Wait, Why is a Climate Org Talking About Racial Justice?
(Ed. Note: This post was lightly updated on March 17, 2022 to provide additional information on Climate Reality’s upcoming, free, in-person climate advocacy training in Las Vegas, Nevada from June 11-13, 2022. For further information or to apply for the training today, click here.)
In recent months, we’ve heard one particular question again and again on social media: “Why is a climate organization talking about racial justice?”
Our mission is to “catalyze a global solution to the climate crisis by making urgent action a necessity across every sector of society.” And for much of Climate Reality’s existence, we’ve worked toward that goal – largely, but not exclusively – by training and empowering people to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy.
At the same time, this movement has always stood up for those most affected by climate change. But there’s no denying that what that means has changed over the last few years – and this year, in particular. Our movement has had to learn and grow. And we have grown and changed along with it.
A new and diverse set of young leaders – their futures under siege by climate change at the same time that free and fair democracy seems threatened – have stepped up to the plate all around the world to fight back. Racial, social, and climate injustices that have existed for decades, if not centuries, have boiled over, forcing us all to reconsider long-held institutions and look at the kind of world we want and how we get there. And a global pandemic made worse by the climate crisis is affecting Black and Brown families and low-income communities more than others.
We are an organization that has always stood up for climate justice – the idea that “climate change can have differing social, economic, public health, and other adverse impacts on underprivileged populations” and how we must fight to change it. And as an organization fighting for climate justice right now, we have a responsibility to speak out against systemic racism and work with our partner organizations to help dismantle systems of White supremacy that perpetuate violence and harm against people of color.
Because there can be no climate justice without racial justice.
Our movements are inextricably linked, and our mission to build an equitable and inclusive climate movement is only possible if we continue to fight for the health, safety, opportunity, and basic human rights of all people.
Because we cannot fight for a better future while looking past the real evils plaguing the present.
We are committed to showing up and standing with our partners, colleagues, employees, friends, nearly 30,000 Climate Reality Leaders, and all people who experience social injustice and racism of any kind.
What kind of organization would we be if we did not seek to apply our values in every facet of our work? How could we claim to be fighting for facts and science while not also fighting for the communities we know to be hit first and worst by climate change impacts like extreme weather, dangerous heat, and fossil fuel air pollution? How could we make a moral argument for climate action while not also standing up for the most basic human rights of all people?
Because to change everything, we need everyone.
To build a winning coalition and realize our mission, we need to understand and respond to how social inequities intersect with the climate crisis. Only then will we be telling the real story of climate change – a crisis that doesn’t affect everyone equally, a challenge that in many instances impacts those already enduring other hardships more acutely.
And telling that story is important because, to quote Maya Angelou, “You can't really know where you are going until you know where you have been.”
We can’t truly move forward as a movement without acknowledging our shared past and working to solve its most fundamental problems. Only when that hard work is done – when we’re fighting the right fight as one – can we truly take on the greatest challenge facing the world today and win.
Because the only way to solve the climate crisis is by working together.
The need for action to confront the climate crisis and accelerate a just transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy couldn’t be clearer.
That’s why – from June 11-13 in Las Vegas, Nevada – The Climate Reality Project and former Vice President Al Gore will host the 49th Climate Reality Leaderships Corps training for climate activists across the US Southwest.
This summer’s Las Vegas event marks our first in-person Climate Reality Leadership Corps training since 2019. (Click here to review our COVID-19 protocols.)
And it comes at a critical time.
The two-and-a-half day free Las Vegas training provides those ready to make a difference in the region with the tools, knowledge, and networks to mobilize communities and drive real action for climate solutions.
As we’ve long said here at Climate Reality: Give us three days. We’ll give you the tools to change the world.