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There Can Be No Climate Justice Without Racial Justice – A Statement From CAC’s Executive Director

Updated: Oct 15, 2020

Like many of you, we have been heartbroken, angry, and inspired by the calls for a new America. We stand in solidarity with those demanding justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless other lives lost to systemic racism, white supremacy, and police brutality.

Here’s why: 

We often hear that the climate crisis impacts us all. While that is true, the climate crisis is impacting communities of color first and worst. Our country has a history of sacrificing Black, brown, and indigenous lives by placing polluting facilities in their communities in the United States and globally. 

Every Child Deserves Clean Air and Clean Water

In the U.S., Latino and Black Americans live closer to toxic facilities, energy plants, and other polluters — resulting in higher rates of respiratory illnesses and cancer.

Communities of color shoulder the burden of air pollution in San Diego, too. The rate of asthma in San Ysidro is 18 times higher than the country as a whole. Here, 41% of residents live within 500 feet of a pollution source. This is no accident. 

It’s the result of over a century of racist policies with one message: that the lives and livelihoods of black and brown people don’t matter. The truth is that our fossil fuel powered economy has always required sacrificial places and people. 

Our Struggles Are Connected, And So Is Our Liberation

We don’t live in a “single-issue” world, everything is interconnected. If we want to survive, we must connect the dots between our daily struggles and global crises.


The same systems of oppression that criminalize blackness, allow polluters to set up shop in our backyards. We must have the courage and imagination to confront and dismantle them if we hope to realize the vision of a better world. 

What Will Happen If We Don’t Address The Root Problems

If we respond to the climate crisis by battening down the hatches and militarizing our police, we are setting the stage for more resource wars and endless human rights violations. Every policy win that makes our societies more humane and just in the face of the warming world, will also help us weather the climate crisis without slipping into our worst impulses. 

We’re Committed To Doing The Work

Since our founding, we’ve approached our work through a lens of equity — amplifying the work of our partners fighting for racial justice and supporting policies that will make our region more safe and just. We still have work to do. 

This is why we’re redoubling our commitment to anti-racism. As an organization, we are:

  • Conducting a racial justice training for staff and Board

  • Strengthening our strategic plan to elevate racial and economic justice in our work. 

  • Testifying in support of economic justice measures like Emergency Rental Relief. 

  • Centering racial justice in both the San Diego Green New Deal and a California Green New Deal. 

  • Joining hundreds of other organizations within the California Green coalition to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. 

This is only the beginning.  We commit to being fierce allies in the fight for racial justice. We hope you will join us. 

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