The second Environmental Justice and Climate Protection Conference was on June 15 in Atlanta, GA. This event brought together community leaders, concerned citizens, elected officials, experts, and academics. Over 100 guests attended either in person at Emory University or online.
Concern for the environment united all the attendees.
In attendance was Dr. Treva Gear from Dogwood Alliance. She stressed the connection between climate and human health. Dr. Gear emphasized the importance of environmental justice. She highlighted the impact on people’s lives when advocating for climate protection.
Dr. Gear said:
“Pollution anywhere is pollution everywhere. If we commit to protecting the climate, we cannot ignore environmental justice.”
The conference gave participants tools to take action for their health and communities.
Representatives from several organizations provided resources to address environmental issues:
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
- Emory Center for Children’s Health Assessment, Research Translation, and Combating Environmental Racism (CHARTER)
- HERCULES Exposome Research Center
Also in attendance was Beth Remmes from Unity Worldwide Ministry Earth Care Team. She led a workshop on attendee roles in addressing environmental injustices. Remmes encouraged attendees to:
- express concerns
- offer solutions
- change perceptions through creativity
“Life creates systems to sustain life,” said Remmes.
The host organizations have provided a page with conference resources for reference. CHARTER now accepts seed grant applications. The National Institutes for Environmental Health Sciences is funding this.
There are challenges ahead. But Dr. Amy Sharma from Science for Georgia believes positive impact is possible with collaboration.
Dr. Sharma said:
“When we look at the current health of the people and state of the environment, it’s easy to get discouraged. There are so many things to do. But this conference shone a light on the change that we can make if we continue to work together.”
The conference host organizations were: