Activists call for Justice to be core in Nevada’s Climate Plan
Nevada — Representatives of the Nevada Environmental Justice Coalition and its partner organizations spoke today at the Nevada Climate Initiative’s virtual listening session on climate justice. Community members and representatives of organizations alike raised issues with the process and discussed their work for climate justice.
“We have a vision of intersectional climate justice for Nevada that the state climate plan needs to reflect,” said Ainslee Archibald, coalition coordinator for the Nevada Environmental Justice Coalition. “However, while important issues have been raised in these sessions, they are far from representative of the state and the impacts being experienced right now by frontline communities. Outreach and language inclusivity needs to be prioritized at every step of this process.”
The Coalition was formed in 2019 to bring together environmental and social justice organizations in Nevada to work on a shared goal of climate justice. In a series of statements from these partners, the coalition shared how climate injustice impacts Nevadans, and the ways the Nevada Climate Initiative should grapple with these realities.
“You can’t talk about solutions to climate change without talking about solutions to environmental injustice. True environmental justice means shaping public policy to encompass the fullness in humanity of those who have been structurally written into society’s margins – i.e. Black, Brown, Indigenous, women and families,” said Quentin M. Savwoir, Political Director for Make It Work Nevada.
“When thinking about cleaner transportation options, and renewable energy options it is important to consider the disparities that exist in our community, and for us to be more inclusive when coming up with solutions. We cannot continue to have conversations about climate issues without considering and making climate justice a priority,” said Cinthia Moore, national lead for EcoMadres.
“My generation should not have to question whether or not we will be able to live the rest of our lives here because of unlivable conditions caused by the climate crisis. We have the ability, the resources, and the duty to work as a community to save this state and ourselves. The Green New Deal is climate justice,” said Dexter Lim, Hub Coordinator for Sunrise Vegas.
“Nevada fails to capture the wealth produced by mining due to a tax system written by and for the mining industry, so when mines leave what is left is a legacy of toxic pit lakes, broken treaties, underfunded state social services destroy, and disruption the vegetation and natural water systems that our Indigenous and rural communities need along with wildlife,” said Jose Silva, Environmental Justice Organizer with the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada
“In Northern Nevada, many rural communities aren’t aware of air quality standards, and they don’t have appropriate air quality monitors. Black, brown, and low income communities in Nevada are also disproportionately impacted by air pollution, and because of lack of air monitoring, they have had no way to prove that their air is unsafe to breathe.” said Jennifer Cantley, Northern Nevada Field consultant for the Moms Clean Air Force Nevada Chapter.
“To ensure we perpetuate justice in our state’s climate strategies, great attention and focus must be placed now on how we extract/mine materials. Climate strategy that excludes care towards the sourcing of the materials needed for these renewable energy technologies, and the places and peoples where this extraction occurs, cannot and will not ever be just,” said Chelsey Hand, Outreach and Program Coordinator for Great Basin Resource Watch.
“For-profit corporations shouldn’t decide the future of the climate crisis. The people should. The Nevada Climate Initiative should focus on decentralized energy, to break down the systems of oppression which cause environmental injustice and empower all people to take control of their future,” said Patrick Donnelly, Nevada state director for the Center for Biological Diversity.
“It is possible to redesign our cities and lifestyles to be more sustainable and lessen our footprint, but we do not believe the burden of change falls on the average residents shoulders. Corporations who have been extracting our natural resources and selling us lies must carry the burden of remediating their destruction of the planet,” said Eymhy Corpus, Organizer with the Sierra Club Toiyabe Chapter.
“I lived in one of the most polluted cities in the United States, and greenhouse gas emissions originating from the refinery was likely a contributing factor to my asthma. The majority of residents were also people of color and embattled by higher poverty rates and violent crime,” said Ariel Guevara, Nevada Civic Engagement Coordinator for Mi Familia Vota. Mi Familia Vota was not able to join the live listening session, but submitted a statement with the coalition.
The full statements can be found on our website, NVEnviroJustice.org.
The Nevada Environmental Justice Coalition is a coalition of 11 Nevada-based organizations united in the fight for intersectional climate and environmental justice action. The Coalition is formed of member groups Center for Biological Diversity, EcoMadres, Great Basin Resource Watch, Indivisible of Northern Nevada, Make It Work Nevada, Make the Road Nevada, Mi Familia Vota, Moms Clean Air Force, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, Sierra Club Toiyabe Chapter, and Sunrise Movement Las Vegas Hub.