Saturday, July 29, 2006

Principles of Environmental Justice

Principles of Environmental Justice

A term that unites social justice with environmental justice is ecological justice, or eco-justice for short. The religious struggle for interrelating these
questions of social justice and ecological ethics was seriously dealt with at the World Council of Churches (WCC) Global Meeting on Justice, Peace and
Integrity of Creation held in Seoul, Korea in 1990. In relationship to UNCED this was dealt with at the World Meeting of Religious Leaders which WCC convened
in 1992, when the "One Earth Community" document was produced.

In North America a special effort has been made to involve people beyond the traditional groups and organizations in the environmental movement. This has
been done especially by the United Church of Christ in helping to facilitate the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit.

This gathering of people who have traditionally been struggling with the social and economic injustices of our times was a significant movement in the evolution
of the environmental movement. Those present at the Summit drafted a list of environmental justice principles that challenge all those interested in the
environmental movement to take into account these real issues of sustainability and equity for the planet and all peoples.


Principles of Environmental Justice

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 reestablish 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 insure 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:

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 reparation 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 Untied Nations Convention on Genocide.
11. Environmental justice must recognize a special legal and natural relationship of Native Peoples in the US government through treaties, agreements, compacts,
and covenants which impose upon the US government a paramount obligation and responsibility to affirm the sovereignty and self-determination of the indigenous
peoples whose lands it occupies and holds in trust.
12. Environmental justice affirms the need for an urban and rural ecological policy to clean up and rebuild our cities and rural areas in balance with nature,
honoring the cultural integrity of all our communities, and providing 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 multinational 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 to make the conscious decision to challenge and re-prioritize our lifestyle to insure the health of the natural world
for present and future generations.

Adopted October 27, 1991, in Washington, DC



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