18 Environmental Justice Organizations to Support Now
Because Black and Minority Communities Deserve Safe, Non-toxic, Healthy Environments
Environmental injustice plagues communities of color and needs to be tackled head on. Socioeconomic disparities and systemic racism are rooted in the past and continue to impact Black and ethnic minority communities, disproportionately exposing them to toxic and hazardous waste, air and water pollution, and other environmental exposures that have harmful health effects (1). These frontline communities experience the first and worst consequences of pollution and ecological change, like climate change.
Environmental justice organizations engage with local communities to achieve environmental health and justice, to prevent and reduce pollution, enforce equal environmental protections, and build healthy and safe living environments. Many groups are based in the communities they serve, but also work on issues of global importance such as petrochemical expansion and climate change.
Examples of Environmental Injustices
While the terms ‘environmental justice’ and ‘environmental injustice’ might be new to you, you’re probably already familiar with real-world examples. The crisis of lead in drinking water in Flint, Michigan, the Atlantic Coast pipeline and the Keystone XL pipeline extension, the petrochemical industry in Louisiana known as “Cancer Alley,” and Hurricane Maria’s devastation in Puerto Rico all show how environmental injustice and racism can devastate communities.
How to Get Involved
Supporting environmental justice organizations is an important tool in creating a more equitable society. There are many ways to show your support; donating, volunteering, and amplifying an organization’s mission are all easy ways to get involved.
There are many community-based, environmental justice groups. Environmental Justice Atlas, a website that maps environmental racism and social conflict, can help you find environmental justice organizations based in your community or region.
We’ve also made a list of a few organizations that environmentalists and public health advocates can support. You can check out what they are doing and learn more about environmental justice initiatives in your communities. There are many more, so this is just a start.
ACE builds the power of communities of color and low-income communities in Massachusetts to eradicate environmental racism and classism, create healthy, sustainable communities, and achieve environmental justice.
All people have a right to a clean and healthy environment in which their communities can live, work, learn, play and thrive. Towards this vision, APEN brings together a collective voice to develop an alternative agenda for environmental, social and economic justice.
We utilize civic engagement, community education, policy and media outreach to address the health inequities of African American women and their children.
We train local leaders in the rural, low-wealth or working-class neighborhoods that are dumping ground for toxins, air pollution, and other environmental degradation. We help them build confidence and power by providing them with the strategies, network, policy analysis and scientific perspective necessary to make their communities healthy and green.
The Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) formed in 2013 to create a new center of gravity in the climate movement by uniting frontline communities and organizations into a formidable force. Our translocal organizing strategy and mobilizing capacity is building a Just Transition away from extractive systems of production, consumption and political oppression, and towards resilient, regenerative and equitable economies.
The mission of CBE is to build people’s power in California’s communities of color and low income communities to achieve environmental health and justice by preventing and reducing pollution and building green, healthy and sustainable communities and environments.
The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice is dedicated to improving the lives of children and families harmed by pollution and vulnerable to climate change in the Gulf Coast Region through research, education, community and student engagement for policy change, as well as health and safety training for environmental careers.
To empower the Detroit community to protect, preserve and value the land, air and water. We build community power through environmental justice education, youth development and collaborative relationship building.
The Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform supports diverse movement towards safe chemicals and clean energy that leaves no community or worker behind. The Environmental Justice Health Alliance (EJHA) organizes direct engagement in industry reform strategies by grassroots organizations in frontline communities to promote environmental justice outcomes.
Greenlining is the solution to redlining. We advance economic opportunity and empowerment for people of color through advocacy, community and coalition building, research, and leadership development.
Empowering communities impacted first and worst by injustice. We link culture and policy to make our movements bigger, more diverse, and more powerful. We exist for everyone who identifies with Hip Hop culture to come together for positive change. Being part of Hip Hop Caucus means you can use your cultural expression to shape your political experience.
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade uses grassroots action to create an informed, healthy society that holds the petrochemical industry and government accountable for the true costs of pollution to hasten the transition from fossil fuels.
Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project inspires and engages in transformative action towards the liberation and restoration of land, labor, and culture. We are rooted in vibrant social movements led by low-income communities and communities of color committed to a Just Transition away from profit and pollution and towards healthy, resilient and life-affirming local economies.
The NAACP ECJ Program was created to provide resources and support community leadership in addressing environmental injustices by advocating for these three objectives: 1) Reduce Harmful Emissions, Particularly Greenhouse Gases 2) Advance Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy 3) Strengthen Community Resilience and Livability.
To promote health and environmental equality for all people of North Carolina through community action for clean industry, safe workplaces and fair access to all human and natural resources. We seek to accomplish these goals through organizing, advocacy, research, and education based on principles of economic equity and democracy for all people.
Outdoor Afro has become the nation’s leading, cutting edge network that celebrates and inspires Black connections and leadership in nature. We help people take better care of themselves, our communities, and our planet!
T.e.j.a.s is dedicated to providing community members with the tools necessary to create sustainable, environmentally healthy communities by educating individuals on health concerns and implications arising from environmental pollution, empowering individuals with an understanding of applicable environmental laws and regulations and promoting their enforcement, and offering community building skills and resources for effective community action and greater public participation.
WE ACT’s mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices.