The Sierra Club is a 128-year-old organization with a complex history, some of which has caused significant harm. As defenders of Black life pull down Confederate monuments across the country, it’s time we take down some of our own monuments and begin reckoning with the Sierra Club’s early history.
Sierra Club Ohio took on the challenge: If we want to successfully eliminate environmental injustices, we must first address the social injustices that caused them to begin with. We must build capacity for the cultural transformation of Sierra Club Ohio towards the understanding of the connection and responsibility we have to each other and the environment.
Here at the Miami Group, we are proud of the number of EJ projects we have been working on. But some of us felt the need to learn how to engage communities outside the Sierra Club and listen to the voices of leadership on the front lines of injustice. How can we be more collaborative and inclusive in our work? How can we engage future generations? How can we even engage our own members? We formed a committee and drew up an environmental justice statement for the Miami Group:
“Miami Group is committed to creating a culture in which all communities benefit from the same degree of protection from economic harm, human health risks, and ecological damage, due to climate disruption and industrial pollution. No group of people should bear a disproportionate burden of the negative consequences resulting from corporate, governmental, or agency operations. We therefore seek to address the inequities in the way governments respond to these dangers, and as consumers, call out the world’s top polluters and make them – their markets and their patrons – answerable for the true cost to the planet. To further protect our planet’s future and build power in the environmental movement, the Miami Group will endeavor to attract a greater racial, cultural, generational, and disability-inclusive diversity into its membership. To widen the circle of empathy, we will include in our conversations and in our leadership, the voices of those in poverty living on the front lines of injustice; the voices of Indigenous peoples fighting to protect our sacred wilderness; and the voices of youth crying out for climate justice.”