Clean Water Action recently held its 33rd annual conference, Unity & Action NOW, at Wardlaw+Hartridge School in Edison, New Jersey. This annual interactive, educational event brought together New Jersey residents, community and organizational leaders, scientists, policymakers, business thinkers and students who are focused on protecting water and creating more resilient, sustainable and healthy communities. If you missed it, view event photos here and presentations by clicking on the links below.
We were honored to have received a welcome video message from NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and visit from Congressman Frank Pallone during our networking lunch. Dominique Lueckenhoff, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs & Sustainability of Hugo Neu Corporation gave an excellent keynote address calling for the urgent need to #ActOnClimate now.
"By the year 2050, we're going to be out of water. We're already seeing climate refugees because the intensity and frequenty of storms. Climate change is not new, we've known about it for a long time. The science has been there probably since the 40s. Climate disasters are making places increasingly unliveable. Hurricane Katrina for example - speaking of refugees - there are people there that are displaced and now spread across the country. Between 2016 and 2018, the average number of billion dollar disasters as a result of weather were more than double the long term average. In fact, they are increasing over time. Climate change is increasing this frequency." - Dominique Lueckenhoff, Hugo New Corporation
The Environmental and Social Justice panel focused on how best to unite environmental, social justice and multi-issue organizations to ensure positive results and shared successes on critical campaigns such as clean water for all, environmental justice, climate change & green energy jobs, reducing waste and plastic pollution, and more. The panel featured Jim Johnson of the Brennan Center for Justice; Sue Altman of South Jersey Women for Progressive Change; Rev. Eric Dobson of Fair Share Housing Center; and Andrea McChristian, Esq. of New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. Click here to view conference presentations and view empowering quotes below:
"If we all have bias, but we all need to have allies - what are the tools we need to bridge our gaps? Let’s talk about the power of narrative and stories. If you change minds you can change policies, but first you have to change the story." - Jim Johnson, Brennan Center for Justice.
If there’s any big takeaway in multiracial organizing it’s to lean into that discomfort, keep an open mind...we can’t ignore the problems in this country anymore. We will sink. Our diversity and march towards justice is our march towards strength." - Sue Altman, South Jersey Women for Progressive Change
“Lately we’ve had to take to the streets becaus going through the normal system has broken down, we helped create the Youth Justice Task Force this way. Sometimes escalation is a strategy you need to speak truth to power.” - Andrea McChristian, NJ Institute for Social Justice
“We need to continue to advocate & agitate to get things done. We need to act locally & think globally, & do what is required to save our communities. Remember that there are others suffering more than us and need our help, we are all here together.” Kim Gaddy, Clean Water Action
We worked to make the conference as sustainable as possible. Clean Water Action's Rethink Disposable program helped to replace single-use disposable plastic and foam throwaways with reusable food baskets and cups, while green vendors highlighted many ways you can be more sustainable right at home. At the end of this event, we had less than a garbage bag of trash - making it a virtually zero waste conference!
Thank you to all who took time out on a Saturday to attend! Working together, we can make a difference for a healthier and cleaner New Jersey now and for future generations! Our members, supporters and allies are the ACTION in Clean Water Action and we appreciate everything you do.
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