15 nonprofit partners working for environmental justice for all

 

From the battle against environmental destruction to the fight for environmental security and human rights for all, these nonprofit warriors in our network are on the front lines.

No matter their cause, these unique organizations all have the same goal at the end of the day: a better future for our planet—for everyone.

Ready to join in their fight? See what these organizations are up to for the Global Climate Strike September 20-27 and how you can get involved in your area.

Solidarity is a Verb , Photo Credit: Paulina Otylia Niechial

Solidarity is a Verb, Photo Credit: Paulina Otylia Niechial

RAVEN Trust

📍Canada

RAVEN (Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs) raises legal defense funds to assist Indigenous Peoples who enforce their rights and title to protect their traditional territories. Through their public education programs, RAVEN collaborates with Indigenous Peoples to eliminate environmental racism and fosters a greater understanding of indigenous rights and governance.

Click here to enjoy RAVEN Trust’s featured full-length story! 


Photo credit: Communities for a Better Environment

Photo credit: Communities for a Better Environment

Communities for a Better Environment

📍 California, U.S.

Established in 1978, Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) builds people’s power in California’s low-income communities of color to achieve environmental health and justice by preventing and reducing pollution and building green, healthy and sustainable communities and environments. For over 40 years, their campaigns have produced changes in practices at an estimated 230+ facilities, including high carbon-emitters like power plants, refineries and ports, preventing millions of tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and millions of pounds of pollution each year. 

Youth for Environmental Justice (Youth EJ) represents CBE’s youth base in Southeast Los Angeles and Wilmington, a base that includes members from directly impacted environmental justice, immigrant and historically economically disinvested communities. Youth EJ members bring valued and necessary perspectives and experience winning local campaigns that defeat cancer-causing polluters and develop alternative solutions to extractive industries. For 21 years, Youth EJ members have defeated toxic polluters and championed clean energy alternatives for sustainable systems change.

Who should we know about?

Angela Scott, who fights every day for environmental justice. She has lived in East Oakland most of her life and, after attending a CBE Toxic Tour of East Oakland, within a matter of hours, this community that she has lived in for 20 years looked new. This is her story in her own words:

“We drove to places I have traveled to every day and I saw my community through a different lens. One place we visited was the AB&I Foundry. My family lives 2 blocks away from it. This foundry makes metal castings and is the second largest stationary polluter in Alameda County. There are no buffers between the industrial facility and where we play, pray, learn and live. Also, a half a mile from the house where I grew up is the proposed site of a Mega Crematorium that will be polluting the air we breathe with mercury.  I started to think about the connections between this pollution and my community’s health issues. Living so close to AB&I Foundry has largely contributed to health issues in my immediate family. Before CBE I never thought to question my environment or its impact on our health.  

Now, almost three years later, I am an organizer for CBE bringing my community together to shine a light on the problems. We are working with the Air District to collect and monitor data near the schools, and our members are learning to capture air samples. With the data we collect, we can advocate for decision-makers to do the right thing. This type of community-based monitoring is extremely important. The agency needs a high level of community involvement before its own staff will investigate a polluting facility. And as local residents, we are the experts on our experience with this pollution. CBE is also partnering with elementary schools in the East Oakland community to create a collection of environmental justice stories centering the voices of frontline families dealing with industrial pollution. 

Every day, I fight for my family and community. I want my family and the schools in the community to have clean air. It is the air we breathe. We shouldn’t have to worry about it. We shouldn’t have to think about whether our air is clean. We are fighting for change and push for things like buffers between toxic sites and peoples’ homes, and greener industries that provide good jobs for people. Together, we can succeed!”


Xiuhtezcatl Martinez. Photo credit: Earth Guardian

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez. Photo credit: Earth Guardian

Earth Guardians

📍Global

Earth Guardians inspires and trains diverse youth to be effective leaders in the environmental, climate and social justice movements. Through the power of art, music, storytelling, civic engagement and legal action, they’re creating impactful solutions to some of the most critical issues we face as a global community. 

Who should we know about?

Earth Guardians’ Youth Director Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, (his first name pronounced ‘Shoe-Tez-Caht’) is a 19-year-old indigenous climate activist, hip-hop artist and powerful voice on the front lines of the global youth-led environmental movement. At the early age of 6, Xiuhtezcatl began speaking around the world, from the UN Summit in Rio de Janeiro, to addressing the General Assembly at the UN in New York. He has worked locally to get pesticides out of parks and coal ash contained, as well as initiating moratoriums on fracking in his home state of Colorado. He is currently a plaintiff in a youth-led lawsuit against the federal government for the government's inaction around the climate crisis and its failure to protect their essential public trust resources. 

Xiuhtezcatl has traveled around the world educating his generation about the climate and environmental crisis and has launched Earth Guardians youth crews in 60+ countries. His work has been featured on PBS, Showtime, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, Upworthy, The Guardian, Vogue, Bill Maher, The Daily Show, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, CNN, MSNBC, HBO, VICE and more.

Xiuhtezcatl‘s book “We Rise” was published by Rodale in 2017, and he has just finished writing “Imaginary Borders” to be published by Penguin in 2020. Xiuhtezcatl is stirring his generation with his music and released his first EP, “Broken” and album, “Break Free” in 2018.

 In 2013, Xiuhtezcatl received the United States Community Service Award from President Obama, and was the youngest of 24 national changemakers chosen to serve on the President's youth council.

He is the 2015 recipient of the Peace First Prize, the 2015 Nickelodeon Halo Award, 2016 Captain Planet Award, Sweden’s 2016 Children's Climate Prize, 2017 Univision Premio’s Ajente de Cambio Award, 2018 My Climate Hero, 2018 Shorty Award, Huffington Post Top 10 Movers and Shakers, Grist Top 50 Fixers, TIME Next Generation Leaders, MTV EMA Award and the 2019 Senckenberg Award.


Elaine MacDonald. Photo credit: Ecojustice

Elaine MacDonald. Photo credit: Ecojustice

Ecojustice

📍Canada

Ecojustice works to build a thriving environment, safe climate and healthy communities protected by effective, well-enforced laws throughout Canada. To get there, they use the power of the law to defend nature, combat climate change, and fight for a healthy environment for all.

Ecojustice takes on strategic, precedent-setting litigation all over Canada and has offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.

Who should we know about?

“Elaine MacDonald, a senior scientist and the healthy communities program director at Ecojustice, embodies our core values: courage, dedication and integrity.

Elaine joined Ecojustice 1999. In the decades since then, she’s been an integral part of our work to protect every Canadian—especially vulnerable populations and children—from illnesses relating to harmful chemicals. Some of Elaine’s most prominent work with Ecojustice has involved fighting for clean air for people and communities in Ontario’s notorious Chemical Valley.

Elaine is a PhD-level environmental engineer, and says witnessing the impacts pollution and toxic chemicals have had on human health and the environment inspired her to dedicate her career to defending the land, air and water that sustains us.”


Photo credit: Environmental Justice Foundation

Photo credit: Environmental Justice Foundation

Environmental Justice Foundation

📍Global

Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) believes that environmental security is a human right. They’re working with those on the frontlines of environmental destruction to investigate, document and expose environmental and human rights abuses. Using investigations and film in strategic ways, they campaign for a fairer, sustainable world across their key areas of oceans, climate, cotton fields and forests.

Who should we know about?

Victoria Mundy has been leading EJF’s research in West Africa into the impacts of overfishing on marine ecosystems and the livelihoods of fishing communities. With EJF’s team in the region, she has been working on a smartphone app that will allow fishers to report on illegal activities they witness at sea—such as fishing by foreign industrial vessels in waters reserved for local communities. The aim is to end these practices, expose the criminal networks behind them and help to restore depleted fish populations for future generations. 

“Having originally trained as a litigation lawyer in London,” Victoria says, “I never imagined my future job would take me to remote fishing villages in West Africa, working at the interface of conservation and human rights. I am passionate about securing the health of our oceans, and the rights of fisherfolk to access and sustainably manage their resources. Helping to empower vulnerable and marginalized communities is the most rewarding aspect of my role.” 


Photo credit: Martin Westlake

Photo credit: Martin Westlake

Global Greengrants Fund

📍Global

Global Greengrants Fund mobilizes resources for communities worldwide to protect our shared planet and work toward a more equitable world.

Who should we know about?

Godliver Businge is a Global Greengrants Fund grantee from Gomba, Uganda. Godliver earned her degree in civil engineering, standing tall as the only woman in her class and earning the highest marks. Godliver serves as the Head Technology Trainer for the Uganda Women’s Water Initiative. With her guidance, the women of Gomba, Uganda have used money from Global Greengrants Fund to build 12 water filters, which have not only brought clean water to the community, but have improved school attendance as the children no longer suffer from water-related diseases. Her work has been so noteworthy that Godliver was recognized by UNESCO as a STEM woman on the frontlines of change in 2017. Find out more about Godliver, and how the Uganda Women’s Water Initiative is using their most recent grant to inspire more positive impacts in their community.


Photo credit: Langelle/GJEP

Photo credit: Langelle/GJEP

Global Justice Ecology Project

📍 Global

Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP) works to expose and address the intertwined root causes of ecological destruction, social injustice and economic domination through their programs focusing on the crises of deforestation, climate change and human rights abuses. GJEP also founded and leads the global effort to prevent the release of genetically engineered trees into the environment.

Who should we know about?

“GJEP co-founder, Orin Langelle has been an activist and award-winning concerned photographer for nearly five decades. Langelle has traveled all over the world to support community struggles against injustice by photographing their resistance to ecological destruction, war, economic injustice and human rights abuses. 

This work has included extensive photographic documentation of Indigenous Peoples in Mexico organizing to preserve their traditional lifeways and forest homelands, as well as Indigenous Peoples’ communities in Brazil, Nicaragua, Chile, Paraguay, James Bay (Quebec, Canada), Indonesia, Kenya and across the U.S.

 Langelle’s photography has been displayed across the U.S. from New York City to San Francisco, as well as The Netherlands, Paraguay, Mexico, Poland, Indonesia and Denmark. The exhibits Langelle is most proud of were held in remote Indigenous communities Langelle was invited to come and document: the Ayoreo community, Campo Loro, in the Gran Chaco region of Paraguay and the community of Amador Hernandez, in the Lacandon jungle of Chiapas, Mexico.

Langelle currently resides in Buffalo, NY and is the co-founder of the ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery for Contemporary Art, and Strategic Media Director for Global Justice Ecology Project. In his spare time, Langelle spends as much of his time as possible in the natural world.”


Janet Felsten. Photo credit: Green Map System

Janet Felsten. Photo credit: Green Map System

Green Map System

📍Global

Green Map System provides unique tools for map-making projects that build awareness of local ecological, cultural and social justice resources while sharing information and strategies with an evolving global network of diverse mapmakers. Now open source to address the climate challenge, they spark engaging visualizations of changing communities and creative partnerships for wellbeing. 

Who should we know about?

“Thanks to our lively iconography that includes hazards and challenges alongside ecological, cultural and sustainable living assets, many Green Map projects around the world have charted environmental justice. We’d like to introduce Janet Felsten, project leader of the Baltimore Green Map program, which involves children in assessing current conditions and provides opportunities for volunteerism and advocacy for change. Her work builds much-needed capacity for citizenship in public schools and neighborhoods across the city.

Utilizing memory mapping, field trips, interviews and research, Janet’s Green Map Your Community students compile information and identify specific actions that help improve their schools and communities. Baltimore City teachers appreciate how this program fits within the curriculum and helps students relate to their own community as agents of change. Check out
BaltoGreenMap.org, you’ll also see Baltimore Green Map’s beautiful parks and watershed maps that help to protect open space, air and water, benefitting the City’s diverse residents.

Janet has been an advisor to Green Map System on the education front for years, helping our nonprofit synthesize global examples into handy
youth modules, expand our shared iconography and work with new education technologies as described here, as well. Janet’s approach has inspired many in the Green Map global network, encouraging them to engage with youngsters and work through an environmental justice lens to equip people of all backgrounds to advance community wellbeing, climate, health and a productive future.”


Photo credit: Grist

Photo credit: Grist

Grist

📍U.S.

Grist is a nonprofit environmental media organization focused on advancing the narrative and leadership that will achieve a more just, sustainable future. Their vision is a planet that doesn’t burn and a future that doesn’t suck. Grist’s mission is to make the story of a better future so irresistible, you want it right now. They inform an audience of millions, inspire readers to take action and influence national coverage of the environment. 

Who should we know about?

“Paola Rosa-Aquino is the Senior Environmental Justice Fellow at Grist and part of the organization’s five person Environmental Justice (EJ) Desk. Her work has been featured in Mother Jones and Salon and shared by the NAACP and leaders like scientist Michael Mann.

Paola adds to a rich history of environmental justice reporting at Grist. In 2013, Grist pioneered the environmental justice beat by hiring the nation’s first and only full-time EJ reporter. Since then, we’ve produced award-winning journalism; influenced policymakers, thought leaders, celebrities and millions of readers; and launched the nation’s first Environmental Justice Desk with 5 full-time reporters—which we believe is the nation’s biggest and best team of EJ writers tackling these issues. With Paola and the rest of our EJ team, Grist continues to produce leading coverage on issues of justice and equity in the environmental movement. 

Paola’s passion for environmental journalism, and environmental justice specifically, came about largely because of Hurricane Maria, which ravaged her home country of Puerto Rico. It was during the aftermath of the hurricane that she came to recognize the vital importance of telling these stories. Check out Paola’s post on Hurricane Maria one year later, her conversation with 4 black women climate leaders and her feature on how tribal wisdom can contribute to climate solutions.”


Photo credit: Louisiana Bucket Brigade

Photo credit: Louisiana Bucket Brigade

Louisiana Bucket Brigade

📍 Louisiana, U.S.  

Louisiana Bucket Brigade uses grassroots action to create neighborhoods free from industrial pollution and hasten the transition from fossil fuels.

Who should we know about?

“Our community partners are the foundation of our work. Sharon Lavigne is a teacher, a lifelong St. James resident, the founder of RISE St. James and the daughter of a civil rights leader. Her home is on land that has been in her family for four generations.

Sharon has been at the forefront to stop the industrial onslaught in her home. One of those facilities is the proposed $9 billion Formosa plastics plant, a multinational petrochemical company that would destroy her community in order to make throwaway plastics. Sharon is a visionary leader in our state, calling not just for the cancellation of Formosa near her home but also for a moratorium on all petrochemical plant construction in the state. Her leadership is crucial in a state like Louisiana where officials continue to rubber stamp projects (like Formosa) that would release millions of tons of greenhouse gases a year and further devastate a state that is already sinking into the sea.”


Nia Calloway at center. Photo credit: OPAL

Nia Calloway at center. Photo credit: OPAL

OPAL (Organizing People, Activating Leaders)

📍Oregon, U.S. 

OPAL builds power for environmental justice and civil rights in their communities. OPAL does so by organizing low income people and people of color to achieve a safe and healthy environment in the places they live, work, learn, pray and play. They strive to create meaningful opportunities for their members to be involved in the decisions that impact their daily lives.

Who should we know about?

Nia Calloway, a Senior Intern with the Youth Environmental Justice Alliance. Nia is one of the organizers pushing to win fareless transit for youth across the Portland region. 

"We are fighting not just for fareless transit," Nia says, "We're fighting for powerful people to see us and hear us. We're fighting for our dignity. For our human rights."


Photo credit: People & Planet

Photo credit: People & Planet

People & Planet

📍U.K.

People & Planet is a student network in the U.K. campaigning for social and environmental justice. They have led the fossil fuel divestment movement on U.K. university campuses and pioneered campaigns targeting Barclays for the banks financing of fossil fuels.

Who should we know about?

“Chris Saltmarsh is Co-Director: Climate Change Campaigns at People & Planet. In his role, he provides strategic leadership for the network’s university divestment and Divest Barclays campaigns while working with other co-directors to manage the organization.

Chris joined People & Planet as a student in his first week at the University of Sheffield. There he coordinated Sheffield People & Planet’s successful divestment campaign. As a student, he was Regional Organiser for People & Planet and the first student to be Chair of the Board of Trustees. He joined as a member of staff through People & Planet’s internship program in July 2017 and became a campaign manager and co-director one year later. Chris writes about environmental justice and social movement campaigning regularly for outlets The Ecologist and Bright Green.”


Photo credit: Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment

Photo credit: Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment

Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment

📍U.S. 

The Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment envisions a future where nature is protected, people’s rights are ensured, environmental justice is advanced, and where these three values are deeply interconnected. They accomplish their mission by: Fostering Stewardship, Building Community and Demanding Justice. 

Who should we know about?

“Our Co-Founders, Jill Ratner and Tim Little, have grounded the Rose Foundation’s work in supporting grassroots, community-based solutions to environmental injustice around the country for 26 years! At its heart, the Rose Foundation’s work has always been about creating a grassroots approach to helping people find the resources to protect communities and the environment. The Foundation’s core values of Fostering Stewardship, Building Community and Demanding Justice unite our diverse projects and grantmaking funds. 

With these values as a North Star, Tim and Jill built the Rose Foundation’s commitment to Environmental Justice—everyone’s right to clean air and water, a stable climate and access to healthy, natural areas; the Co-Founders strongly believe ‘we have a particular moral obligation to ensure these rights are protected for those communities whose rights have historically been ignored.’ To do this work, we champion the power of communities, the grassroots, and youth voices and address the root cause of the problem. 

Learn more about the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment, our grantmaking programs and New Voices Are Rising youth environmental justice leadership development program.”


Photo credit: Teens for Food Justice

Photo credit: Teens for Food Justice

Teens for Food Justice

📍 New York, U.S.

Teens for Food Justice (TFFJ) is galvanizing a youth-led movement to end food insecurity in one generation and to break the cycle of diet-related illness that impacts low-income communities, particularly those of color. TFFJ trains youth as 21st-century, school-based hydroponic farmers—growing and distributing large quantities of fresh, affordable produce to their food desert communities—and as nutrition and health educators/advocates who can lead themselves and others towards healthier futures

Who should we know about?

President/CEO and lifelong New Yorker, Katherine Soll launched TFFJ in 2013 in response to the city's economic disparities in food equity and access. Since then, TFFJ has worked with more than 3,000 middle and high school students to install high-capacity hydroponic farms in three Title I public school campuses in New York, and is adding two more this fall—for a total of 7,300 students and 18 schools served. TFFJ will also expand to Miami and other major cities in 2021.  

“At each farm, students learn how to seed, transplant and harvest up to 2,000 pounds of fresh organic vegetables, fruits and herbs per month for consumption in their school’s cafeteria and distribution to their local community,” says Katherine. "Our organization is called Teens for Food Justice for a reason: it's designed to empower youth to understand, take control of, and change the way food is grown, distributed and allocated in our society so that this vision can be realized by the next generation."  

That vision is already realized in young people like Alyssa Gardner-Vazquez, who joined the program as a high school student and now manages TFFJ's farm in Bed-Stuy/Clinton Hill, Brooklyn while also obtaining her bachelor's degree in environmental sustainability. 

 "Alyssa is an amazing representative of TFFJ's potential to engage youth in the hard work required to change our broken food system," says Katherine. "Over her five years with us, Alyssa has taken the skills and knowledge she acquired as a volunteer and used them to lead hundreds of students and community members—sharing healthy, sustainably-grown food, teaching skills for eating and living well, and guiding advocacy for food equity."


Photo credit: Wells Bring Hope

Photo credit: Wells Bring Hope

Wells Bring Hope

📍Niger, West Africa

Wells Bring Hope is committed to saving lives with safe water through the drilling of wells in the poorest country in the world, Niger, West Africa. Wells Bring Hope believes that when a well is drilled, life is transformed for generations to come. Child mortality is reduced by more than 70% thanks to the combined programs of safe water, sanitation, and improved hygiene and nutrition for girls who no longer have to walk miles to find water and can go to school and delay marriage to pursue their dreams.

Who should we know about?

“When Barbara Goldberg heard a lecture about the water crisis in West Africa and the way that women and girls are particularly impacted, she was immediately moved to do something. Her initial goal was to raise enough money to fund five wells in Niger. Eleven years later, she is dedicating herself full time to running Wells Bring Hope, a volunteer-driven nonprofit that has now funded 583 wells and transformed over half a million lives.

Over the years, Barbara, who had no previous nonprofit experience, has learned that drilling a well is not enough. It takes a comprehensive effort to end the downward spiral of poverty. As a result, she has been integral to keeping the focus on women and girls and ensuring that women who no longer have to walk for water have the support and training they need to use this freed time for income-generating work. Along with our partners at World Vision, WBH has developed a microfinance training program to support women in the villages where we drill by teaching them essential skills and helping them to establish savings programs that enable them to start small businesses.”


Looking for more justice?

Visit our nonprofit directories to discover the work of more nonprofit partners who work on environmental justice issues, like the Sierra Club, EarthJustice and EarthRights International!

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Jaclyn McCarthy