This 2018 publication from the NAACP describes how environmental justice and climate justice are civil and human rights issues. They started the Environmental and Climate Justice Program in 2009, after decades of civil rights advocacy, because they saw a connection between issues like pollution and sea levels rising and the affect those are having on the health and well-being of African American communities. On the national level, the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program staff supports the leadership of state and local NAACP units addressing environmental and climate justice issues we are working to make long-lasting, real change for our communities.
The Environmental and Climate Justice Program has three main goals:
1. Reduce harmful emissions, particularly greenhouse gases. Combines action on shutting down coal plants at the local level with advocacy to strengthen development and monitor enforcement of regulations at the federal, state, and local levels. Also includes a focus on corporate responsibility and accountability.
2. Advance energy efficiency and clean energy. Works at the state level on campaigns to pass renewable energy and energy efficiency standards while simultaneously working at the local level with small businesses, unions, and others to develop demonstration projects to ensure that communities of color are accessing revenue generation opportunities in the new energy economy, while providing safer, more sustainable mechanisms for managing energy needs for our communities and beyond.
3. Strengthen community resilience in the context of climate change. Ensures that communities are equipped to engage in climate action planning that integrates policies and practices on advancing food justice, advocating for transportation equity and upholding civil and human rights in emergency management.