What is Climate Justice?

Climate Justice Week Panel

In order to encourage action and facilitate education beyond the Austin People’s Climate March (happening this Saturday, April 29th), its organizers dubbed April 23rd through April 28th as Austin Climate Justice Week. The week has been marked by a series of educational panel discussions all aimed at “an equitable transition to a carbon-free economy that is rooted in racial, economic, and social justice for all…”

Missed out on the panels? Don’t worry, there is still one event left – the “Climate Justice Week Social” on Friday, April 28th at 7pm at the Austin Green Room on Grover Avenue. More info>>

So what exactly is climate justice?

Local environmental justice leader Susana Almanza answered this question best during a Climate Justice Week panel on Tuesday.

“When you do not have the means to get good health care, when you cannot get in a plane and jump out of the way of a flood, when you cannot relocate from where the water starts to where the water ends, then yes, your health is going to be impacted [by climate change]…” Almanza said. Almanza is also the executive director of PODER, which advocates for social and environmental justice issues (with a focus on East Austin).

But it’s not just climate change that affects justice, Almanza said. It’s also how people in power choose to handle issues like climate change throughout the city, and whether or not they divvy up resources equitably.

“When we look at the whole issue of climate change, we have to look at the whole issue of climate justice, of how climate change will impact the most vulnerable populations,” Almanza said.

Almanza was joined on Tuesday’s panel by Daniel Llanes (Earth Culture Dancer), Darwin Hamilton (Grassroots Leadership), and Gilbert Rivera (La Raza Roundtable). You can listen to their entire conversation about climate justice in Austin (including how CodeNEXT might impact it) with our latest Facebook live video (both parts are available in this post).

“I’m challenging the environmental movement of the world, I’m challenging the environmental movement of Texas, and I’m challenging the environmental movement of Austin to think differently,” Llanes said during Tuesday’s panel discussion. because as we go forward…. we have to be very conscious not to do the exact same thing.”

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