Climate crisis is a social justice issue

7/9/2020, 6 p.m.
People in the city of Richmond protested during the past month and they have been heard. The city that was ...

People in the city of Richmond protested during the past month and they have been heard. The city that was once on fire at the close of the Civil War is again on fire — spiritually and politically. Now is the time for Richmond’s citizens to step up and demand real changes from our local and national elected officials.

However, it would be an enormous mistake to begin to redress the overwhelming inequities of racial justice in our city without also tending to and soberly acknowledging a similarly related crisis of social justice — the climate crisis.

Just as our poor communities are often overlooked, the case must be made for the air we breathe, the water we drink and the depletion of ecological resources. Social justice and climate justice are linked. Our precious environmental resources are in real jeopardy. Our silence on this issue is a tacit agreement that allowed big corporations and our federal government over the past four years to take advantage.

While the City of Richmond’s commitment to the Richmond 300 plan aims to make Richmond a more beautiful place by 2037, the reality is that we could and should do more to safeguard our environment. We already know where our unsustainable path of continued reliance upon fossil fuels, dependence on plastics and continued greenfield development takes our communities and our environment, and it is not pretty.

The climate crisis is now, this minute, and it can no longer wait for us to take action. The tools we need to combat our climate crisis already exist—individual civic responsibility, renewable energy, electric vehicles and local government leadership and oversight. We must implement these tools, and the public must vote for and demand action.

Support the Clean Economy Act of 2020 that would give more power to the Environmental Protection Agency to implement a realistic national plan to reduce our nation’s greenhouse emissions by 2050.

Speak up on this issue and be heard. Demand the small and smart steps that we need to take at this moment to safeguard our future and our environment.