Environmental Justice Orgs Announce Climate Justice Pavilion At COP27

October 25, 2022

The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ), Harlem’s WE ACT for Environmental Justice (WE ACT).

Also, the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University (TBC) will debut the first-ever Climate Justice Pavilion inside the Blue Zone at COP27, the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, November 6-18, 2022.

The pavilion will bring together representatives from the Global South, the U.S. Environmental Justice Movement, and Indigenous peoples to spotlight the voices of communities disproportionately impacted by climate change. 

The IPCC reports consistently raise the alarm about the worsening impacts of climate change on the most vulnerable communities, countries, and island states. Yet, the voices, stories, and perspectives of residents of these localities are rarely heard, communicated, or promoted – despite the increasing incidence of climate migration due to extreme weather events that cause flooding, destruction, drought, and soil and coastal erosion. The Climate Justice Pavilion will help to bridge that gap by serving as a space for productive conversations in the Blue Zone, which is where the majority of diplomats, policymakers, business, and professional advocates convene at COP27.

Historically, grassroots groups and activists have been providing environmental justice programming for years in the conference’s Green Zone which is geographically isolated from the Blue Zone.

Because of this segregation, a collaboration was developed to build a Climate Justice Pavilion where individuals from the Global South, the U.S. Environmental Justice Movement, and other international movements can dialogue on issues including: 

  • Connecting the people of the global migrating south forced to flee their homes because of unsafe communities due to outsized natural disasters or life-taking pollution;
  • The risk of carbon capture and storage technology to front-line communities and the need for just solutions to reduce carbon;
  • Climate Finance and the need to support communities with mitigating and adapting policies that will address climate change;
  • Loss and damage to underserved communities due to years of colonialism and environmental racism; 
  • The need for energy justice, including equitable reparations for communities historically harmed by climate change;
  • and climate reparations for poor communities burdened by the world’s richest people.

“Women, children of color, and the communities where they live are too often an afterthought when talking about climate justice. The first-ever Climate Justice pavilion will provide a global stage to highlight their stories and others, encouraging governments to develop policies and clean energy transition plans that are inclusive, equitable, and reflect research on the effects on our communities,” said Dr. Beverly Wright, Executive Director, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice. “The Global South from the United States to Africa is bearing the brunt of our climate crisis. Natural disasters coupled with centuries of colonialism and racism that underpin global environmental policy have devastated countless communities. This pavilion will challenge the world’s best and brightest to reimagine how to tackle climate change and protect the most vulnerable all around the world.”

“You cannot talk about solving the climate crisis if the people most impacted are not at the table,” said Peggy Shepard, Co-Founder and Executive Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice. “The historic nature of the Climate Justice Pavilion cannot be understated, as it creates a space for those voices, their stories, and perspectives, to be heard by decision-makers on the international stage. We look forward to elevating the discussion of climate migration, energy justice, and the risk of false solutions to our communities as well as the need to center equity when addressing climate change.”

“The significance of COP27 in Africa underscores the importance of environmental justice and the significance of our first-ever climate justice pavilion. Those who visit the pavilion will hear about sectors of climate policy routinely overlooked and marginalized because of historic environmental racism,” said Dr. Robert Bullard, Director, of Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice, Texas Southern University. “We will host discussions on climate finance, loss and damage, energy justice, and climate reparations, among the topics most important to vulnerable communities bearing the brunt of the climate crisis around the world. I am very excited about what our team and the Climate Justice Pavilion are bringing to this year’s conference.”

A delegation of over 40 representatives of grassroots communities; Students of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); and staff support will accompany the collaboration to manage logistics, travel, programming of the pavilion, and relevant research. 

The COP 27 Climate Justice Pavilion is a collaboration effort from Dr. Beverly Wright, Executive Director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice; Peggy Shepard, Executive Director of WE ACT For Environmental Justice; Dr. Robert Bullard, Director of Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice, Texas Southern University; Fred Krupp, President of Environmental Defense Fund, Abigail Dillen, President of Earthjustice; Dr. Deb L. Morrison, CLEAR Environmental; Marina Macal, Instituto Clima e Sociedade; Cathy Eatock, Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform; and Mithika Mwenda, PACJA, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance.

Sponsors Include: Bloomberg Philanthropies, Environmental Defense Fund, Earthjustice, Union of Concerned Scientists, The Kresge Foundation, National Wildlife Federation, Center for American Progress, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Columbia Climate School.

The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice

Families in the Gulf Coast deserve to live in communities that are free from deadly air and are more resilient to climate change and extreme weather. The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ) works to empower and engage communities to put environmental justice and equity at the center of all climate action. Led by environmental justice scholar and advocate, author, civic leader and professor of Sociology Dr. Beverly L. Wright, the DSCEJ uses research, education, and community and student engagement to advocate for policy change, lead health and safety training for environmental careers, develop social and emotional community wellness programs, and create new and environmentally healthy opportunities for the residents of communities disproportionately impacted by historic environmental injustice. 

WE ACT for Environmental Justice (WE ACT)

WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a Northern Manhattan membership-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. WE ACT has offices in New York and Washington, D.C. Visit us at weact.org and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

About the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University (TBC)

The Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University addresses longstanding issues of systemic inequality and structural racism that cause disproportionate pain, suffering, and death in Black and other people of color communities.  The Center is directed by environmental justice scholar Dr. Robert D. Bullard and is housed in the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs. It strives to be a leading force for transformative environmental, climate, and racial justice using rigorous science, community-driven research, policy, civic engagement programming, and effective advocacy.

Photo credit: Flood in Harlem.

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