Category Archives: Environmental Justice

New positions available at two of T4CI’s projects

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Two of our projects are looking to hire!  Are you a fit for one of these new careers?

CHANGE director – Californians for a Healthy & Green Economy (CHANGE) is looking for a new director, who will advance the production of safe, affordable, and accessible alternatives to toxic chemicals, spurring economic growth in vulnerable communities and creating a healthy, green, sustainable economy for all.  The job announcement and details is here.

WaterNow Alliance director of team operations –  WaterNow Alliance (WNA) is a network of water utility leaders dedicated to expanding sustainable water solutions in their communities. The Alliance focuses on innovative strategies to accelerate adoption of reuse and efficiency technologies, green infrastructure, watershed health, stormwater recapture and groundwater management. Reporting to Executive Director (ED), the Director of Team Operations will serve as a key leadership team member and an active participant in strategic planning, mission execution and fundraising The job announcement and details is here.

T4CI Salutes César Chávez

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The last day of March is César Chávez’s birthday. The late social justice worker was also committed to helping the earth. He equated the farmer workers he worked for as the canaries in coal mines.

“Farm workers are society’s canaries.Those who live in the area of grape vineyards are constantly exposed to cancer, birth deformity, miscarriages, sterility, respiratory difficulties and death. You find toxic substances in the fields, streets, soils, air, water, playgrounds, parks, and the poison and killing of children continues unabated.”

Take a look at this mini bio of the inspiring leader:

International Women’s Day: Saluting Jane Addams

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Today is International Women’s Day, which celebrates women for their economic, political and human rights achievements.

T4CI is proud to partner with so many wonderful women-led projects. After all, the sustainability and environmental movements began with women.

That’s why we wanted to salute a woman who would have been considered an environmental justice advocate  – except the term wasn’t around during her time.

Many people know of Jane Addams as the founder of Hull House and the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (1931).  Some may not realize how pioneering she was in uncovering environmental health concerns and advocating for environmental equality for all people, no matter their income or ethnicity. She helped to uncover lead poisoning and industrial poisons in many low-income housing and factories. She investigated slums (founding the profession of urban sociology), brought about passage of factory inspections, pushed for ending child labor, improved tenement conditions and sweatshops, fought for shorter hours, higher wages, protective labor laws, and established the nation’s first juvenile court.

The abridgment of civil liberties and attacks on pacifists in World War I (she was vilified as a traitor for opposing the war), led Addams to help found the American Civil Liberties Union. She died at 74, her work for social justice having impacted every aspect of American life.

Black History Month: Honoring Marjorie Richard

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T4CI is saluting some of the most influential African-American environmentalists and sustainability professionals during Black History Month.

Today we honor Marjorie Richard.

Richard is the first African-American to win the esteemed Goldman Environmental Prize, after her nonstop battle with Shell Chemical whose refinery emissions were slowly killing her community members Norco, Louisiana.

Due to her outspoken advocacy,  Shell Chemical agreed to reduce its toxic emissions by 20 percent, contribute $5 million to a community development fund, and voluntarily finance the relocation of the area’s residents away from the refinery by buying the 225 lots at a minimum price of $80,000 per lot.

 

Black History Month: Honoring Beverly Wright

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T4CI is saluting some of the most influential African-American environmentalists and sustainability professionals during Black History Month.

Today we honor Beverly Wright.

Dr. Beverly Wright is a professor of Sociology and the founding director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ). For nearly two decades, she has been a leading scholar and advocate in the environmental justice arena. She has created a unique center, formerly at Xavier University, and currently at Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana. The DSCEJ is one of the few community/university partnerships that addresses environmental and health inequities in the Lower Mississippi River Industrial Corridor, the area commonly referred to as Cancer Alley.

Since Hurricane Katrina, much of the work at the DSCEJ has focused on research, policy, and community outreach, assistance, and education of displaced African-American residents of New Orleans. Dr. Wright has been an advocate of the safe return of residents, addressing the critical issues of health and environmental restoration and monitoring fairness as it relates to standards of clean up. The center has been a resource to the community providing education, training, and job placement to displaced citizens of New Orleans.

 

MLK: more than a civil rights leader; an environmental justice visionary

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When we think of Martin Luther King, Jr, the environment and sustainability are not what comes to mind. However, his vision of basic civil rights went well past freedom, equality, and the end of racial segregation. He also believed everyone has the right to clean air, water, and soil, as well as a right to live in healthy and nurturing natural environments.

Here’s what he said in 1967:

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality. Did you ever stop to think that you can’t leave for your job in the morning without being dependent on most of the world? 

You get up in the morning and go to the bathroom and reach over for the sponge, and that’s handed to you by a Pacific islander. You reach for a bar of soap, and that’s given to you at the hands of a Frenchman. And then you go into the kitchen to drink your coffee for the morning, and that’s poured into your cup by a South American. And maybe you want tea: that’s poured into your cup by a Chinese. Or maybe you’re desirous of having cocoa for breakfast, and that’s poured into your cup by a West African. And then you reach over for your toast, and that’s given to you at the hands of an English-speaking farmer, not to mention the baker. And before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world.    

This is the way our universe is structured, this is its interrelated quality. We aren’t going to have peace on Earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.” – 1967 Christmas sermon on peace       

Environmentalists watched as King’s movement moved the conscience of the nation and pressed Congress to enact the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and other landmark legislation aimed at making racial equality the law of the land. His actions planted the seeds of the environmental justice movement.

The result was the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and  the National Environmental Policy Act. It makes environmental considerations mandatory for major actions undertaken or permitted by the federal government and guarantees that public environmental concerns will be heard.

As former US Attorney General Eric Holder said:

“Dr. King did not have the chance to witness the impact of the movement that he began. But he left with us the creed that continues to guide our work. His enduring words, which he penned from a Birmingham jail cell, still remind us that, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’”

How will you honor MLK’s work today and everyday?

Living with Floods in Louisiana

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“An estimated 6.9 trillion gallons of rain fell on Louisiana between Aug. 8-14. In less than one week, 31.30 inches fell….[w]e must think about how we can learn to live with water, even at this scale of inundation. We can’t avoid the rain, but we can prevent the flood.”
~Susannah Burley and Andreas Merkl, The ADVOCATE, Baton Rouge, Sept. 1, 2016.

Susannah is the project director of Sustaining Our Urban Landscape (SOUL), one of our newer projects focused on driving a resilient and equitable New Orleans through strengthening local water and food systems. Andreas Merkl, is a resident of New Orleans, Chairs the SOUL Advisory Committee, and is the CEO of Ocean Conservancy.

Read the Full Article here and learn more about SOUL here and here.

Photo Credit: Prairieville, LA, Photo by J.T. Blatty/FEMA

Welcome, Sane Energy Project!

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TCI is excited to welcome Sane Energy Project to our growing portfolio of projects.  Based in New York, Sane Energy Project works to encourage a rapid transition to renewable energy and zero fossil fuel dependence.  Sane’s education and action initiatives focus around five main issues: (1) the threats to New York State from encroaching shale gas infrastructure, (2) the danger that fracking poses to our foodshed, (3) the danger of radon in shale gas, (4) sustainable options for boiler conversions, and (4) the true feasibility of converting to renewable energy as the only sane energy future.

Learn more about Sane Energy Project.