Environmental Justice

EV Battery Supply Chain Sustainability & Mining

Register for forthcoming report launch webinar on Thursday, July 23rd, from 9-10am PT

The adoption of millions of electric vehicles needed to combat climate change will mark a major shift in mining activities across the world. To get the needed lithium, cobalt and other minerals for the batteries, countries and companies are turning to deep-sea mining, lithium deposits in Nevada and California’s Salton Sea, and further exploiting resources …

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July Fourth at Mt. Rushmore: What about the “unalienable rights” of the Lakota?

In the limbo game of the 45th presidency: no matter how far the bar descends, Trump clears it by going under. Just two weeks after political furor over a planned Juneteenth support rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma—site of the 1921 Race Massacre, in which white mobs killed up to 300 Black people in 48 hours, and …

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D.C. and Puerto Rico are not the same.

Blanket calls for D.C. and Puerto Rico statehood miss a critical difference: D.C. is the American capital. Puerto Rico is an American colony.

“D.C. and Puerto Rico should be states. Pass it on.” With passage of the D.C. statehood bill in the House of Representatives last Friday, variations on this statement have been gaining traction as a liberal rallying cry. Because they are not states, neither D.C. nor Puerto Rico have voting representation in Congress. The votes of …

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Towards an equitable microgrid policy

The California Public Utilities Commission’s recent decision is a first step to grid resiliency for communities of color and low-income communities

The 2020 fire season has already started, and we cannot repeat the mistakes of past fire seasons. PG&E recently pled guilty to 84 counts of manslaughter after 84 people were killed when a derelict PG&E transmission line sparked the 2018 Camp Fire. The 2019 fire seasons saw widespread public safety power shutoffs (PSPS events), most …

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The “American family” in crisis: Colonialism, COVID-19 risk, and climate vulnerability

The fight for racial justice must include a reckoning with US imperialism.

The recent spotlight on anti-Black violence has awoken many white Americans to an uncomfortable truth: that underneath its rhetoric of equality, the United States is a fundamentally racist country. The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on U.S. communities of color underscores this fact. The pandemic also reveals a lesser known but equally uncomfortable truth: that underneath …

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A Black Staffer’s Noisy Exit from a Green NGO

Resignation letter at Union of Concerned Scientists calls out dominant white culture in large environmental organizations

On this Juneteenth, it is fitting to lift up and celebrate a recent, significant emancipatory act that until now has ramified little beyond the niche trade press. I refer here to the dramatic early June exit of 26-year-old Black staffer ruth tyson from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), via letter e-mailed to all staff …

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Environmentalists Can Help Address Racism Through Housing Policy

Restrictive local zoning affects both the environment and racial justice

As the United States grapples with issues of racism and police brutality in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, environmentalists need not be bystanders in the debate over solutions. As Claudia and Steve argued on this blog, environmentalism has multiple opportunities to help address institutional racism, though few issues …

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It’s just a start, necessary and long overdue

A February report shows green NGOs are adding diversity, but still have a long way to go

The callous killing of George Floyd by a white police officer; the shooting of Breonna Taylor in her bed by police executing a no-knock warrant; the pursuit and murder of black jogger Ahmaud Arbery by white vigilantes; a white woman calling police to intimidate black birder Christian Cooper, who asked her to follow Central Park …

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Green in Black and White

It’s Time to Show Up

My favorite opening line from any Earth Day speech ever was this: “Today, black and white, yellow and brown, we are all green.”  The speech was delivered three decades ago; the place was Times Square; and the speaker was David Dinkins, New York City’s first (and to date, only) African-American mayor.  How I wish his …

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Guest Contributors Helen Kang and Deborah Sivas: California Should Lead the Nation in Controlling Agricultural Pollution

Agricultural runoff in California

Protection of Drinking Water and Environmental Quality Demands Strong Action

Agricultural runoff is one of the largest sources of pollution in the nation’s waterways. In recent years, scientific journals and the media have been filled with reports of toxic algae blooms and dead zones near and far: The Everglades, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay, and San Francisco Bay-Delta. Agricultural pollution also threatens public …

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