Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and group of climate change activists spoke about the importance of reducing fossil fuel emissions at an event in Lisner Auditorium Wednesday.
Sanders along with Bill McKibben, the co-founder of the climate group 350.org, Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., the president and CEO of the community activism group Hip Hop Caucus and other activists discussed the importance of respecting the environment and staving off the impacts of climate change by moving away from fossil fuel and toward alternative energy sources.
The event, “Fossil Free Fast: The Climate Resistance,” was organized by a group of environmental organizations to discuss climate issues the day after President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address.
Over the course of the night, activists from many different backgrounds — black, white, Native American, male, female, gender non-binary and undocumented immigrants – spoke about their experiences and how they related to climate change and environmental justice.
“We cannot separate climate and environmental justice from other struggles for justice,” said Jameka Hodnett, a national field organizer for the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Campaign, which aims to encourage cities and towns to commit to getting 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources.
Jacqueline Patterson, the director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program and the first person the NAACP ever hired to work solely on climate justice, took to the stage and said that minority groups are the ones that suffer the worst effects of climate change and pollution because major plants are often built in low-income and minority communities.
“At the NAACP, we know children, like Elijah, from Indiantown, Florida, who lives near a coal plant and has such severe asthma that he is dependent on taking a handful of drugs every day in order to be able to get through the day so that his air passages are open and he’ll be able to survive,” Patterson said.
The speakers also recognized that the movement for climate justice extended beyond the United States’ continental borders, adding that their organizations are challenging the use of coal-fired power plants all over the world.
More news/video/tweets/etc. in the comments.