Climate justice is a frame for looking at the climate crisis through a human rights lens, and acknowledging that low income, people of color, and indigenous communities are on the front lines, being hit first and worst by the climate crisis. As Mary Robinson, the first woman President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has said, the fight for climate justice “insists on a shift from a discourse on greenhouse gases and melting ice caps into a civil rights movement with the people and communities most vulnerable to climate impacts at its heart.”
New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) seeks to lift marginalized communities and start to right the wrongs of decades of environmental racism--the core goals of the broader fight for climate justice.
Under the CLCPA New York State will focus on public health and socioeconomic effects of the transition to renewable energy, while working to protect and uplift communities and people historically endangered by unsustainable and unjust policy and environmental conditions. The CLCPA creates an Environmental Justice (EJ) Working Group tasked with identifying disadvantaged communities where priority will be given for implementing climate solutions. The EJ Working Group will place an emphasis on community-led initiatives.
“This is not just about the environment, it’s about the community, it’s about jobs, it’s about justice.”
~ Eddie Bautista, executive director for the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance and one of the leading organizers of the People’s Climate March in New York, USA, on 21 September 2014