CW: Police violence
This year we have already been faced with the dark realities of police and state violence against people of color.
In Tennessee, Tyre Nichols was on his way home from taking pictures of the sunset and admiring the beauty of our earth when police officers pulled him over, brutalized, and killed him.
In Georgia, Manuel Esteban Paez Teran, also known as Tortuguita (Little Turtle), was shot and killed by police for protesting and resisting the building of “Cop City” – a city plan to build a police and military training site in Weelaunee Forest.
Both Nichols and Teran deserved to live and to be treated with dignity and respect. We’re left with complete rage and horror that their lives were brutally and unnecessarily ended by a violent policing institution that is rooted in white supremacy and prioritizes power and abuse over the needs of our people.
This state-sponsored violence and over-policing disproportionately impacts Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people – and it mirrors state-sponsored police violence towards environmental defenders worldwide, especially in the Global South.
Decades of environmental justice activism have shown that these same communities also bear the burden of the climate crisis. While a select few corporations and billionaires in the Global North profit, our communities shoulder the harmful effects of fossil fuel extraction, pollution, and their related health impacts.
As an organization and as a movement: we cannot say we are for climate justice, without also rising up against state-sponsored violence.
Our work to achieve climate justice and end the era of fossil fuels must be intersectional and focused on liberation.
There is no way to tackle the scale of the climate crisis without addressing the systemic racism that fuels it or the violent institutions willingly destroying our environment for training grounds to further more unchecked abuses of power and violence.
There is no just recovery for climate, without addressing the systemic harms of extraction that feed into a culture of anti-Blackness that commits violence against Black and Brown communities.
Today and everyday, 350 is committed to building a movement rooted in liberation for those most oppressed. None of us are free until we are all free.
That is why we join our movement partners in calling for a complete overhaul of public safety in the U.S.
At 350, we stand in solidarity with the demands of the Movement for Black Lives, including the call to defund the police and pass legislation inspired by the BREATHE Act – a comprehensive approach to public safety that divests from brutal and discriminatory policing and invests in community-based alternatives.
For more information on how we can make public safety actually safe for the public and on the commonalities between global state-sponsored violence and climate injustice, we recommend:
- The Movement for Black Lives’ “BREATHE Act”
- Global Witness’ “Decade of Defiance” report
- Intersectional climate justice advocate Dany Sigwalt’s writings
- Twitter thread from Yessenia Funes, Climate Director for Atmos Mag
As we recognize Black History Month, let’s also recognize and honor the essential impact that Black communities and communities of color have had on the climate justice movement.
P.S. We encourage you to join or organize actions in your community to #StopCopCity everywhere during the week of solidarity from February 19 – 26. For more information, you check out the website and follow @defendATLforest on social media.