New York City Environmental Justice Alliance
Diversity In Energy Spotlight
The environmental justice movement works to address the inequities in US environmental policy which disproportionately expose Black people to environmental hazards including close proximity to waste facilities, poor quality water infrastructure, and air pollution. Last week, we provided a primer on the environmental justice movement which discusses the movement’s origin, history, and urgent relevance today. We will continue to call attention to the environmental justice movement by highlighting organizations doing this important work. Today, we focus on the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.
Founded in 1991, the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA) is a “citywide membership network linking grassroots organizations from low-income neighborhoods and communities of color in their struggle for environmental justice”. Through NYC-EJA’s efforts, member organizations work together to focus on specific common issues that threaten the vitality of low-income communities of color and their residents. NYC-EJA empowers its member organizations to advocate for improved environmental conditions by the coordination of campaigns designed to inform City and State policies.
NYC-EJA is unique in its ability to nurture a collective voice to mobilize citywide support to resolve environmental justice issues, highlight issues and policies which affect multiple communities and require innovative and creative problem solving, and involve people of color and other stakeholders in leadership roles to resolve the environmental justice issues which directly affect them.
For over 20 years, NYC-EJA has been working at the forefront of City and State campaigns to advance environmental justice. In April, NYC-EJA released its Climate Justice Agenda 2020 which includes recommended timelines and financial and legislative commitments to create healthy and resilient neighborhoods, strategies for tackling emissions equitably, and opportunities to create good, green jobs in the transition to a cleaner NYC. NYC-EJA’s Community Air Mapping Project for Environmental Justice (CAMP-EJ) is a community-led participatory research project that empowers communities to measure and understand their local air quality, and to use this data to drive campaigns to address disproportionate impacts of pollutants like GHG emissions. Air quality monitoring has proven to be an important tool for community advocacy and, paired with truck counting, played a key role in advocacy for the transformation of the inefficient and polluting commercial waste system.
NYC-EJA has also collaborated with several partners to ensure that energy planning and economic development in NYC are conducted equitably, without placing an outsized burden on low-income and communities of color. NYC-EJA is involved in a number of initiatives related to just clean energy transitions, including the co-development of NY Renews. NY Renews is an unprecedented statewide coalition of over 200 environmental, justice, faith, labor, and community groups fighting for climate policies in New York. In 2016, the coalition mobilized passage of the New York State Climate and Community Protection Act, which sets a path to the highest standard nationwide for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions – 100% of human-caused climate pollution eliminated by 2050 from all sectors.
NYC-EJA plays a critical role in the environmental justice movement in NYC. The group addresses issues that threaten the health of our city and gives a voice to New Yorkers who experience environmental justice issues in their home and neighborhoods. You can keep up with NYC-EJA in their newsroom, and support the organization by making a donation.