Environmental Justice Working Group
GRASSROOTS ACTION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
Sixty people drawn from across the climate action movement attended a stimulating SEARCH Climate Justice Forum on 7 August in Sydney.
The crisis facing humanity and the planet from climate change and other environmental threats is become more acute. The forum provided an opportunity for members and friends to share insights into the challenges we face, to identify opportunities to build the environmental justice movement in our communities and in workplaces.
Speakers included Sean Sweeney of Trade Unions for Energy Democracy which is based in New York, Amy Gordon of AYCC and SEED, Moira Williams of 350.org, Mark Ogge of the Australia Institute, our own Vicki Findlay of Lock the Gate.
Presentations addressed the potential of trade unions in climate change activism, the role of community based direct action, the corruption and contradictions as the heart of coal and gas corporations and the dire urgency of the climate crisis were amongst many issues addressed.
The day finished with an exciting “where do we go now session” the results of which are being analysed by the members of the Group with a view to developing the future political direction of the SEARCH Climate Justice Working Group. Members will hear more of this very soon. Like the Melbourne event, several people participating on in the Climate Justice event have now applied to join the Foundation.
SEARCH Environmental Justice Committee: FACT SHEET
The following is a list of climate and environment issues identified by SEARCH Environmental Justice Committee. They are presented in point form with a link and are listed here in response to the lack of urgency about environmental issues in the current election process.
Members of SEARCH and any other interested people might ask candidates for their positions on these issues and try to raise them as questions in any forum over the next week
In no way is this an exhaustive list. Many of these issues are connected and in a number of cases we have only just begun addressing them. We have tried to take a grassroots community-focussed approach to understanding the issues and responses. This committee has been in operation for six months.
We have engaged with other climate and environmental groups and organisations both to learn and teach but also to work with them on campaigns and actions. We have always tried to develop an approach that comes from our understanding of SEARCH especially its strengths and weaknesses and to try to articulate positions and responses accordingly
1. “No Longer a Threat for the Future”
“… Human-caused climate change playing out in real time…”
2. Sacrifice zones Sacrifice populations -some case studies
Mountain-top removal in Appalachia
[Plundering Appalachia – The Tragedy of Mountaintop-Removal Coal Mining. YouTube video]
Niger delta in Nigeria
Open-cut coal mining in the Upper Hunter
- Justice in the Anthropocene – What is it? What should be done about it?
There are many sources of injustices such as where environmental hazards and risks are unfairly distributed away from affluent minorities and towards more marginalised sections of communities or away from the current generation towards future generations. Further, since humans are inextricably part of various ecosystems, can justice be shown to other-than-human entities such as other species and ecosystems?[https://pwccc.wordpress.com/2010/02/07/draft-universal-declaration-of-the-rights-of-mother-earth-2/]
4. Defence of Country link to Indigenous struggles[http://sydney.edu.au/environment-institute/events/defence-of-country-aboriginal-people-dealing-with-the-impacts-of-globalisation-in-australia-2/] Video documentation of some presentations – Paul Spearim, Harold Furber, Steven Wantarri Janpijimpa Patrick
5. Local struggles: anti-fracking, anti-CSG, anti-new and expanded coal mines, coal power station closure.
6. Divestment of fossil fuel industry assets.[http://www.marketforces.org.au/#]
- Nuclear Power and Waste Storage
8. Just Transitions:[http://unu.edu/publications/books/just-transitions-explorations-of-sustainability-in-an-unfair-world.html#overview]
- Clean Energy Futures
- Unions & industry restructure
- Post-coal economies and communities
- Community economics – anti-capitalist enterprises such as Worker coops
- Eroding capitalism
- Biodiversity and Extinction