Global Climate Action Summit in California

NJ Kim Gaddy on the panel at a California climate conference

Clean Water Action's NJ Environmental Justice Organizer, Kim Gaddy, joined other eloquent speakers at the Global Climate Action Summit in California.

They explored the daily impacts of pollution on vulnerable communities and how global warming, drought, and other environmental stressors are playing a greater role in fanning the flames of civil conflicts. Others told of their story of incredible challenges and tremendous adversity in fighting for our planet.

They spoke about the violence of climate change and environmental injustice and how it intersects with the structural violence of poverty and the daily violence in communities. Climate related violence is marked by the over 4,000 deaths in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria; over 6 million annual deaths from air pollution; hundreds of environmental defenders murdered every year for taking stands against environmental destruction and for their cultural survival.

Kim Gaddy spoke of environmental health injustices as a 4th generation Newark resident. If a child in Newark has chronic asthma, they can't attend school and their parent can't go to work - creating critical stressors in the daily lives of residents in EJ communities.

Environmental degradation is a constant act of violence on "fence line" communities like hers where you can't escape the daily exposure and impacts of air, soil and water pollution from industrial facilities, traffic congestion and port operations.

But it does not have to be this way...a sustainable planet means life is valued and protected, where Black lives, indigenous lives, women’s lives matter; where death caused by air pollution, climate disasters, or bullet on the street are all unacceptable and are all being met with powerful movements for justice.

Other noted panelists included:

Mark Lopez, Executive Director, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice
Adrienne Lynette Hollis, PhD, JD, Director of Federal Policy, West Harlem Environmental Action, Inc. (WE ACT for Environmental Justice)

 kim gaddy wit the Hip Hop Caucus at california climate summitKim Gaddy standing next to Robert Bullard, father of America’s Environmental Justice movement