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National, local groups align in call for equitable climate policy


Calling for a “bold national climate policy agenda that advances the goals of economic, racial, climate and environmental justice,” a coalition of more than 70 environmental and other groups released a policy platform designed to infuse equity principles into the national climate crisis discussion as the 2020 election approaches.

The document, “Equitable and Just National Climate Platform,” focuses on ensuring that low-income communities and communities of color who bear the burden of the pollution that causes climate change and who are disproportionately harmed by flooding, storms, extreme heat and other climate-change fueled impacts shape and benefit from policies to combat climate change. The Kresge Foundation’s Environment Program was a funder of the platform – supporting a consensus-building process that helped facilitate agreement among the organizations.

“By building a just, inclusive, and climate-sustainable economy, this agenda will create millions of high-quality, safe, and family-sustaining jobs while improving the health, physical environment, prosperity, and well-being of all U.S. communities,” states the document.

Peggy Shepard, executive director, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, said: “This historic collaboration signals an understanding that our local, national, and global environmental and climate goals will not be realized without a collective commitment to addressing the challenges faced by the most impacted communities.  We must ensure that front-line communities provide leadership in realizing the solutions that address the climate and environmental challenges facing us all.”

The platform is notable in that it brings together large, national environmental groups as well as smaller, often locally-based environmental and social justice organizations. Relationships between such groups often have been strained due to differing priorities and trust issues.

“This platform underscores the urgency of addressing climate change while also remedying social, economic, and environmental inequities experienced by communities of color,” said Lois DeBacker, managing director of Kresge’s Environment Program.  “It is a testament to the commitment of the participating leaders that they were able to reach agreement on such an important and compelling agenda.”