Voices of Climate Justice

Some of the voices raised for climate justice in this issue.

"The climate bill, unfortunately, has been co-opted by the oil and coal industry."
Tom Goldtooth

"My number one inspiration right now is not an organization or a person or an event, it’s the city of Detroit."
Adrienne Maree Brown

"Climate change has provided the perfect “disaster capitalism” storm: an excuse for expanding corporate ownership and control over the commons."
Rachel Smolker

"Too often, environmental grant makers shirk their responsibility to address the issues affecting these communities, which are disproportionately impacted by issues of pollution and waste, food access and quality of life, and employment and sustainability."
Carmen Rojas

"It’s the responsibility of local community organizations to provide models for the federal government to follow. I don’t think the solutions are going to come from the top down."
Emily Kirsch

"if we go back to where we were, the situation will only get worse. There will be very few rich people, plenty of poor people, and a lot more dead people."
Donal Mahon

"Do we build sustainability or do we focus on profits?"
Margaret Gordon

"What the nonprofit system has done is influence groups to take on single issues. But our communities and our lives are not single issues."
Mari Rose Taruc

"The impending crisis of global climate change represents a moral failure on our part to be stewards of the Earth and harbingers of justice."
—Cassandra Carmichael

"The surprising thing is, we already know a lot about how to reorganize our economies for moving from “surviving” to “thriving.” Indigenous and poor people have long known that sharing resources with each other, practicing interdependence, and building real community are the best route to independence."
—Lisa Gray-Garcia

"Suburban communities have reaped the benefits born from the economic and environmental exploitation of poor communities. They still don’t see how conserving the environment and driving less will benefit them economically."
—Kisasi Brooks

Climate Change: Catalyst or Catastrophe? | Vol. 16, No. 2 | Fall 2009 | Credits

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Race Poverty & the Environment Climate Justice Speakers Bureau

As the national journal for social and environmental justice, RP&E aims to provide information and analysis that will strengthen our efforts to win real solutions to the climate crisis—alternatives that will lead to social equity as well as equilibrium between humans and the natural world. RP&E’s online climate justice portal presents research, case studies and “Voices of Climate Change” from across the country. These grassroots perspectives reveal the ways that local organizing against economic, social and gender inequality feed a global movement for climate justice that can challenge the dominant economic order.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference(COP 15) will be held in Copenhagen, December 7-18.

The following speakers and writers are available for press interviews. Some will be on the ground in Copenhagen. Please note that Copenhagen is nine hours ahead of the West Coast of the U.S., so if it is 9 a.m. in Oakland, it will be 6 p.m. in Copenhagen.

Gopal Dayaneni
Available in Copenhagen: December
12-21. Available in the U.S. prior to the conference.
Movement Generation Justice and Ecology Project, International Accountability Project, Ruckus Society and Progressive Communicators Network.

Dayanei has been fighting for social, economic, environmental and racial justice through organizing, campaigning, teaching, writing, speaking and direct action since the late 1980s. Dayaneni will speak in Copenhagen on the disproportionate impacts of climate disruption on communities in the US, the failure of the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change, the importance of social movements, the role of the U.S. in promoting false solutions, and the intersections between climate, war, and corporate globalization.

Ellen Choy
Available in Copenhagen: December 14-18, Available in the U.S. prior to the conference.
Youth Engagement Coordinator for the Environmental Service Learning Initiative (ESLI) in San Francisco, CA, Adult Leader of the ESLI Youth Delegation to Copenhagen.

Choy works as a lead organizer for the West Coast Mobilization for Climate Justice, building street heat in the Bay Area to protest corporate roadblocks to community-based, just climate solutions. She is also the Youth Engagement Coordinator for the Environmental Service Learning Initiative (ESLI), acting as co-director of ESLI’s Youth Advisory Board, supporting youth-of-color-led projects for sustainability and environmental justice. She previously worked as the director of the Climate Literacy Training Program with the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative (EJCC).

Students from three San Francisco public high schools may also be available for interviews: Gier Hernandez, Burton High School, Class of 2010; De’Anthony Jones, Mission High School, Class of 2010, and Lupita Troncoso, Lincoln High School, Class of 2011. The three are traveling to Copenhagen as members of the Youth Delegation.

Adrienne Maree Brown
Available in the U.S. throughout the conference period.
Executive Director, The Ruckus Society

The Ruckus Society brings nonviolent direct action training and action support to communities impacted by economic, environmental and social oppression. In addition to her work as executive director of there, Brown sits on the boards of Allied Media Projects and the Center for Media Justice and participates in “Somatics and Social Justice.” She facilitates development of organizations throughout the movement. Most recently, she has worked with the Young Women’s Empowerment Project, New Orleans Parents Organizing Network, ColorofChange.org and Detroit Summer. She is a co-founder of the League of Pissed Off/Young Voters and graduate of the Art of Leadership and Art of Change yearlong trainings.

Mateo Nube
Available in the U.S. throughout the conference period.
Director and co-founder, Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project

Nube was born and grew up in La Paz, Bolivia.  Since moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, he has worked in the labor, environmental justice and international solidarity movements.  He has spent the last decade integrating concepts of popular education into his movement work.

Prior to joining Movement Generation, Nube designed and facilitated political education trainings and conducted staff development workshops for grassroots and community organizations interested in building their organizing, advocacy, and leadership capacities. He also served as the director of Urban Habitat’s Leadership Institute and the Northwest Coordinator of the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute.  Nube is a member of the musical band Los Nadies.

Mari Rose Taruc
Available in Copenhagen: December
12-21. Available in the U.S. prior to the conference.
State organizing director for
APEN (Asian Pacific Environmental Network)
Taruc is a mother working for environmental justice (EJ) for nearly 15 years. Since making a deep connection to EJ from home-- growing up in a Filipino immigrant family working in contaminated grape fields of Delano, CA and learning about the rich organizing history of Filipinos with the UFW—she’s learned to value its principles and vision as her own path to making social change. She’s been involved in teaching youth EJ classes at UC Berkeley, developing regional EJ strategies as a former co-chair of SNEEJ (Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice), and currently building a climate justice base of low-income Asian Pacific Americans in California for APEN (Asian Pacific Environmental Network), as its State Organizing Director.

Jihan Gearon
Available in Copenhagen: December 3-23
Part of the “New Voices on Climate Change” Global Justice Ecology Project Delegation to Copenhagen; Native Energy Organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network.

Gearon is Diné (Navajo) and African American; she is Tódích'ií'nii (Bitter Water) clan, and her maternal grandfather is Tl'ashchí'í (Red Bottom People) clan. She graduated from Stanford University with a BS in Earth Systems and a focus in Energy Science and Technology. In her position at the Indigenous Environmental Network, Gearon works to build the capacity of communities throughout the U.S. and Canada who are impacted by energy development and climate change. She serves on the Steering Committee of the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative and the Coordinating Committee of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance.

Jacqueline Patterson
Available in Copenhagen: December 6-20
Part of the “New Voices on Climate Change” Global Justice Ecology Project Delegation to Copenhagen; working with the Women of Color for Climate Justice Road Tour.

Patterson’s father immigrated to Chicago from Jamaica; her mother, an African American, moved there from Mississippi.  Patterson was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago and has worked as a trainer, organizer, researcher, program manager, and policy analyst on international and domestic issues and social justice movements with organizations including the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Baltimore City Healthy Start, IMA World Health, United for a Fair Economy, ActionAid, NAACP, Health GAP, and the organization she co-founded, Women of Color United (WOCU).

Patterson is now engaged in the Women of Color for Climate Justice Road Tour, which grew out of WOCU’s participation in a Movement Generation Ecology Justice Retreat and its partnership with the Women's Environment and Development Organization on the From Katrina to Copenhagen Initiative.  The Women of Color for Climate Justice Road Tour uplifts stories of differential impact, community self-reliance, and community resistance by women of color and communities of color.

Andrew Hoerner
Available in the U.S. throughout the conference period.
Policy Director, Urban Habitat

Hoerner is the Policy Director at Urban Habitat. He was most recently the director of the Sustainable Economics Program at Redefining Progress where he was co-author with Nia Robinson, Director of the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, of "Climate of Change: African Americans, Global Warming, and a Just Climate Policy for the U.S." Hoerner was co-author of Clean Energy and Jobs, the first U.S. national climate plan to be endorsed by major labor unions, and was an architect of the California Global Warming Solutions Act (A.B. 32) the first comprehensive cap on global warming pollution to pass in the U.S. (A list of relevant publications is available)

Hoerner's work focuses on the use of tax and market-based instruments to better harmonize economic, environmental and social justice goals. He has been Director of Research at the Center for a Sustainable Economy, Director of Tax Policy at the Center for Global Change at the University of Maryland College Park, and editor of Natural Resources Tax Review. He has done research on environmental economics and policy on behalf of the governments of Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United States. Andrew received his B.A. in Economics from Cornell University, Masters from the U. of Maryland College Park, and a J.D. from Case Western Reserve School of Law.

Thomas Assefa 
Available in the U.S. throughout the conference period.
Senior Organizer, Mothers on the Move

Assefa works for Mothers on the Move (MOM), a grassroots community-based social justice organization in the South Bronx. As a senior organizer he supports the leadership of South Bronx residents in leading environmental and economic justice campaigns. The South Bronx experiences the highest rates of asthma as a result of environmental injustices and is the poorest congressional district in the United States. MOM is a member of Right to the City, a national alliance of nearly 40 low-income and people of color community organizations that are building a united response to gentrification and drastic changes imposed on our cities. Thomas co-leads the environmental justice workgroup of the Right to the City Alliance, which is working to transform our cities into just, sustainable, healthy places to live.

Michael Leon Guerrero
Available in Copenhagen: December 12-21. Available in the U.S. prior to the conference.
Director, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

Guerrero has been the Coordinator of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance since April of 2004. Previous to that he worked for 17 years at the SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP) where he served as a community organizer, Lead Organizer and Executive Director, supervising organizing efforts in low-income communities throughout New Mexico and organizing campaigns on issues of environmental justice, corporate accountability and globalization. Guerrero is Chamoru (from Guam), and is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. He studied at the National Autonomous University and the National Visual Arts School of Mexico City. He was an intern with the Minority Activist Apprenticeship program of the Center for Third World Organizing in 1987 and a Youth Action Fellow in 1988. Currently he serves on the national board of directors of Jobs with Justice, the New World Foundation, and the Asian Pacific Environmental Network. He is based in San Pedro, CA.

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