On Wednesday, January 24, the Center for Progressive Reform hosted a webinar on environmental justice as environmental human rights. Among other issues, panelists discussed why the failure to adequately address environmental discrimination is a violation of international human rights law.
Now more than ever, policymakers and community leaders are asking themselves what it would take to accomplish a just transition to clean energy and a healthier planet that leaves no one behind. Environmental justice advocates have long shown that oppression, economic crisis, and climate degradation never appear in isolation, and understanding their root causes gives us opportunities to tackle these problems together.
Building a bridge between environmental justice and international human rights law is a compelling way forward. Drawing on a new article by Member Scholar John H. Knox and Nicole Tronolone and the Environmental Justice as Environmental Human Rights blog symposium it inspired, we convened a webinar of scholars and guest experts to discuss what we gain when we secure environmental human rights.
- Carlos Claussell, Climate and Environmental Justice Manager, World Wildlife Fund
- Monique Harden, Director of Law and Policy and Community Engagement Program Manager, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice
- John H. Knox, CPR Member Scholar and Henry C. Lauerman Professor of International Law, Wake Forest University School of Law
- Lemir Teron, CPR Member Scholar and Associate Professor, Howard University’s Department of Earth, Environment, & Equity
It’s widely known that environmental degradation falls disproportionately on communities facing other systemic oppressions: communities of color, indigenous communities, and rural and low-wealth communities. Across the U.S., hundreds of thousands of people live in “sacrifice zones,” where they are exposed to astonishing levels of water and air pollution.
For decades, the environmental justice movement has fought to address these harms at every level of governance. A new article by CPR Member Scholar John H. Knox and Nicole Tronolone, and the Environmental Justice as Environmental Human Rights blog series it inspired, argues that it’s time to expand this fight even further, to the realm of international law.