Climate Justice and Solidarity

350 Maine is a grassroots movement dedicated to fighting for climate justice.

 

What is climate justice? 

Climate Justice requires the recognition that the climate crisis was caused by failures of our political, social, and economic systems. It demands intersectional solutions that will transform these systems and hold those responsible for the climate crisis accountable; resulting in a livable future where all can thrive.

Why is climate justice important? 

Climate change disproportionately affects marginalized people, including low income groups, communities of color, Indigenous groups, and Global South countries. These groups tend to be communities who have contributed the least to climate change. Climate justice centers marginalized groups, addressing how climate change does not affect people equally. Climate justice movements work towards a just transition to systems that work for the planet and everyone, not just fossil fuel companies and privileged members of society who can more easily adapt to the effects of climate change. 

Communities of Color and Climate Change

Credit: Front and Centered

 

What does climate justice look like in Maine? 

Many people in Maine are on the frontlines of the climate crisis and due to factors like race, class, and gender, face the harshest consequences of climate change. 350 Maine acknowledges how climate change affects people differently in Maine and aims to center those marginalized and on the frontlines of the climate crisis in conversations about climate change.  

One major example of Mainers on the frontlines of climate change are Maine fishermen, whose livelihoods are threatened by Maine fisheries shifting north due to warming waters. People in other natural resource dependent industries, like farmers, will also be affected by climate change.

Maine’s Indigenous people are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis. For example, the National Climate Assessment reports that “climate change and other environmental stressors are affecting the range, quality, and quantity of berry resources for the Wabanaki Tribes in the Northeast.” The Pleasant Point Tribal Government recognizes how climate change threatens their community, creating a Climate Change Program in response. This program “create[s] information stream about climate change for Wabanaki people, “preserv[es] & adapt[s] Wabanaki cultural heritage in face of climate change,” and “provide[s] the tools for each reservation to start creating climate adaptation plans.” 

Many members of Maine’s immigrant communities have fled from instability created or exacerbated by climate change. When considering climate change in Maine, we must provide new Mainers support so they do not face further instability due to the climate crisis.

 

Our JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) work as an organization:

350 Maine is committed to the crucial work of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI), and is putting organizational resources including money and staff time behind it. We recognize that the environmental movement in Maine has been ruled historically by white supremacy culture and are working on ourselves and our organization to upend this.

We support the Wabanaki Alliance and have held a Maine Wabanaki REACH workshop for our staff and members in our ongoing efforts to decolonize ourselves and our organization. To further our work we have funded a Climate Justice Fellowship for Maine Youth for Climate Justice and created a Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) advisory group made up of activists who are committed to bringing a justice framework to and increasing accessibility in Maine’s climate movements. This group’s goal is to intentionally broaden our engagement of, and work with, diverse and marginalized communities. We want 350 Maine to become a more welcoming and justice oriented space that centers marginalized voices in our membership and leadership. 

Our JEDI advisory group started work on a Glossary which is meant to serve as a guiding document as 350 Maine strives to truly embody Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in our work to address the climate crisis. We’ve drawn on numerous sources as well as personal experience. We aim for this glossary to be a resource for our staff, volunteers, and members and for our JEDI work to be a framework for our values, initiatives, and decisions. It is vital that organizations like 350 Maine go beyond statements and documents and implement justice oriented action. We want to note that we all have work to do and it will take a lifetime. Here is just one place to start: JEDI GLOSSARY