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Author: sgupta

On December 14th, 2014, CEED hosted a successful fundraiser featuring locally made gifts for the holiday season.

Craft Fair and Fundraiser
Sunday Dec 14

 

More than twenty community artisans and crafters sold their goods at this event located at Southpoint Acupuncture inside Plaza Verde at 1510 East Lake Street, Minneapolis.

 

In addition to a variety of local, sustainable, and handmade goods for sale such as jewelry, textiles and art, CEED held a silent auction, enjoy tasty baked goods, and provide space for community building and education.

 

A list of participating vendors can be found at the event’s facebook page: http://tinyurl.com/ope5juh.

 

More than $1000 in proceeds earned will benefit “Responding Together: Community Emergency Preparedness Event” to be held in April 2015.

 

The April event is spearheaded by the Zenteotl Project and the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy and will offer communities of color and low income at-risk families opportunities to access information, resources, and trainings on emergency and disaster preparedness, in addition to learning about the effects of climate change and environmental harms.

 

For more information on the this project visit www.zenteotl.org and click on “community” or visit our page on Facebook by searching “Responding Together: Community Emergency Preparedness Event.”

 

For additional information, please contact sammie@ceed.org.

CEED hosted friend and fellow Indigenous women’s activist Sonia Davila in November 2014. We first met Dr. Davila in May 2013, when she hosted CEED staff and a group of Indigenous scholars on an exchange program in Bolivia. In Minnesota, Sonia presented on her work with Indigenous women to build self-determination and economic self-sufficiency. She she also presented at Augsburg College, Leech Lake Tribal College, and the University of Minnesota, Duluth. CEED is working to further develop partnerships on environmental self-determination in Bolivia with Dr. Davila.

YELL! is a program for young people who are interested in social justice and protecting the environment. It is a program to empower youth of color to make a difference in their own communities through learning and hands on community projects.

YELL! has five paid fellowship opportunities for people between the ages of 18 and 25 years old. You will get to participate in workshops led by local and national leaders in environmental justice and social activism. You will get to learn about the history of how communities of color have been affected by pollution and toxics, and what they have done about it. You will hear about exciting work happening all around the country (and the world) from environmental justice leaders in Indigenous communities, and communities of color.

Fellows will meet twice a month from August 2015-April 2016 and work on projects in their communities through this time. Find more details and applications below. Applications are due July 15, fellows will be notified late July. Contact yell@ceed.org or Sarah at 612-227-5265 for more information.

Program description and application: Download (doc) (pdf)

 

Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy
Youth for Environmental Leadership and Learning (YELL!)
What is YELL!
YELL! is a program for young people who are interested in social justice and protecting the environment. It is a program to engage, educate and empower youth of color to make a difference in their community through learning and hands on community projects. YELL! is for young people who:
  • Care about their community
  • Want to learn how to protect the environment
  • Want to help change the world for the better
YELL! has five paid fellowship opportunities for people between the ages of 18 and 25 years old. You will get to participate in workshops led by local and national leaders in environmental justice and social activism. You will get to learn about the history of how communities of color have been affected by pollution and toxics, and what they have done about it. You will hear about exciting work happening all around the country (and the world) from environmental justice leaders in Indigenous communities, and communities of color.

 

What is expected of me?
You will be required to commit to a minimum of 20 hours a month:
  • Two 4 hour workshops a month (8 hours)
  • Monthly work on your community project (12 hours)
You get to choose an issue you are passionate about in your community, which you will work on throughout the program. Some examples (these are only examples – you may choose another topic not listed here with the help of your mentor).
  • Indigenous environmental rights: Any environmental issue affecting Indigenous or tribal people and land.
  • Food justice: Any topic that focuses on how we can support and grow healthy and affordable food for our communities.
  • Energy justice: Any topic that looks at how we use to power and heat and how we can make sure that energy does not negatively impact Mother Earth.
  • Climate justice: A project that looks at what are good solutions to climate change?
  • Healthy neighborhoods: A project that looks at what the pollution is in your neighborhood and how you can help to reduce its negative impact.
To support you, you will be matched with a mentor who knows and understands the issue you are working on. You will also be required to keep a journal of your thoughts and experiences.

 

The program runs 9 months (August 2015 – April 2016). You will meet twice a month and we will have a community celebration at the end. Each Fellow will receive a Certificate for completing the program.

 

Is there a Stipend?
YES! Each Fellow will receive a stipend of $500 each month.

 

What will I learn?
You will learn about how pollution affects your community and what you can do about it, and about the many ways that you can work toward a healthy environment and for justice. You will also get to develop skills like how to talk with your legislators and participate in sessions about how laws are made. You will get a chance to meet with lawmakers and other leaders about laws and policies that are affecting the environmental and social justice issues and communities you care about.

 

How should I apply?
Fill out the Application Form (download links at the top of this section, contact CEED for printed copies or further assistance). Applications are due on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 and should be mailed or emailed. Indigenous and young adults of color are strongly encouraged to apply.
A short 20-minute interview will be set up for finalists. CEED YELL! Fellows will be selected by July 30th. For questions, call or email Sarah Goodspeed at 612-227-5265 or at sgoodspeed@ceed.org.
 
How many Fellows will be chosen?
Five Fellows will be chosen in 2015-2016.
 
Where will the Fellowship workshops be held?
The fellowship workshops will be held in Minneapolis and St. Paul. You will work on your project wherever it is most appropriate.

 

Can I Learn and Participate if I’m not chosen as a YELL! Fellow?
Because we believe there will be much interest in the Workshops from community members, if you are not selected as a Fellow or would just like to learn about a topic, the workshops will be open to all community members for free. Registration will be required and more information about registration will be sent close to the workshop dates.

 

To mark the 20th Anniversary of the of the Environmental Justice Presidential Executive Order, the Minneapolis Community Environmental Advisory Commission (CEAC) is urging the Mayor and City Council to eliminate the persistent, disproportionate environmental risks experienced by low-income and residents of color in Minneapolis. CEED’s Shalini Gupta and other environmental justice leaders and allies that sit on CEAC recommended five near term actions below (Read the full CEAC Letter on Environmental Justice and see a CEED Factsheet on Green Zones):

(1) Establish a comprehensive Green Zone Initiative, as outlined in the Minneapolis Climate Action Plan (Buildings and Energy Section, Cross-Cutting Strategy 1). The goal of Green Zones is to target public and private investment in neighborhoods with the highest levels of pollution and environmental degradation—where people have been exposed to the toxic effects of pollutants from heavy industry, factories, and busy highways. These neighborhoods should be the first in line for much-needed local, state and federal resources for parks, community gardens, energy-efficiency, renewable energy and “green” small business entrepreneurship.

(2) Commit resources for green infrastructure planning and community preparedness during extreme weather/flooding in the most at risk Minneapolis communities – particularly those located near existing industrial and contaminated sites where toxic migration from flooding will be a critical issue. The need for this has been made clear with the recent flooding of North Minneapolis, and will only be more critical as extreme weather events increase in Minneapolis with the onset of climate change.

(3) Engage the Metropolitan Council, Hennepin County and state agencies/policy makers to ensure environmental justice is imbedded in the goals and strategies of plans, policies and projects impacting Minneapolis residents. This includes, but is not limited to, the development of the Minneapolis Comprehensive Planning process and working to expand the cumulative impacts policy — currently only in the Phillips neighborhood — to cover all of Minneapolis.

(4) Establish and fund a multi-year environmental justice micro-grants program for community projects related to community data gathering, grassroots sustainability projects, emergency preparedness, and community engagement.

(5) Ensure environmental justice is imbedded in the City’s sustainability indicators, and provide ongoing city data and monitoring support to measure racial equity as applied to the sustainability indicators.

Come to the next Minneapolis Community Environmental Advisory Commission meeting Thursday, March 13th, 3:30pm City Hall Room 132 – The Minneapolis Energy Pathways Study and the City’s long-term Climate Goals will be the topic of discussion.

By Cecilia Martinez
February 10, 2014
Justice Should Be Central To U.S. Climate and Energy Policy
Feb 11th, 2014 is the twentieth anniversary of Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations. The Executive Order was the result of a long history of struggle by Indigenous, communities of color, and frontline communities. Many who were active in the movement continue to lead efforts to keep justice and equity at the top of the environmental agenda. While the Executive Order was a critical milestone –– symbolizing official acknowledgement of environmental racism and the disproportionate impact that frontline Indigenous, communities of color and low-income communities face from toxic pollution — there is still much work to do.

Thankfully, President Obama acknowledged the importance of climate change on the national political agenda in both his Inaugural Address and in the State of the Union. Since then, a national climate action plan has been introduced. Making climate change a policy priority is critical. In their offensive against science (and just plain old common sense), a block of business and political climate nay-sayers have been too effective in obstructing a U.S. climate change policy. Unless we address this national failure to act, the future for our children will be more devastating than the zealous claims of fiscal doom.

The environmental justice movement has a long and proud history of working to create healthy environmental and economic opportunities for all our communities, not just a privileged few. We believe it is time for our political leaders to pursue a strong and comprehensive environmental program – a program that simultaneously addresses climate change, protects community health, creates meaningful work, and eliminates the racial inequality that is this nation’s legacy.

Our economy’s recovery is too slow for our most vulnerable, and those who are the last to experience positive change. Our global environment is at greater risk than ever before and the consequences are only getting worse. Racial and wealth inequality continue to erode the very fabric of our democracy and environment. Therefore, many in the environmental justice movement have formed national coalitions to advocate for a real and just sustainable policy agenda. No more wartime metaphors for peacetime environmental and economic programs – no more “Wars” on Poverty or Drugs, and no Manhattan Projects for renewable energy. Instead, we believe we need to cultivate the best in all of us to deal with the most critical planetary threat – climate change.

As people who are on the ground in frontline communities, environmental justice workers know what needs to change. Environmental policies must be predicated on the fundamental principle that our environment should command our respect; and that all people must have the right as expressed in the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to free, prior and informed consent before projects which can damage the health and vitality of their community are legally permitted.

It is for this reason that we – environmental justice advocates – call on President Obama, Congress and larger environmental organizations to join us in our work. What does this mean? It means that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy must have a proficient understanding, knowledge andcommitment to the issues and conditions of environmental justice communities. It means all federal agencies as well as state and local agencies must commit to the continued integration of environmental justice into environmental policies and prioritize the integration of environmental justice in cross-agency, cross-departmental initiatives to ensure adequate green investments in over-burdened and over-polluted communities. It means that environmental organizations need to be more democratic and responsive to environmental justice concerns. It means that the Department of Energy needs to work with environmental justice communities – at local, state, tribal and federal levels –on issues of harmful pollution from energy industries, the reduction of greenhouse gas and toxic emissions, and, the construction of alternative green infrastructure. It means that both the public sector and environmental organizations must adopt a strong commitment to addressing climate change and community health. And it means that we need to also shift our national agenda from what is easiest to achieve, the so called low-hanging fruit, to one that ensures that vulnerable communities have the same rights to healthy, economically viable and environmentally sound neighborhoods as the wealthy.

We ask the question, what if we could raise ourselves to act in accordance with our highest ideals? If the ideals of justice and democracy are our guides then it is possible to work together to create initiatives that restore our ecosystems; reduce the devastating pollution impacts on our children; build water conservation projects; establish local and community-based energy projects; and, commence zero waste programs and public transportation projects. We need federal investment in these public sector jobs to restore and revive our natural and human resource base. The time is now.

With these policy actions, this country can change for the better. And with our hard work, together we can move this nation forward in its most important peacetime endeavor – saving our planet, putting people to work, and reducing inequality. Indigenous Peoples, the environmental justice community, communities of color, and a broad sector of our population have been working on these goals for many, many, generations.

Bottom line, environmental Justice must be, at the center of the nation’s energy and environmental policy agenda.

Setting a New Compass for Climate Justice: A Forum on Race, Climate and Community Health [Foro sobre Raza, Clima y Salud Comunitaria – Español] gathered nearly 200 community activists, policy researchers, and government officials in St. Paul. The January 25th event, on the eve of the 20th Anniversary of the Executive Order on Environmental Justice, featured Chicana Activist, Kimberly Wasserman, 2013 Goldman Environmental Prize Recipient for North America and release of the Twin Cities Environmental Justice Mapping Tool, a community organizing and planning tool for community use. The tool enables community access to information about multiple environmental health hazards, especially with respect to Native, low-income and communities of color.

Attendees heard from, and engaged with, community and governmental leaders on the future of justice in environmental and climate policy in Minnesota:

  • John L. Stine, Commissioner, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
  • Alondra Cano, Minneapolis City Council Member
  • Elizabeth Glidden, Vice President of Minneapolis City Council
  • David Nicholson, Executive Director, Headwaters Foundation for Justice
  • Roxxanne O’Brien, Activist and Minneapolis Community Environmental Commission appointee
  • Carlos Mariani, Minnesota House of Representatives
  • David Pellow, Professor and Don Martindale Endowed Chair, University of Minnesota
  • Veronica Burt, Public Policy Advocate/Cultural Organizer, Just Equity
  • Jeff Matson and Kristen Murray, Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, University of Minnesota
  • Shalini Gupta and Cecilia Martinez, Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy

A fitting tribute at the Paul and Shiela Wellstone Center, as former Senator Paul Wellstone was an active supporter of environmental justice and at the signing of the executive order back in 1994. Click here to see the English AGENDA and for the agenda in Español].

Co-Sponsors:

Headwaters Foundation for Justice and Policy Champions
Center for Urban and Regional Affairs at the University of Minnesota
Proyecto Zenteotl
Kalpulli Yaocenoxtli
West Side Community Organization (WSCO)
Afro-Eco
North American Water Office

Event made possible with funding by:

Special thanks to the Elmer L. & Eleanor J. Andersen Foundation for funding the Twin Cities Environmental Justice Mapping Tool.

US Climate Action Network
Kresge Foundation
Norman Foundation
Jesse Smith Noyes Foundation