Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice is the acknowledgement that marginalized people, people of color and the poor suffer disproportionately from environmental degradation, and that it is our responsibility to work against the systemic injustice that creates this disparity. It is the involvement of all people, regardless of race, class, gender, national origin or income in developing, implementing and enforcing environmental laws, regulations and policies. ..more

Environmental Justice Aspects of Climate Change are referred to as Climate Justice. To connect with other Unitarian Universalists engaged in Climate Justice work, and to receive notifications about Climate Justice campaigns, register on Create Climate Justice, an organizing hub for UUs. Join the UUJF Group on that site to stay in touch with UUJF’s climate justice practitioners. 

UUJF’s Legislative Agenda addresses multiple Environmental Justice issues in the area of Clean Water and Renewable Energy and the area of Disaster Resiliency and Recovery. If you would like to have your voice heard, please register for UUJF Action Alerts. You may unsubscribe at any time.

In 2019, UUJF provided scholarships for leaders from low income  communities of color to attend UUJF’s Legislative Days, to speak with their representatives, and to speak at a press conference.            

UUJF Legislative Days 2019 Press Event Video

Please explore UUJF’s work on the frontlines of Climate Change in Florida through its Climate Resilience Ministry:

I.

Rising Together Projects UUJF’s Rising Together: Temperature, Water, Health and Strength climate resilience ministry has helped congregations, and their partners in vulnerable communities, open dialogue with municipal and county governments to address the public health impacts of climate change in their communities. 

View the video “We Can Adapt Together” about these efforts. The outreach materials and methods used in Rising Together projects were developed at the UU Fellowship of Boca Raton with funding from an EPA Environmental Justice Small Project grant. Rising Together projects pairing UU congregations with leadership in vulnerable communities have been completed in Boca Raton, Delray Beach, West Palm Beach, Sarasota, Naples and Ft. Myers. A Rising Together project in partnership with Quakers was also completed in Shorecrest, Miami.

II.

Youth Resilience Corps  There are Hurricane Response Inequities that leave communities without adequate emergency shelters, and place low income communities of color in the lowest priority to get power restored after disasters. There is also a need for positive initiatives for youth in these communities.

All Faiths Unitarian Congregation of Ft. Myers, UU Church of Ft. Myers and local partner Community Forum Foundation, Inc. worked with UUJF to secure a grant from the UU Fund for Social Responsibility to support the development of a Youth Resilience Corps by training Youth to lead hurricane preparedness and response efforts in Dunbar, Ft. Myers, FL. In the photograph above, youth learn about Climate Change and how it is affecting Florida. In the photograph on the right, youth learn First Aid skills as part of their preparedness training. Visit the Youth Resilience Corps Photo Gallery

III.

Florida Disaster Resilience Initiative

IV.

Emergency Shelter for Climate Displaced People: Phase One of the Responsive Shelter Initiative is focused on exploring urgent opportunities for fast-deployment of shelters to eliminate the need for disaster survivors to live in fragile tents, vehicles, make-shift shacks or in the open while waiting for traditional disaster housing. It is also designed to assist small businesses to engage in quick re-start of commerce to support hard-hit communities following extreme weather conditions.

 Better Shelter temporary emergency housing keeps families together and provides dignity for Florida’s hurricane homeless. We are working with many partners to bring these shelters to Bay County, where 5,000 children were still homeless 7 months after Hurricane Michael made landfall there as a CAT 5 storm with 20 ft of storm surge. Collaborators include Better Shelter.org, UU Fellowship of Bay County, Rebuild Bay, and Doorways of NW FL.

Press: Rebuild Bay County Showcases New Temporary Housing Option Sweden-based Humanitarian Project Could Help Victims of Hurricane Michael Housing Crisis

V.

There are toxic homes after Hurricane Michael in Bay County. The mold from untreated water damage, out-gassing of formaldehyde from wet drywall, and other results of hurricane damage. The photo below is a home in Lynn Haven, Bay County, Florida 8 months after Hurricane Michael.

UUJF has offered technical support to submit an EPA Environmental Justice Small Project Grant Application with LEAD Coalition of Bay County, Inc. and the Florida Disaster Resilience Initiative for the Glenwood and Millville low income Black communities to engage in a community deliberative process to examine the toxins in these homes, and to collaborate with public health experts to support human health.

VI.

And visit the Florida Interfaith Climate Actions Network‘s website. UUJF, the Florida Council of Churches, and a variety of secular partners formed Florida Interfaith Climate Actions Network in 2015. Visit the archive of our past annual Convenings, and watch the Coming Event post to register for upcoming Convenings. Below, LEAD Coalition, Inc. Executive Director Janice Lucas speaks about Panama City’s Hurricane Michael recovery at the 2019 FL-iCAN! Assembly.

VII.

Gentrification of Historic Black Communities
Technical support when Brownfields and hurricane gentrification are being used to force displacement. To the right, Lawanna Gelzer facilitates a Community Forum mapping exercise in Paramore, Orlando. 
 Community-based deliberative planning process, Survey, and Community Dashboards to support advocacy. Collaborators: Local partners in each community, Health Initiatives Foundation, Inc.’s Florida Disaster Resilience Initiative with funding from The Miami Foundation.