EJCC led and organized the dynamic Youth Track at WeAct's ACJ Conference in January.

Ezra Small writes from WeAct’s Advancing Climate Justice Conference:

I was astonished on February 1, when I read in The Week that a new Pew Research Center poll found that out of 20 issues Americans say should be their elected leaders’ top concern, global warming ranks last.

I just returned home from a two day conference in New York City, called “Advancing Climate Justice” sponsored by WE ACT. Throughout the two days I repeatedly heard the alarming figures from elected officials, human health experts, social science professors, and community organizers, that if we don’t take drastic actions on global warming over the next 5 years, humans, especially the low income, communities of color, and indigenous people of the US and the world will disproportionately and unfairly be faced with massive humanitarian, health, and environmental crises.

The poll found that among the other issues that ranked higher than climate change were the economy, terrorism, energy, and immigration. The irony of this is that these apparently more stressing issues are either directly related to global warming, or will be strongly exacerbated by global warming! Americans clearly need to more aware about the following items brought up at the conference.

In the Appalachians, over 3.5 million pounds of explosives are used daily to blow up what used to be 450 mountains, and over 1,000 miles of rivers have been filled in due to the destructive process of mountain top removal for coal, which accounts for nearly half of our nation’s electricity generation. These poor, rural communities have the highest rates of cancer in the country. In Chicago, black and Latino neighborhoods that are situated under smoke stacks, under highways, and near barges that carry in coal ash, have some of the highest rates of childhood asthma in the country. All the while, burning coal accounts for more global warming pollution than burning oil and gas combined, and we see “King Coal,” the largest coal companies barrage us everyday with “Clean Coal” commercials and billboards. Clean coal is a dirty lie!

I heard a presentation from a NASA scientist about how the United States is and will begin to see higher temperatures, more frequent and intense rain fall, more intense droughts, and mounting impacts on water and food availability, human health, more lack of human mobility, and higher sea levels. Who will be impacted? It’s the low income, people of color, in dense populations in our American cities, and primarily in countries in the southern Hemisphere who lack the resiliency resources, the transportation, the access to knowledge and information, proper health care, and are ultimately more vulnerable than anyone else. The towns of Brownsville, Texas and its sister city of Matomoros on the US/Mexican border has had recent outbreaks of a tropical disease called Dengue Fever now spreading faster with global warming. However the Mexican town Matamoros has 5 times more cases than Brownsville. If you think immigration is a problem now, just wait until billions of people have to migrate to where there is more water or less disease.

You think we are in an economic crisis now? If carbon emissions in the developing world don’t peak in the next 5 years and we don’t bring the global atmospheric concentrations back down to 350 parts per million of CO2, our chance of stabilizing ice melt, encroaching desserts, and disastrous storms, could become an impossibility. Because we did not act over the last 25 or 30 years, this global emergency mobilization to mitigate and adapt to climate change is now upon us. Mitigation and adaptation measures are going to cost trillions of dollars. Who can afford that? It is our responsibility and obligation to the rest of the world to pay for this because not only do we do the polluting but we also have the distributed income and capacity to go “green” more than India and China or any other nation in the world.

At the conference I spent two afternoons of workshops with the young people who were attending the conference. We were brought together by members of the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative (EJCC) and asked to discuss where and how the Youth Movement can lead the way in the greater environmental justice movement. This was the highlight of the two days among all of the dreary stories and reports of the state of our communities and our world, this classroom was filled with the young leaders who have the energy that we need right now. A group of about 20 college students, campus organizers, and young professionals discussed what we can do to make the planet and our local communities look like what we want them to look like. I wonder if these people were polled by the Pew Research Center.

There are amazing leaders in every city and town and reservation in our country doing the work to organize their communities around these issues, and you can be one of those people too. The last weekend in February, Power Shift ’09 will bring together over 10,000 young people for a weekend of training and the biggest youth lobbying day in history. Go to for more info. On March 2nd, there will be a mass civil disobedience action at a coal plant inside Washington DC. Go to for more info.

Ezra Small is the Project Organizer for the Climate Crisis Coalition.


9 Responses to “ASTONISHED”

  1. 1 atomcat March 12, 2009 at 1:04 am

    global warming is a fraud

    There’s really not much else to say on the matter


  2. 2 Willie Williamson May 4, 2009 at 2:27 am

    I want to start by saying that I was very please to see that you are a multi-cultural group taking on this issue. If there is ever going to be a real movement to educate the public on the seriousness of climate change we must see the equal footing this particular issue demands of us all. If you have anything that will help establish a curriculum for urban middle school students, please let me know.

  3. 3 JASON August 1, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    this just a test not that good with e-mail

  4. 4 JASON August 1, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    ECO FRIENDLY 😉 just would like to say thank u to u and ur team 4 putting this wedsite together,,im not that good at doing E-mails but when i was let go with the building i started to do gardening around the place where i live in a plaace call co .meath in ireland.Im getting a team together 4 a tidy towns to plant as MANY FLOWERS as we can do and if u can help in any way at all much thanks 4 that >>>>>> 4 WHAT FLOWERS 2 PLANT WOULD BE GOOD 4 THE HONEY BEES >>>>>> YOUR ECO FRIEND JAYO 🙂 ;] 🙂

  5. 5 d.o. September 22, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Actions Spreading Across the U.S. Against Corporate-Driven Climate Policy

    Pittsburgh, PA–As groups protest the Pittsburgh International Coal Conference days before the G-20 arrives in the city, additional actions against U.S. climate policy and the fossil fuels industry took place on both the east and west coasts.

    In New York City, Climate SOS, New York Climate Action Group and Rising Tide North America protested what they called “a greenwashed U.S. climate agenda” at the opening of NYC Climate Week. Activists distributed their version of the ACESA (American Clean Energy and Security Act) bill to event attendees and media in the form of fake $2 trillion bills [1] which subtly depict a collusion of prominent Green NGOs (NRDC, the Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund among others) with corporate backers of the bill (BP, Shell, Dow, and others). Climate SOS organizers Dr. Rachel Smolker and Dr. Maggie Zhou engaged ceremony patrons with a pointed critique of the bill’s corporate-friendly implications.

    Meanwhile on the west coast, the Mobilization for Climate Justice also took action in San Francisco against Chevron and the corporate-driven U.S. climate bill. Activists blocked four lanes of traffic with a parachute-shaped banner which read “Climate Justice or Climate Chaos.” “If Congress wants to protect the public interest, they would never consider adopting the current climate bill (ACESA) that was written by big oil and energy corporations in the first place,” said Carla Pérez of the Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project. “Cap and Trade legislation coupled with direct subsidies to oil, coal, nuclear, bio-fuels and incinerator industries will only serve to add hundreds of toxic smokestacks in our backyards, she added.”

    Back in Pittsburgh, climate activists met in Schenley Park to set up the climate convergence–a space to talk about issues related to climate change and climate justice. Part of this effort includes the New Voices on Climate Change program of Global Justice Ecology Project. Anna Pinto, from CORE in India, who came to the U.S. for a speaking tour as part of the New Voices on Climate Change program [2] , explained why opening space to discuss climate justice is so important. “Climate justice is not abstract. It’s practical, it’s about survival. It’s about need against greed,” Ms. Pinto explained. “Is it worth it to have three cars today to have your children die of horrible diseases tomorrow? Both the United States and Indian governments are pandering to the greed of industrialists and financiers rather than enabling ordinary people to provide for their needs,” she concluded.

    Indigenous Environmental Network’s Jihan Gearon, another New Voices on Climate Change participant, added her view on the centrality of climate justice within the discussion of climate change in the U.S. “From extraction to transportation to refinement to distribution to consumption to storage, Indigenous Peoples are disproportionately impacted all along this road of destruction. The end result is contaminated and diminished food and water resources, forced removals, increased rates of illness and gridlocked economies,” she explained.”

    Global warming and climate change pose yet another serious threat. The land of the Indigenous people in the arctic is literally melting under their feet, disrupting the lifecycles of the plants and animals they depend on, and forcing coastal and island communities to abandon their homes and traditional lands. What happens to a culture when the land and environment it stems from no longer exists? Even more frightening is that the proposed solutions to climate change, such as carbon trading, nuclear power, and ‘clean’ coal technologies, will only exacerbate the problems we face,” she added.

    The repression experienced by indigenous and marginalized communities around the world due to climate change and the fossil fuel economy is today being echoed in Pittsburgh as a result of the same G-20 countries that are the main drivers of climate change. Activists with the Three Rivers Climate Convergence and Seeds of Peace have been harassed and arrested numerous times over the past few weeks in the build up to the G-20 meetings later this week.

    Protests across the U.S. demanding real, effective and just action on climate are expected to continue throughout the fall, to culminate on November 30th with massive non-violent civil disobedience actions nationally and internationally.

    November 30th is significant as it is both the tenth anniversary of the historic shutdown of the WTO (World Trade Organization) meetings in Seattle and exactly one week before the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen, where world leaders will meet to hammer out a new global agreement on climate.

    Activists are joining together around the world to ensure that any new agreement on climate is devoted to real and just action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and not focused on corporate-controlled, profit-oriented false solutions to climate change. Massive protests are being organized by the international network Climate Justice Action to occur during the UN meeting in Copenhagen, which some activists have begun to call “CorporateHaven” due to the overwhelming influence of industry in the climate debate.


    Orin Langelle, Global Justice Ecology Project +1.802.578.6980

    Ananda Lee Tan, Mobilization for Climate Justice West Coast +1.415.374.0615/ +1.510.883.9490 ext. 102

    Hallie Boas, New Voices on Climate Change Coordinator +1.415.336.6590/ +

    Rachel Smolker, Climate SOS, +1.802.735.7794

    Abigail Singer, Mobilization for Climate Justice Co-Coordinator, +1.828.280.3462



    [2] The New Voices on Climate Change speaking tour is co-sponsored by Global Exchange, Speak Out and the Mobilization for Climate Justice. Its goal is to highlight and amplify the voices of people and communities impacted by climate change, the fossil fuel industry and profit-driven false solutions to climate change.

  6. 6 Pittsburgh Reviews January 3, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Good job with the article. Keep up the good work!

  7. 7 Pure Leverage May 6, 2013 at 11:08 am

    You could definitely see your expertise in the article you write.
    The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you
    who are not afraid to mention how they believe. Always follow your heart.

  8. 8 Lester June 18, 2013 at 1:33 am

    How to Get Things StartedAs with any business lists uk opportunity into income. You can do anything you set your mind to. These codes are easy to source and give your jewelry an individual flair, which helps to make it more saleable. There are also some disadvantages to owning a business lists uk may not be the best case scenario.

  9. 9 Terrance January 17, 2014 at 12:25 am

    Recommendations on how To Win once again in the Internet based Dating Game.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

March 2009
« Feb    

%d bloggers like this: