The Movement for Black Lives launched a new climate change effort on Thursday, bringing together more than 200 Black environmental leaders and groups from throughout the country who have promised to create fair climate solutions focused on Black Americans and communities.

The Black Hive effort expands on the movement’s 2021 Red, Black, and Green New Deal by reintroducing its Black Climate Mandate, which underlines the urgency of a Black climate agenda and investment in fair policies that explicitly safeguard Black Americans.

The revelation, first reported by The Associated Press, comes in the aftermath of a Supreme Court ruling limiting the EPA’s jurisdiction to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, as well as the recent enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Numerous studies have indicated that for decades, Black and other communities of color have borne the brunt of climate and environmental problems. According to Black Hive leaders, structural racism, the legacy of enslavement, and socioeconomic conditions such as redlining, segregation, and poverty have increased the likelihood of Black neighborhoods being placed near toxic areas or directly affected by climate change.

“The climate crisis is occurring as a result of corporate greed, government negligence, divestment from solutions, and investment in harmful institutions such as the fossil fuel industry, which are harming our people,” said Valencia Gunder, national co-lead of The Black Hive. “It’s past time for America to confront the anti-Black racism that exists here.”

Gunder stated that she has already witnessed the effects of climate change in her native state of Florida. She has been involved in community climate justice projects, concentrating on the effects of increasing sea levels, residential displacement, and housing and food security challenges. Farmers in South Florida have told her that saltwater intrusion is causing agricultural damage.

“The climate crisis is probably the most important issue we can work on,” added Gunder. “If we don’t hurry up and pay attention and get to resiliency, I believe we’ll see more destruction, harm or death, and illness.”

The Movement for Black Lives is a national network of over 150 leaders and groups that was formed to provide a broad political home for Black people to mobilize across the country and within their communities. Beyond police, the movement has extended to cover topics such as climate change and environmental justice. The collective is asking people to sign the Black Climate and Environmental Justice Pledge and commit to furthering The Black Hive’s Black Climate Mandate, which will be updated this year.

According to the Black Hive founders, they intend to provide local communities and Black-led groups with resources, data and technology, communications, and emergency response assistance. Water, energy, land, labor, economy and reparations, democracy, health, and worldwide Black diaspora solidarity are among the issues addressed by the effort. Participants intend to increase awareness through grassroots organizing and community education.

The environment project is especially urgent for California organizer Aleta Alston-Toure′.

Advocates like as Alston-Toure’ have questioned recent federal climate actions, such as the Inflation Reduction Act signed into law last month by President Joe Biden. Its supporters claim that billions of dollars in climate and environmental investments will flow to communities across the country that have long been beset by pollution and climatic dangers. However, supporters argue that it is not aggressive enough in tackling climate challenges affecting Black Americans, and they oppose aspects in the plan that favor the spread of fossil fuels.

“These are Band-Aid solutions,” said Alston-Toure′, a member of the Parable of the Sower Intentional Community Cooperative, which spans multiple states. “There is no solution if Black (communities) and Indigenous nations, particularly those in the Gulf South, must suffer in order to provide Band-Aid solutions to the general public.” We want to be taken seriously and to know that our votes count because this is a lynching of our communities, and we must be heard.”

14 environmental justice organizations began receiving funding in June as part of the Justice40 program, a Biden administration vow to enhance the environment in disadvantaged regions and assist them in preparing for climate change. The project aims to direct 40% of all climate and environmental investments to communities that face environmental challenges such as diesel pollution, lead water pipes, and a lack of access to green spaces.

However, Alston-Toure’ believes that communities must be able to trust that money from these new efforts will go directly to Black-led organizations. She claims that far too often, the majority of financing goes to groups or individuals who are not entrenched in the communities affected.

According to a study conducted last year by The New School’s Tishman Environment and Design Center, between 2016 and 2017, 12 national environmental grant makers awarded $1.34 billion to organizations in the Gulf and Midwest regions — but only $18 million, or 1.3%, was awarded to environmental justice organizations.

Last year, Donors of Color, a philanthropic organization dedicated to promoting racial equity in environmental project funding across the country, launched a pledge drive challenging the nation’s top climate funders to direct 30% of their donations toward environmental efforts led by Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and other people of color.

The Rev. Michael Malcom, founder and executive director of The People’s Justice Council in Alabama, expressed hope that the Movement for Black Lives’ new climate program will focus attention on neighborhoods that have long been ignored and result in meaningful change.

“In the South, we often suffer in silence,” Malcom added. “We frequently suffer from industrial pollution, illegal land use, and even legal but undesirable land use, as well as our communities.” We have flooding in our neighborhoods, and we have industrial pollutants in our neighborhoods. Those Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities require a voice and someone to advocate for them. And who better to represent those than religious communities? We’re addressing climate change by speaking in our communities’ languages.”

Source: AP News

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