Countdown to Earth Day 2016: #11 Become a Social Justice Warrior

Countdown to Earth Day 2016: #11 Become a Social Justice Warrior April 11, 2016
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Source: Jonathan Mann 

So you’ve already signed A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment, and you don’t want Earth Day (April 22) to go by unobserved. What can you do? Over the next 21 days, I will be offering practical and productive suggestions for how you can honor the Earth this Earth Day.

While climate change affects us all, there are some populations who are more vulnerable than others, including low-income communities, communities of color, coastal communities, and communities on the front lines of fossil fuel extraction. One way you can honor the Earth this Earth Day is to become a social justice warrior. “Social justice warrior” is a term that has become pejorative in recent years, but numerous people have called for a reclamation of the term.

Start by finding a front line organization near you and offer to support their work. Ask them what kind of help they need and take direction from them. Search for stories, research, and data about climate change on a local level. Find ways to support struggles in other neighborhoods, in other countries, and on indigenous peoples’ land — especially if those people don’t look or act like you.

Support ways to keep our human population below the carrying capacity of the planet that do not unfairly burden the poor and underprivileged, like supporting programs that provide easy access to voluntary birth control, and equal access to education and work for women. Support organizations like Planned ParenthoodGirl Rising, and The Greenbelt Movement.

But don’t blame the poor. How many shantytown dwellers and subsistence farmers do you have to add up to equal the ecological impact of a single high-powered executive? Remember that it is the ruling class that controls the options available to poor people, and whose policies, consumption habits and ideology responsible for the climate crisis.


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