Monday, 16 January 2012

Fighting environmental racism

The US environmental justice movement
Van Jones, a leading voice for "green jobs", hopes to mobilize progressive forces of many types and stripes under the patriotic umbrella of the American Dream Movement, a mass open-source campaign of grass-roots organizing, house parties, events, social networking (Facebook, Twitter etc), and electoral activity. See our previous blog and his Wikipedia biography, his Oct 2010 One Nation Working Together rally and Rebuild the Dream (Facebook and video "What would MLK do?")

The American EJ movement was pioneered by black civil rights leaders Reverend Ben Chavis and Reverend Joseph Lowery of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Reverend Leon White of the United Church of Christ (named in this brief history by NRDC); by Robert Bullard, founder of the Environmental Justice Resource Center (EJRC) at Clark Atlanta University; West Harlem Environmental Action (WE ACT); the Student Environmental Action Commission (SEAC) f. 1988, and (attended by Michael Dorsey: see our blog) the 1991 First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit's Principles of Environmental Justice, (see other founding documents here). More recently, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice (SNEEJ) in NM, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (co-founded 1996 by Van Jones) in Oakland CA, New Orleans' DSCEJ, CLEANHouston, Greenaction in SE San Francisco, student groups SEEJ (at Columbia and Berkeley) and EJCC, Mothers of East LA, Seattle's CCEJ. In Oct 2011 the Council of Elders (veterans of US civil rights and EJ movement, not to be confused with the international Council) met at the Cenacle in Chicago; they supported Occupy Wall St with a public visit, open letters and video. Greenfaith list of EJ resources and actions. In recent decades action has broadened beyond African-Americans to include a rainbow of other minorities, immigrants and migrant workers: see Utne Reader article 2008 and New Economy conferences 2012, 2014.

In Canada 
A new video from the Ecology Action Centre, Halifax NS

Michael Buzzelli, Environmental Justice in Canada – It Matters Where You Live (CPRN 2008, free download); A. Gosine, C. Teelucksingh text, Environmental Justice and Racism in Canada: An Introduction (Emond Montgomery 2008), J.Agyeman et al., Speaking for Ourselves (UBC Press 2009), and the CELA bibliography. See also the University of BC student initiative "Decolonizing Knowledge" video and Facebook site, UBC First Nations House, U of Victoria Indigenous Affairs and First Nations House; Vancouver Ricepaper Magazine's 2011 Green Issue.

You are invited to comment, suggesting other historical and current links.

The EJ movement has gone international, for example the D2D statement at the 2010 US Social Forum -- but that will be the subject of a later blog.

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