Fighting against the climate crisis is a social justice issue. If we don’t combat climate change, we'll never truly achieve social justice for marginalized citizens; and if we don’t include oppressed people in our fight for the planet, we’ll never truly solve the climate crisis.
There’s so much to learn in the realm of climate justice — and fortunately, there are many environmental justice organizations using their resources and platforms to educate the masses on the intersections between climate and social justice. Here are seven groups doing just that.
Founded in June 2020, Intersectional Environmentalist is an organization that aims to dismantle systems of oppression in the climate movement. Its founding principles are based on intersectional feminism and intersectional theory, concepts developed by Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989. IE provides educational resources for those who want to make their activism more intersectional and inclusive, hosts virtual events in partnership with ethical brands, and more.
“Intersectional environmentalism [is] the type of environmentalism where both people and the planet are considered, so both social and environmental justice are considered, and [they're] talked about in the same conversation. Because in my opinion those things are so interconnected,” IE founder Leah Thomas told Green Matters shortly after founding the group. You can support IE by donating or joining IE's Patreon.
Black Millennials For Flint
Black Millennials For Flint (#BM4F) is a grassroots environmental justice and civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C. The organization's name refers to the city of Flint, Mich, where the Flint water crisis has caused endless public health issues since it began in 2014. #MB4F aims to bring together organizations and individuals with similar missions to take action against the lead exposure crisis across the U.S., which primarily impacts Black and Latinx communities. Plus, there are many ways to get involved with #MB4F.
Climate Justice Alliance
Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) unites frontline communities and organizations to achieve its goal of facilitating a “Just Transition” away from the fossil fuel economy and political oppression, and towards an equitable and sustainable economy. To do so, CJA believes the transition “must place race, gender and class at the center of the solutions equation.”
Sunrise Movement is a youth-led movement to end the climate crisis through the creation of millions of jobs. Sunrise Movement has 12 principles, two of which are uniting with other movements for change, and fighting for the liberation of all people. “We are fighting to become the generation that turns the tide against racism and the institutions built upon,” Sunrise Movement’s website says.
Sunrise Movement has more than 400 local hubs across the U.S. that you can get involved with — but if there isn't one near you, you can start your own Sunrise hub.
Environmental Justice Foundation
The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) aims to protect both people and the planet with its work. The London-based group works to uncover environmental and human rights issues, and then challenges governments and businesses to right these wrongs and achieve large-scale change.
“For millions of people around the world, environmental degradation means hunger, poverty and vulnerability,” EJF explains on its website. “From the climate crisis to the loss of forests and the devastation of ocean ecosystems, it is the most vulnerable, marginalised and disempowered communities that bear the brunt.” You can get involved by volunteering or donating to EJF; the group is also currently looking for interns.
Indigenous Environmental Network
Grassroots Indigenous peoples founded the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) in 1990 to address issues of environmental and economic justice that impact Indigenous peoples across the U.S. IEN is constantly running direct action campaigns and public awareness campaigns to protect sacred Indigenous sites, as well as air, land, water, other natural resources, and more. You can donate to IEN here.
Communities for a Better Environment
California-based organization Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) has a mission of achieving environmental health and justice by replacing polluting infrastructure with green communities and environments. As the organization’s website explains, pollution is most likely to adversely affect people of color and low-income communities across the state, since infrastructure that emits greenhouse gases is more likely to be built near African-American, Latino, Filipino, and low-income communities.
Even though CBE is a local group, CBE fights for environmental justice and social justice across the U.S. and the entire planet. You can get involved by attending one of CBE's Toxic Tours, applying to work or intern for CBE, volunteering, or donating.