Communities of color, Tribal nations, and low-income communities are the most vulnerable to the impacts of a changing climate. Heat waves, droughts, floods, and poor air quality all take a disproportionate toll on these communities. 

Unfortunately, climate change is only the most recent example of the way environmental burdens have long been shifted to marginalized communities. For generations, those who live closest to sources of major environmental pollution such as landfills, incinerators, mines, power plants, and heavy industry have disproportionately been people of color.

Environmental justice initiatives seek to confront this legacy so that no community is made to bear a disproportionate environmental burden. 

  • Environmental justice challenges us to be explicit about how and with whom we make decisions about public health and the stewardship of our natural resources. 
  • Environmental policy and management decisions must be more transparent and more inclusive. 
  • Access to the technical and legal resources that communities need to confront environmental threats must be more equitable. 
  • And finally, environmental justice concerns must be central to the way we confront climate change so that no community disproportionately suffers its effects.

We can all play a role in advancing environmental and climate justice.

Here are some resources to get you started:

Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission
Milwaukee City-County Task Force on Climate and Economic Equity
UW-Madison Energy & Climate Justice Hub
Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI)