Mar 25, 2019

Environmental Justice and Community Science: A Social Movement for Improvement, Compliance, and Action Panel - 2019

Environmental justice (EJ) advocates and activists have for decades used community science to raise awareness about EJ concerns, inpower residents, increase community capacity, and translate research to action. Environmental justice (EJ) advocates and activists have for decades used community science to raise awareness about EJ concerns, inpower residents, increase community capacity, and translate research to action. Panelists discuss their community-driven research efforts to understand and address: 1) environmental justice and military wastes in Alaska; 2) goods movement, ports, and refineries in Oakland, California and Detroit, Michigan; 3) lack of basic amenities in North Carolina; and 4) environmental justice, hurricanes, and health disparities in the Gulf Coast and Puerto Rico. Panelists will describe the challenges of doing community science, detail successes, and share lessons learned, best practices, and issues yet resolved. Click to Watch Video ...

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Mar 16, 2019

HBCU Climate Change Consortium participate in The Climate Reality Leadership Training Corps

HBCU Climate Change Consortium Co-Director, Dr. Beverly Wright organized a delegation of members from the HBCU Climate Change Consortium to participate in the 2019 Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training in Atlanta, GA from March 14 – March 16, 2019. The Consortium’s partnership with the Climate Reality Project helped bring a diverse group into the Climate Reality Project training space. This year, the focus of the training came from an environmental justice lens. Environmental justice experts, faith leaders, students, and people of color community leaders gave heartfelt and sobering presentations about the devastating impact that climate change is having on vulnerable communities in the southeast region of the United States and around the world. HBCU Climate Change Consortium, Co-Director and Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Texas Southern University, Dr. Robert Bullard, facilitated a breakout session, “A Safe Place to Live, Work, Play and Pray: 30 Years of the US Environmental Justice Movement” and participated on a panel with Former Vice President Al Gore, Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd, Distinguished Professor of Geography and Atmospheric Sciences and Dr. Kim Cobb, Georgia Power Chair, “The Climate Crisis and Its Solutions,” session.  Al Gore said, “We all live in this house (Earth), we can’t ignore the fire in the bedroom or kitchen. The fire impacts all of us. We should not just say, Not in My Back Yard (NIMBY) but NOPE, Not On Planet Earth.”  Members of the Consortium had an opportunity to network and expand their knowledge about renewable energy, community resilience, and green jobs to equip environmental justice communities with the resources and knowledge to develop sustainable and resilient neighborhoods for all. Climate Reality Leadership Training    ...

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Feb 26, 2019

Capitol Hill Panel on the Inclusion of Renewable Energy Economy Powered By Green Jobs

  On February 26-27, 2019, Environmental Justice champions from around the country visited Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. to elevate their concerns about the myriad of environmental and health issues disproportionately affecting low-income communities and communities of color. In particular, the EJ leaders wanted the elected officials shaping the Green New Deal to not only understand our concerns with the current resolution but also to build relationships so that they can work with the communities they represent – to ensure that it emerges as a just and equitable Green New Deal for all. The purpose of the hearing was to learn first-hand about environmental issues, concerns, and needs from experts in the field to help develop the budget for the EPA and other agencies. Meeting with Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) of the Senate Climate Action Task Force at the U.S. Capitol Hill Meeting with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and the leaders of the Sunrise Movement and the New Consensus Panel (L-R): WE ACT’s Director of Legislative Affairs Kerene N. Tayloe, Esq. (moderator), WE ACT’s Deputy Director & Director of Policy Initiatives Cecil Corbin-Mark, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice’s Founding Director Dr. Beverly Wright, Power 52 Co-Founder & CEO Rob Wallace, and Green Door Initiative President & CEO Donele Wilkins   Capitol Hill Panel on the Inclusion of Renewable Energy Economy Powered By Green Jobs ...

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Feb 7, 2019

Inclusion of African Americans a Must for a Green New Deal

We celebrate the efforts led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) to move the United States back in the direction of addressing climate change, and call on lawmakers to confront environmental racism that is at the root of climate change. Seventy-nine percent of African American neighborhoods are polluted by the same smokestacks and vehicle exhaust pipes that warm the planet. Many of the places where African Americans live, work, play, and learn are targeted by polluting industries and heavy traffic transportation routes that contribute to missed school days, emergency room visits, and the United States being one of the largest contributors to greenhouses gases. Indeed, African Americans are also most at risk from climate change, and will have the greatest challenge in surviving and recovering from stronger storms, frequent flood events, and extreme heat waves. Pollution is a potent form of racial oppression on African Americans, who are predominantly located in states that refused to expand Medicare and also sued to undermine Obamacare and the Clean Power Plan. The Green New Deal should be a "We Deal." As Speaker Nancy Pelosi has reminded us: "Our diversity is our strength, but our unity is our power." We are stronger together when people who have the most at stake are part of the decision-making on how we move forward to heal our communities and planet. Contact: Dr. Beverly Wright, Founder & Executive Director Deep South Center for Environmental Justice 504-272-0956 Dr. Robert Bullard, Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy Texas Southern University Tina Johnson Deep South Center for Environmental Justice 610-864-9929

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Jan 19, 2019

Why Climate Change Would Have Alarmed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As Dr. Martin Luther King's National Day of Service approaches, I had an interesting thought as a scientist, writer, and human being. Climate change is one of the most significant challenges facing humanity, and its impacts stretch far beyond science. Climate change is often discussed from the lens of agriculture, energy, public health, national security, or weather disasters. However, the most recent U.S. National Climate Assessment reportaffirms previous studies that climate change disproportionately impacts marginalized, vulnerable, and disadvantaged populations of all races. The question that came to mind is "would Dr. King have been concerned about climate change?" Click here for full article ...

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Jan 18, 2019

3 Councilmembers Take Lead to Repeal Approval of Entergy Gas Plant: A Positive Step for New Orleans' Energy Future

The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice is committed to an energy future for New Orleans that is shaped by residents through meaningful and effective public participation. To this end, we have opposed a plan by Entergy New Orleans, Inc. to build a gas plant near predominantly African American and Vietnamese American neighborhoods in New Orleans East. The gas plant would continue the pattern of environmental racism by releasing each year more than one million pounds of toxic air pollution near communities of color, increase flood risks, and set back citywide efforts to cut pollution that contributes to climate change. Today, we commend members of the City Council on their announced resolution to “repeal and rescind” prior approval of the proposed    Entergy gas plant. Council members to offer resolution to repeal Entergy power plant, The Lens, Jan. 17, 2019. Dr. Beverly Wright guest op-ed: What Entergy wants versus what New Orleans needs, The Times-Picayune, Mar. 2, 2018.     ...

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Jan 8, 2019

Nine Ocean Conservation Groups

It can be easy to focus on the bad news when we think about the ocean: climate change, overfishing, pollution, loss of coastal habitats, biodiversity loss. All that is real, and cause for concern and concerted action. Still, there is also cause to celebrate: there are incredible community-based organizations working to address those challenges and foster new leadership for conservation.   Click here for full article

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Dec 13, 2018

Pleasantville Flood Mitigation

Pleasantville assessing flood mitigation and air quality post Hurricane Harvey Achieving Community Tasks Successfully (ACTS), a community-based organization on the east end of Houston, Texas, in the Pleasantville Community, has launched a flood mitigation and air quality assessment in partnership with the HBCU-CBO Gulf Coast Equity Consortium. The Consortium is under the direction of sociology scholars and environmental justice advocates, Dr. Robert Bullard, Distinguished Professor at Texas Southern University and Dr. Beverly Wright, Executive Director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice in New Orleans. During a January 2018 Environmental Justice Forum, residents of the Pleasantville Community identified several priority issues of concern that has plagued their community for decades. Since that time, Pleasantville has identified Flood Mitigation and Air Quality as the top two priorities of concern.   Flood Mitigation The ACTS research team mentors are Dr. Denae King and Dr. Glenn Johnson of Texas Southern University. The community research team is led by Chairperson Tracy Stephens who has worked diligently to identify resource and solutions to mitigate flooding in the community. According to the Harris County Flood Plain maps, Pleasantville is not located in either the 100 or 500-year flood plain areas. Ponding at the 610 Freeway has been identified as a significant source for flooding. In addition, this 70-year-old community has been requesting replacement of the storm sewer drainage infrastructure for the last 30 years as part of the City of Houston (COH) Capital Improvement Project (CIP) process. To date, the COH has completed an evaluation of the system and designed replacement of the system to be performed in four (4) phases. Only phase one (1) has been funded and completed. Though collaboration with the Pleasantville Area Super Neighborhood, Council #57, meetings have been coordinated so that residents interact directly with representatives to identify expected timelines for resolutions.   Air Quality The Air Quality research to action plan has included scientific training (data analysis) and identification of additional resources. Brain Christensen, an intern from the University of Texas, Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health, began air quality data analysis in June 2018. Data results from two separate air monitors were presented. One monitor is maintained by TCEQ (Texas Commission Environmental Quality) and the other is a community air monitor installed as part of the Beacon Project (University of California Berkley and Environmental Defense Fund/EDF). Data was compared to identify most common emissions, trends, similarities/difference and potential health impacts from exposure. The ACTS research and community engagement teams will also conduct asset mapping trainings and community health surveys as they work diligently to improve the quality of life in the Pleasantville Community. By Bridget Murray ​​​​​​​President of ACTS  ...

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Dec 12, 2018

CHESS on the Move

The CHESS (Clean, Healthy, Educated, Safe & Sustainable) Community Organization launched in the Fall of 2017 after establishing a partnership with the HBCU-CBO Gulf Coast Equity Consortium. The mission of CHESS is to strive for a community that is environmentally clean which involves beautifying streetscapes, ensuring that residents live in a healthy environment through innovative community restoration and preserving historic homes and schools to ensure children are well educated, safe with a zero tolerance for crime, and experience a sustained great quality of life.  To accomplish our mission we have implemented projects and trainings to insure we are always working to make things better for the Africatown Community: CHESS has organized quarterly trainings with the HBCU-CBO Gulf Equity Consortium to ensure the CHESS team leaders are equipped with the tools and resources needed to serve the community and that CHESS stays on track towards the accomplishment of its mission. In addition, CHESS meets monthly to discuss its community plan and create new projects when appropriate. The following is a list of activities and events organized by CHESS in 2018: Held quarterly Africatown Community Meetings that have served to educate, inform and bring together the Africatown Community as never before. Sponsored a session where officers from The Mobile Police Department spoke with players from the Africatown Youth Football Program. Created a monthly Africatown News Blog that informs Africatown residents and others about things going on in Africatown. Purchased and installed Tarps to place on homes in Africatown that have leaking roofs. Created tours of Africatown for individuals and organizations that are interested in learning more about the Historic Africatown Community. Started a project together with MEJAC that describes all lots located in Africatown. Started a process that will begin a school /parent/teacher organization, something the Africatown school has not had in several years. Working to implement the Africatown Plan that sets out a unified vision for the long-term revitalization of Africatown, a plan paid for by The City Council and approved by The Mobile Planning Commission.   Monitoring Industry in Africatown to ensure that they are held accountable for toxic emissions spewed into nearby communities. A major sponsor of the annual Africatown "Kids Kite Day". A major sponsor of the annual "Africatown Community Day Celebration". A major sponsor for the first "Africatown Connections Blueway Celebration".    Although CHESS has only been in existence for 14 months, it has established a voice throughout the Africatown Community and the City of Mobile. CHESS together with continued capacity building through the HBCU-CBO Gulf Equity Consortium, expects to be a beacon of hope for the Africatown Community and an example for other underserved communities looking to improve their quality of life today and in the future.   By Joe Womack President of CHESS  ...

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Nov 15, 2018

Fighting for our Lives: 6th Annual HBCU Climate Change Conference

2018 HBCU Climate Change Presentations Dr. Beverly Wright, executive director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ) and Dr. Robert Bullard, distinguished professor, Texas Southern University co-convened the 6th Annual HBCU Climate Change Conference in New Orleans, September 18 – 23, 2018. Xavier University of Louisiana President, Dr. Reynold Verret, welcomed conference participants to their beautiful campus and Mayor LaToya Cantrell took time out of her busy schedule to welcome conference participants to the City of New Orleans. This year’s theme was, Fighting for our Lives.”   Over three hundred students, faculty, staff, faith, environmental justice and community leaders gathered to participate in the discussion about equity, inclusion, sustainability, and adaptation in the face of climate change.  Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) in attendance included: Alcorn State University, Alabama A & M University, Bethune Cookman University, Dillard University, Fisk University, Florida A & M University, Grambling State University, Howard University, Jackson State University, Kentucky State University, Lincoln University, North Carolina A & M University, South Carolina State University, Southern University A & M, Spelman College, Tennessee State University, Texas Southern University, Virginia State University, and Xavier University of Louisiana. Other university participants included the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment, University of Massachusetts Boston, Emory University – Rollins School of Public Health, Chatham University, Humboldt State University, Carnegie Mellon University-Heinz College.  Four students from De La Salle High School, were also in attendance. The four-day conference included the Plantation to Plant Tour (Cancer Alley), expert panels, student panels, a student poster session, a career fair, two keynote speakers, two interactive workshops and the 2018 Damu Smith Award. For more information Click Here.  ...

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