Climate Justice

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

Climate protesters

Credit: 350 Maine 

 

What is climate justice? 

The term climate justice frames the climate crisis as a political and ethical issue. It emphasizes that climate crisis  is about power, as this video from 350.org explains. In order to fully combat the political systems that have created the climate crisis, and promote a just transition to sustainable systems, the power must shift from fossil fuel companies to the people through climate justice. 

Protester holding no coal and climate justice signs

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

 

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.