The issue opens with an interview with Robert D. Bullard, known as “the father of environmental justice” because of his decades-long pioneering scholarship and activism fighting against environmental racism in the U.S. “A Policy Approach to Climate Justice,” by Jalonne White-Newsome, gives specific recommendations for achieving climate justice through policy at the executive, congressional and grassroots levels. In “Ecowomanism: Black Women, Religion and the Environment,” Melanie L. Harris explains that ecowomanism is rooted in Alice Walker’s womanist writings, the environmental justice movement, and its connection to ecofeminism. In “What Do We Know About Climate Change: The Jamaican Pedro Cays Fishers’ Case,” April Karen Baptiste takes us to the Caribbean, one of the regions most vulnerable to climate change. Leslie G. Fields closes out the issue with “Mercy Mercy Me, A (Climate) Change is Going to Come.” Fields states that proper implementation of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan will help African Americans suffering from the negative effects of climate change. She also discusses the Paris Agreement created at COP21 in December 2015 and links it to the environmental justice movement in the U.S.
Since there is a need for much more scholarship and activism around climate change and justice for Black people in the U.S. and elsewhere, this special issue is also a call to action. As the coalition of more than 50 groups, including Black Lives Matter, stated in their recently released platform: “Black people are amongst the most affected by climate change. If we’re not serious about reducing emissions, the planet will keep getting hotter and Black people will continue to bear the biggest brunt of climate change.”
Read a special forum on the relationship between the Black Lives Matter movement and climate justice on our blog.