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Environmental Justice and Equity Resource Guide

Parents Jami and Mohamed discuss the importance of involving your community when talking about race and racism with your kids. See the video and full series of conversations at PBS Utah.

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Sustainability encompasses both environmental action and efforts to build just and equitable communities. Indeed, climate change and pollution disproportionately affect people of color around the world. Therefore, the work of environmental justice is directly tied to equity and social justice.

The connections between sustainability and equity have often gone unnoticed or even been rejected. Nevertheless, the links between systemic racism and environmental injustice are undeniable.

Better understanding these links can help us all work towards building a more equitable and sustainable society. We’ve been delving even deeper into this work and these connections in the last few weeks and wanted to share what we’re reading and learning. Here are some resources we’ve found helpful:

  • PBS Utah put together this short conversational series How to Talk to Kids about Race, featuring several people from our SLC community you might recognize.
  • Somini Segupta wrote an expansive guide entitled Read Up on the Links between Racism and the Environment for the New York Times. The reading guide includes everything from hard science to sci-fi, and provides a broad platform for understanding racial injustice in the context of climate.
  • You can also check out a new website co-founded by environmentalists Leah Thomas, Diandra Esparza and Sabs Katz, Intersectional Environmentalist. The site provides information from environmentalists in different communities including Latinx and U.S. Indigenous Communities– communities which have also continued to fight oppression and environmental racism. Intersectional Environmentalist provides extensive reading lists to understand all of the intersections of environmental work. Founder Leah Thomas’ writing was recently featured in Vogue, where she links her work in environmental policy to anti-racism.
Photograph shows mountains with inversion hovering over valley.

Environmental racism is often overlooked when understanding the impact of other social issues. For example, a recent study on COVID-19 showed that minorities are disproportionately affected by the illness due to many systemic factors. However the study was harshly criticized for excluding air quality, which also disproportionately endangers communities of color and may make COVID-19 symptoms worse.

Additionally, the environmental movement frequently excludes BIPOC (Black, indigenous, people of color) voices. However, a Yale study found that Black and Hispanic/Latinx individuals are more likely to be concerned about climate change than white people.

If you’re interested in keeping up to date with Black voices in environmentalism, Green Matters and One Green Planet compiled lists of leaders in the environmental movement whose work is worth exploring and elevating.

Read more about SLCgreen’s equity and sustainability work.

You’re also invited to learn more about climate justice through Sierra Club’s Climate Conversations Series.

Join the Utah Sierra Club’s Climate Conversations summer 2020 events.
Join the Utah Sierra Club’s Climate Conversations summer 2020 events.
Join the Utah Sierra Club’s Climate Conversations summer 2020 events.
Join the Utah Sierra Club’s Climate Conversations summer 2020 events.
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