What Is Climate Justice?

Climate justice includes a focus on the root causes of climate change and making the systemic changes that are therefore required, a commitment to address the disproportionate burden of the climate crisis on the poor and marginalized, a demand for participatory democracy in changing these systems which require dismantling the fossil fuel corporate power structure, and a commitment to reparations and thus a fair distribution of the world’s wealth (Peaceful Uprising). Around the world, we are seeing that communities of color live, work, or attend education near areas of environmental pollution such as power plants, highways, and high traffic roads. The long term implication of this exposure is worsened health conditions and limited access to general necessities such as healthy food or public services. As people of faith, we are taught that each person has intrinsic worth and value, and that it is our duty to stand among those who have faced oppression and fight against the oppressive systems that continue to persist in our modern world. ICEJ is currently fighting against environmental injustice brought upon inefficient transportation systems; more information is found on our Better Access, Better Air page.

The lag of justice for all persists even now, and our fight as people of faith is not over until the oppressors and oppressive systems have been undone.

Living a good life in a good way can only happen by first recognizing that the root causes of the daily economic, environmental, and social inequity that plagues communities worldwide are also compromising the metabolism of Mother Earth; and that the real solutions must address both the economic and ecological crisis.

Climate Justice Alliance

I am convinced that climate change represents a historic opportunity on an even greater scale. As part of the project of getting our emissions down to the levels many scientists recommend, we once again have the chance to advance policies that dramatically improve lives, close the gap between rich and poor, create huge numbers of good jobs, and reinvigorate democracy from the ground up.

Naomi Klein

Climate Justice & Faith

Most religions do not see the striving for wealth or status as the goal of life. Instead the goals of life:

  • Service to some kind of higher good or divinity
  • Service to fellow human beings
  • Transcending material concerns including pursuit of wealth and status
  • Compassion for the poor and marginalized

Compassion for the marginalized means advocating for their fundamental rights!

Holy One, known by many names and beyond all names, known in many ways and beyond our knowing:
We gather together this evening in the cold of winter as people of many faiths, as Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Unitarian Universalists, as believers and non believers, young and old, gay and straight, black and white, Hispanic and Asian, Republicans and Democrats, documented and undocumented, siblings and neighbors: a human rainbow united by our shared faith in the ideals of justice, democracy, community, the common good, and love of our neighbors.

Shelter us, we pray, when the cold winds of indifference, divisiveness, and narrow self interest howl in the night, chilling our hearts and rattling the windows of our souls.

Help us to find new hope, we ask, when hope is hard to find, when we forget that this struggle is a movement not a moment, when we wonder whether we’ll ever reach the promised land of beloved community and cry out in despair and frustration: “How long? How long?”

Remind us this evening and with the dawning of each new day that the moral arc of the universe is long, but that it bends toward justice.

Grant us, we pray, the strength and courage to stand up and speak out against injustice, discrimination, and oppression, to reclaim in this day and time the mantle of prophets who throughout the ages have spoken truth to power and called those with power and privilege to honor, respect, protect, and care for the least of those among us—the poor, the homeless, the hungry, the sick, the broken, the forgotten, the strangers in our land.

Grant us, too, wisdom and humility that we might speak our truth in love, remembering that “hatred and bitterness can never cure the disease of fear.”

Accompany us as you did those brave souls who, in the face of police and horses and billy clubs, crossed the Edmund Pettus bridge and walked from Selma to Montgomery to demand that the most fundamental right in a democratic society—the right to vote—not be denied to any citizen of this nation.

This we pray in the name of all that we hold sacred, holy, right, good, and true.

Let the people say “Amen.” May it be so.

– JOHN SAxon