by Mamelang Memela, Climate Justice Program Associate
As a new staff member at CSE, my onboarding experience allowed me to participate in the annual United States Climate Action Network Conference via Zoom. USCAN is a network of over 175 organizations from throughout the country. USCAN aims to build a strong network to help fight climate change by encouraging members to be aligned and working toward the same goals in different areas related to climate and environmental justice work. CSE is a member of USCAN and works to position our goals and values within the wider climate action movement through our policies and campaigns.
I had the privilege of attending the BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) convening which was centered around healing, radical solutions and looking forward to ensuring that the work of member organizations are rooted in intersectionality. This means that the campaigns, policies and initiatives that are undertaken by member organizations must have just and fair impacts, particularly seeking to ensure that vulnerable and marginalized communities are protected and not left behind in the fight against climate change.
It is important to remember that the fight for both climate and environmental justice is rooted in both social and economic justice for all people around the world. People of color and other marginalized groups continue to be disproportionately impacted by climate change while power plants and refineries are mostly located in black neighborhoods around the country. As an organization, CSE continues to be committed to the environmental justice principles that seek to ensure that the costs are borne by the polluter and that the benefits of a just transition away from fossil fuels focus on the frontline communities and those most harmed by the extractive economy. Many of our campaigns, and proposed policies such as The Braided River Collaborative (see blog by my colleague, Elijah Cetas) Fossil Fuel Risk Bonds and the collaborative Stop Zenith Campaign are examples of work we are engaging in in Portland and elsewhere nationally where we are working to uphold our commitment to environmental and social justice.
As we look forward to a brighter future, we at CSE are committed to work with partners to accelerate the transition to a sustainable and just society for all people.