy, Protecting the Environment
When any group of people is cut off from equal representation, they are at risk for a range of harms—from environmental contamination to the export of jobs and closure of schools. This is what we have long observed in environmental justice work—environmental harms do not arise alone, but alongside economic exploitation, underinvestment, and over-policing.
The Sierra Club believes that the majority of people in a fair and equitable democratic society expect and demand clean water, healthy air, and a safe and stable climate for themselves and their children.When voices are drowned out by voter suppression and attacks on fair access to the ballot box, corporate money in politics, or district gerrymandering, democracy suffers and so does our ability to address big issues like the climate crisis. The Democracy Program is building a movement to make sure all voices are fairly represented and heard and can participate in the democratic process to support a stable, resilient climate and a clean environment that benefits us all.
To learn more about the Democracy Program on the Sierra Club’s website, click here!