Environmental justice elders and advocates as well as national environmental group CEOs and senior staff gather at the Climate Forum in Washington, D.C., on June 18, 2019. The quilt, pictured at the top of the page, was presented at the First National People of Color Leadership Summit in 1991 in memory of people who died from exposure to disproportionately high levels of toxic pollution in their communities.
The Equitable and Just National Climate Platform was developed by a group of environmental justice and national environmental group advocates who participate in the Climate Forum. The Climate Forum was launched in October 2018 by the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy, the Center for American Progress, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, with support from the Midwest Environmental Justice Network and the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance. The forum aims to achieve the following goals:
- Support progress toward building trust and collaboration between environmental justice and national group leaders
- Develop national climate policy ideas that environmental justice and national groups can jointly support in the lead up to 2020 and beyond
- Identify pathways for more inclusive national climate policy development that will support environmental justice and national group advocates working together to advance shared policy goals and ideas.
The Climate Forum leverages the opportunity created by the 2020 presidential election for environmental justice and national environmental advocates to jointly develop and infuse new and equitable climate and energy ideas into the national policy conversation. Through the forum process, environmental justice and national group participants are working toward aligning around a bold national climate policy agenda that advances the goals of economic, racial, climate and environmental justice to improve the public health and well-being of all communities.
Climate Forum participants agreed to the following working assumptions, which guide how we work together:
- We share common goals for the future of the planet and the survival of all life on Earth.
- It is possible to find areas of alignment where we can work together toward common goals.
- Alignment among our groups can provide energy to move our individual and collective goals forward.
- It is possible to identify a few areas where environmental justice and national groups can work together and jointly support policies in the lead-up to 2020 and beyond.
- To increase the probability of enacting effective national climate policy following 2020, our groups must work together now to build the necessary momentum.
- This is a critical moment to bridge historic divisions in the environmental movement.
- Developing equitable inclusive climate policy is in everyone’s best interest.
The Equitable and Just National Climate Platform identifies our desired outcomes and priorities for a national climate policy agenda, including to improve the public health and well-being of all communities while tackling the climate crisis and environmental racism head-on. This historic, bold platform lays the foundation for our organizations to vastly improve the way we work together to achieve our shared vision and goals.
In addition to signing on to the platform, Climate Forum participants have committed to work together as strategic partners and allies as we shape national climate policies together; to use the platform to set and implement climate policy priorities and advocacy strategies; and to raise resources for environmental justice groups to ensure that they have the capacity needed to participate in influencing the national climate policy agenda. The Climate Forum is also committed to involving, valuing and lifting up the voices and positions of environmental justice and front-line communities in policy design and advocacy.
The process to develop the Equitable and Just National Climate Platform was guided by the Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing, developed at a meeting of environmental justice and national environmental organizations in Jemez, New Mexico, in 1996, as well as the Principles of Environmental Justice, drafted by the delegates at the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit in 1991. To view a PDF of the principles, click here.
Photo credit: Ralph Alswang for the Center for American Progress