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Infinite Earth Radio – weekly conversations with leaders building smarter, more sustainable, and equitable communities - Michael Hancox EPISODE 92, 5th October 2017
WE ACT For Environmental Justice
00:00:00 00:27:13

WE ACT For Environmental Justice


Looking at the Past, Present, and Future of the Environmental Justice Movement

In This Episode:

[02:06] Guest Peggy Shepard is introduced.

[02:24] Peggy shares of her experience as a journalist.

[06:34] Peggy relates how she made the transition from being in a political space to being in the environmental justice space.

[08:25] Peggy gives her response to those who say that environmental and climate justice are new concepts.

[09:30] Peggy states what the biggest environmental justice threats were in 1991 and what the threats are now.

[10:25] Peggy informs us how racism is intertwined with environmental injustice.

[12:22] Peggy tells if there has been progress in lessening the targeting and the disproportionate impact on populations of people of color from environmental threats.

[13:53] Peggy describes the Northern Manhattan Climate Action Plan.

[17:28] Peggy says if it was easier to get people’s attention about climate resilience issues after living through Superstorm Sandy.

[19:18] Peggy identifies the political and social objectives that WE ACT is trying to accomplish.

[23:47] Peggy elaborates on the power of speaking for ourselves.

Guest and Organization:

Peggy Shepard is co-founder and executive director of WE ACT For Environmental Justice and has a long history of organizing and engaging Northern Manhattan residents in community-based planning and campaigns to address environmental protection and environmental health policy locally and nationally. She has successfully combined grassroots organizing, environmental advocacy, and environmental health community-based participatory research to become a national leader in advancing environmental policy and the perspective of environmental justice in urban communities — to ensure that the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment extends to all. Her work has received broad recognition: the Jane Jacobs Medal from the Rockefeller Foundation for Lifetime Achievement, the 10th Annual Heinz Award For the Environment, the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award from the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and an Honorary Sc.D from Smith College.

Take Away Quotes:

“That report [Toxic Waste and Race] has been reconfirmed around this country in so many other research studies. That race is the primary predictor of where a toxic waste facility is and that income is the secondary predictor.”

“People really want energy security. They want to feel that they can help reduce greenhouse gasses by using alternative energy sources but also secure their energy future by being able to have a little more autonomy over energy—how they use it and what kind of energy they use.”

“We are working from the ground up, and we know that community organizing is essential but that you can’t really organize a community to be empowered and advocate on their own without information. So we have a…nine-week environmental health and leadership training program that we put all of our members through…We’re making sure that they are informed about air pollution, water quality, children’s environmental health, toxics, climate change, energy, the whole host of issues that evolve to have importance at varying times in communities.”


Island Press Urban Resilience Project

WE ACT For Environmental Justice

People Power: How Residents of Northern Manhattan are Creating an Energy Revolution

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