Environmental and Climate
WE, THE PEOPLE OF COLOR, gathered together at this multinational People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit, to begin to build a national and international movement of all peoples of color to fight the destruction and taking of our lands and communities, do hereby re-establish our spiritual interdependence to the sacredness of our Mother Earth; to respect and celebrate each of our cultures, languages and beliefs about the natural world and our roles in healing ourselves; to
ensure environmental justice; to promote economic alternatives which would contribute to the development of
environmentally safe livelihoods; and, to secure our political, economic and cultural liberation that has been denied for over
500 years of colonization and oppression, resulting in the poisoning of our communities and land and the genocide of our
peoples, do affirm and adopt these Principles of Environmental Justice:
The Principles of Environmental Justice (EJ)
1) Environmental Justice affirms the sacredness of Mother Earth, ecological unity and the interdependence of all species, and the right to be free from ecological destruction.
2) Environmental Justice demands that public policy be based on mutual respect and justice for all peoples, free from any form of discrimination or bias.
3) Environmental Justice mandates the right to ethical, balanced and responsible uses of land and renewable resources in the interest of a sustainable planet for humans and other living things.
4) Environmental Justice calls for universal protection from nuclear testing, extraction, production and disposal of toxic/hazardous wastes and poisons and nuclear testing that threaten the fundamental right to clean air, land, water, and food.
5) Environmental Justice affirms the fundamental right to political, economic, cultural and environmental self- determination of all peoples.
6) Environmental Justice demands the cessation of the production of all toxins, hazardous wastes, and radioactive materials, and that all past and current producers be held strictly accountable to the people for detoxification and the containment at the point of production.
7) Environmental Justice demands the right to participate as equal partners at every level of decision- making, including needs assessment, planning, implementation, enforcement and evaluation.
8) Environmental Justice affirms the right of all workers to a safe and healthy work environment without being forced to choose between an unsafe livelihood and unemployment. It also affirms the right of those who work at home to be free from environmental hazards.
9) Environmental Justice protects the right of victims of environmental injustice to receive full compensation and reparations for damages as well as quality health care.
10) Environmental Justice considers governmental acts of environmental injustice a violation of international law, the Universal Declaration On Human Rights, and the United Nations Convention on Genocide.
11) Environmental Justice must recognize a special legal and natural relationship of Native Peoples to the U.S. government through treaties, agreements, compacts, and covenants affirming sovereignty and self-determination.
12) Environmental Justice affirms the need for urban and rural ecological policies to clean up and rebuild our cities and rural areas in balance with nature, honoring the cultural integrity of all our communities, and provided fair access for all to the full range of resources.
13) Environmental Justice calls for the strict enforcement of principles of informed consent, and a halt to the testing of experimental reproductive and medical procedures and vaccinations on people of color.
14) Environmental Justice opposes the destructive operations of multi-national corporations.
15) Environmental Justice opposes military occupation, repression and exploitation of lands, peoples and cultures, and other life forms.
16) Environmental Justice calls for the education of present and future generations which emphasizes social and environmental issues, based on our experience and an appreciation of our diverse cultural perspectives.
17) Environmental Justice requires that we, as individuals, make personal and consumer choices to consume as little of Mother Earth’s resources and to produce as little waste as possible; and make the conscious decision to challenge and reprioritize our lifestyles to ensure the health of the natural world for present and future generations.
More info on environmental justice and environmental racism can be found online at www.ejnet.org/ej/
Delegates to the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit held on October 24-27, 1991, in Washington DC, drafted and adopted these 17 principles of Environmental Justice. Since then, the Principles have served as a defining document for the growing grassroots movement for environmental justice.
Bali Principles of Climate Justice
29 August 2002
Whereas climate change is a scientific reality whose effects are already being felt around the world;
Whereas if consumption of fossil fuels, deforestation and other ecological devastation continues at current rates, it is certain that climate change will result in increased temperatures, sea level rise, changes in agricultural patterns, increased frequency and magnitude of “natural” disasters such as floods, droughts, loss of biodiversity, intense storms and epidemics;
Whereas deforestation contributes to climate change, while having a negative impact on a broad array of local communities;
Whereas communities and the environment feel the impacts of the fossil fuel economy at every stage of its life cycle, from exploration to production to refining to distribution to consumption to disposal of waste;
Whereas climate change and its associated impacts are a global manifestation of this local chain of impacts;
Whereas fossil fuel production and consumption helps drive corporate-led globalization;
Whereas climate change is being caused primarily by industrialized nations and transnational corporations;
Whereas the multilateral development banks, transnational corporations and Northern governments, particularly the United States, have compromised the democratic nature of the United Nations as it attempts to address the problem;
Whereas the perpetration of climate change violates the Universal Declaration On Human Rights, and the United Nations Convention on Genocide;
Whereas the impacts of climate change are disproportionately felt by small island states, women, youth, coastal peoples, local communities, indigenous peoples, fisherfolk, poor people and the elderly;
Whereas local communities, affected people and indigenous peoples have been kept out of the global processes to address climate change;
Whereas market-based mechanisms and technological “fixes” currently being promoted by transnational corporations are false solutions and are exacerbating the problem;
Whereas unsustainable production and consumption practices are at the root of this and other global environmental problems;
Whereas this unsustainable consumption exists primarily in the North, but also among elites within the South;
Whereas the impacts will be most devastating to the vast majority of the people in the South, as well as the “South” within the North;
Whereas the impacts of climate change threaten food sovereignty and the security of livelihoods of natural resource-based local economies;
Whereas the impacts of climate change threaten the health of communities around the world-especially those who are vulnerable and marginalized, in particular children and elderly people;
Whereas combating climate change must entail profound shifts from unsustainable production, consumption and lifestyles, with industrialized countries taking the lead;
We, representatives of people’s movements together with activist organizations working for social and environmental justice resolve to begin to build an international movement of all peoples for Climate Justice based on the following core principles:
- Affirming the sacredness of Mother Earth, ecological unity and the interdependence of all species, Climate Justice insists that communities have the right to be free from climate change, its related impacts and other forms of ecological destruction.
- Climate Justice affirms the need to reduce with an aim to eliminate the production of greenhouse gases and associated local pollutants.
- Climate Justice affirms the rights of indigenous peoples and affected communities to represent and speak for themselves.
- Climate Justice affirms that governments are responsible for addressing climate change in a manner that is both democratically accountable to their people and in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
- Climate Justice demands that communities, particularly affected communities play a leading role in national and international processes to address climate change.
- Climate Justice opposes the role of transnational corporations in shaping unsustainable production and consumption patterns and lifestyles, as well as their role in unduly influencing national and international decision-making.
- Climate Justice calls for the recognition of a principle of ecological debt that industrialized governments and transnational corporations owe the rest of the world as a result of their appropriation of the planet’s capacity to absorb greenhouse gases.
- Affirming the principle of ecological debt, Climate Justice demands that fossil fuel and extractive industries be held strictly liable for all past and current life-cycle impacts relating to the production of greenhouse gases and associated local pollutants.
9. Affirming the principle of Ecological debt, Climate Justice protects the rights of victims of climate change and associated injustices to receive full compensation, restoration, and reparation for loss of land, livelihood and other damages.
10. Climate Justice calls for a moratorium on all new fossil fuel exploration and exploitation; a moratorium on the construction of new nuclear power plants; the phase out of the use of nuclear power world wide; and a moratorium on the construction of large hydro schemes.
11. Climate Justice calls for clean, renewable, locally controlled and low-impact energy resources in the interest of a sustainable planet for all living things.
12. Climate Justice affirms the right of all people, including the poor, women, rural and indigenous peoples, to have access to affordable and sustainable energy.
13. Climate Justice affirms that any market-based or technological solution to climate change, such as carbon-trading and carbon sequestration, should be subject to principles of democratic accountability, ecological sustainability and social justice.
14. Climate Justice affirms the right of all workers employed in extractive, fossil fuel and other greenhouse-gas producing industries to a safe and healthy work environment without being forced to choose between an unsafe livelihood based on unsustainable production and unemployment.
15. Climate Justice affirms the need for solutions to climate change that do not externalize costs to the environment and communities, and are in line with the principles of a just transition.
16. Climate Justice is committed to preventing the extinction of cultures and biodiversity due to climate change and its associated impacts.
17. Climate Justice affirms the need for socio-economic models that safeguard the fundamental rights to clean air, land, water, food and healthy ecosystems.
18. Climate Justice affirms the rights of communities dependent on natural resources for their livelihood and cultures to own and manage the same in a sustainable manner, and is opposed to the commodification of nature and its resources.
19. Climate Justice demands that public policy be based on mutual respect and justice for all peoples, free from any form of discrimination or bias.
20. Climate Justice recognizes the right to selfdetermination of Indigenous Peoples, and their right to control their lands, including sub-surface land, territories and resources and the right to the protection against any action or conduct that may result in the destruction or degradation of their territories and cultural way of life.
21. Climate Justice affirms the right of indigenous peoples and local communities to participate effectively at every level of decision-making, including needs assessment, planning, implementation, enforcement and evaluation, the strict enforcement of principles of prior informed consent, and the right to say “No.”
22. Climate Justice affirms the need for solutions that address women’s rights.
23. Climate Justice affirms the right of youth as equal partners in the movement to address climate change and its associated impacts.
24. Climate Justice opposes military action, occupation, repression and exploitation of lands, water, oceans, peoples and cultures, and other life forms, especially as it relates to the fossil fuel industry’s role in this respect.
25. Climate Justice calls for the education of present and future generations, emphasizes climate, energy, social and environmental issues, while basing itself on reallife experiences and an appreciation of diverse cultural perspectives.
26. Climate Justice requires that we, as individuals and communities, make personal and consumer choices to consume as little of Mother Earth’s resources, conserve our need for energy; and make the conscious decision to challenge and reprioritize our lifestyles, re-thinking our ethics with relation to the environment and the Mother Earth; while utilizing clean, renewable, lowimpact energy; and ensuring the health of the natural world for present and future generations.
27. Climate Justice affirms the rights of unborn generations to natural resources, a stable climate and a healthy planet.
Adopted using the “Environmental Justice Principles” developed at the 1991 People of Color Environmental Justice Leadership Summit, Washington, DC, as a blueprint.
Friends of the Earth International
groundwork, South Africa
Indigenous Environmental Network, North America Indigenous Information Network, Kenya
National Alliance of People’s Movements, India
National Fishworkers Forum, India
Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice, US
Third World Network, Malaysia
World Rainforest Movement, Uruguay
This and other environmental justice documents can be downloaded from: www.ejnet.org/ej/