19
Sep
2005

Katrina and Environmental Justice

Three weeks have passed since Katrina ravaged New Orleans, Biloxi and the Gulf Coast of the United States, and thousands of displaced individuals are without permanent shelter, employment, income and, unfortunately, members of their families. As a nation, we must ensure that the immediate needs of the victims of this storm and its aftermath are met effectively and expeditiously as possible. But at Redefining Progress, a research and advocacy organization working at the intersection of the environment, the economy, equity and sustainability, we are as concerned with the present as we are with the future.

We are concerned that the lessons we can extract from the disaster of Hurricane Katrina will go unlearned. Redefining Progress urges that as the city of New Orleans, the region and the United States move from discussions of rescue to those of reconstruction, we keep key themes in mind:

* Katrina's immediate and long-term impacts demonstrate our nation's vulnerability to both climate change and the toxic industries which contribute to it. With climate change, these devastating events are likely to become more frequent and even more disastrous.

* Poor populations and communities of color are disproportionately affected by climate change and its effects--and the wake of Katrina has borne out that reality. We must act on climate change now--for the benefit of these communities and for the benefit of our future.

* Residents must lead in the process of the reconstruction of their city. They must harness ownership of all facets of rebuilding--including process, politics and property--to guarantee that the reconstruction reflects and protects their interests.

Read the complete Redefining Progress statement on Katrina, her impact and our response:

//www.rprogress.org/newprojects/katrina.shtml

Hurricane Katrina's effects have been devastating, disproportionate and destructive. And justice demands that we tend to the needs of the least and the left out immediately.

But justice also demands that we address the systemic environmental, economic and social issues that may make disasters like Katrina more frequent, more dangerous and more devastating. Redefining Progress plans to be at the forefront of that work, on behalf of people, nature and the economy.

To aid victims of Hurricane Katrina, visit the Southern Partners Fund who has set up a Justice Fund for Katrina Relief and Renewal.

//www.spfund.org/

Redefining Progress, through its support of the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative and the Climate Justice Corps, is well-equipped to help Gulf Coast residents organize around, advocate for and educate their fellow residents, local and state governments and non-profit organizations on effecting positive solutions to the complex issues of rebuilding a safer, healthier and more secure Gulf Coast.

To help support this crucial work, visit Redefining Progress's website:

https://secure.ga3.org/01/redefiningprogress?rphome

We are mobilizing for action: on Saturday, Sept. 17, two emerging leaders of the environmental movement who have gone through RP's Climate Justice Corps program will join executive director Michel Gelobter to announce the expansion of the program at the Clinton Global Initiative gathering in New York City. Nia Robinson, 2003 CJC member with Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice in Detroit, Michigan and Brittany Cochran, 2004 CJC member with the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice in New Orleans, Louisiana will share their experience and present the vision of the program to an audience of world leaders, including Tony Blair of Britain, President Jacques Chirac of France, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, President Victor Yushchenko of Ukraine and the United Nations' Secretary General Kofi Annan. More about this program can be found at the EJCC's website. //ejcc.org/


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