Dillard University and Texas Southern University convened the Third Annual HBCU Student Climate Change Conference in New Orleans on March 26-29. More than 200 students and faculty mentors from 19 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and community based organization leaders attended the four-day event. Consortium members developed a 6-month fund-raising plan to ensure a diverse number of students/faculty mentors and CBO leaders engage in on-the-ground activities leading up to the United Nations COP21 in Paris, France November 30 thru December 11, 2015.
A major study from Green 2.0 has once again brought national attention to the whiteness of mainstream environmental organizations. A major push is now underway to diversity these groups by adding more people of color to their boards and staff. However, diversifying white environmental organizations is only part of the solution. Diversifying funding to people of color and indigenous environmental organizations and institutions must be given equal weight in addressing current and future environmental challenges going forward as we transition to a majority people of color nation in the next thirty years.
A coalition of environmental and climate justice and civil rights leaders will hold a tribunal in Selma, AL on Saturday March 7 as part of the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of Jubilee Bridge Crossing. The tribunal will feature the testimonies of leaders from communities from across Alabama who will speak with jurists from around the country who are experienced in achieving environmental justice victories. The theme of the tribunal is “Change Is Gonna Come: Advancing an Environmental and Climate Justice Agenda in the South.” A strategy session will also be held to map out a “southern initiative” on climate justice.
A consortium of historically black colleges and universities, led by Dillard University’s Deep South Center for Environmental Justice and Texas Southern University Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs, will host the Third Annual HBCU Student Climate Change Conference March 26-29 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Conference conveners this year will conduct workshops, teach-ins and hands-on training in preparation for an HBCU-led delegation to participate in the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP21) Paris climate summit set for November and December.
In order for the nation to make headway on the climate change front, we need our mainstream environmental organization friends and philanthropic allies who supported the People’s Climate March to join us in supporting the recommendations for diversifying funding and building an infrastructure of “grassroots” efforts, ethnic-based networks, and regional environmental and climate initiatives—better known as a Movement. That’s how we put together a winning team to effectively battle climate change, social vulnerability and build community resilience.
The Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Climate Initiative, a consortium of black colleges and community based organizations in the Gulf Coast and South Atlantic states, will hold a “teach-in” at the Global Climate Convergence at 10:45am – 12:15pm, September 20 (Empire State College, 325 Hudson Street, Room 544, New York, NY). The theme of the teach-in, “Building a Strong U.S. “Southern Initiative” to Address Climate Change and Community Resilience,” emphasizes educating and training leaders from low-wealth and people of color communities in the Gulf Coast and South Atlantic states about the causes, impacts and consequences of climate change, mitigation and adaptation strategies, and effective models for building and enhancing community resilience to disasters.
The nation’s 104 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) play a significant role in training African Americans and other leaders of color in all fields. More than 80 percent of the HBCUs are found in the Gulf Coast and South Atlantic region of the United States. Many southern communities where HBCUs are located and where they draw the vast majority of their students are at ground zero in the fight for climate justice. Climate-related disasters in the southern U.S. have outnumbered those in other regions of the U.S. annually in both scale and magnitude by a ratio of almost 4:1 during the past decade. The southern region is vulnerable not only because of its physical location and but also because of its high prevalence of concentrated poverty, uninsured households, income and wealth inequality, health care disparities, and food insecurity, combined to create a perfect storm of vulnerability if and when natural and human-made disasters strike. Given the region’s unique history, a “southern initiative” is needed to address climate vulnerability and develop strategies for building just and resilient communities.
Non-Hispanic Whites make up only 26 percent of Houston. Yet, the city’s controversial One Bin for All recycling plan advisory committee is 80 percent white. It is hard to imagine how the nearly all-white One Bin committee can move forward in any credible way without the Mayor “fixing” the glaring omission of Hispanics on the advisory committee. This is not an insignificant point since Hispanics currently make up nearly half of the city’s population.
A detailed presentation examines the environmental justice implications of the One Bin for All plan in the context of Houston’s discriminatory waste facility siting pattern. From the 1970s to present, in no-zoning Houston, the city’s black and brown neighborhoods were “unofficially zoned for garbage.”
The U.S. EPA held a public hearing in Region 6 to get comments on its new proposed updates to emissions standards for refineries and impact on fenceline communities. The hearing was held in Galena Park, Texas, a refinery community located just east of Houston.