With Donald J. Trump as the President Elect, environmental justice -- and all social justice -- will need to be vigilant as ever. Trump released his “Environmental Independence” plan, which will allow rampant fossil fuel usage and the elimination of many successful environmental plans in the name of job creation and business interest. We are justified in our concern about how environmental groups -- including the Environmental Protection Agency, and ourselves -- can respond for all people who will be affected.
TREE has called the EPA to do more for underserved communities in the past, as the EPA’s previous initiatives have not always been entirely inclusive. Thankfully, comments from citizens (probably one of you!) on proposed regulations have given the EPA more insight to the communities it should include in its policymaking.
Just prior to the election, the EPA made a step in the right direction toward environmental inclusiveness. The EPA and the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) awarded funds toward a five-year environmental education (EE) training program called “ee360.” More than 4,400 educators will be able to gain quality training, state certification, curriculum materials, and more access to teaching resources. The program is set to start in 2017.
TREE has taken a similar approach on a more local level to make sure everyone benefits through its upcoming program, Seeds for Change.
Seeds for Change is a DC-focused environmental justice program also starting in 2017. Our goal is to provide young people between the ages of 16 and 26, and truly give individualized training to combat environmental inequality in Washington, DC caused by gentrification. With leadership clinics, research, and access to resources, Seeds for Change aims to empower DC-area youth to get things done.
Gentrification enrages many people for economic, environmental, and personal reasons. However, most aren't very informed about solutions, nor do they have the training to hold the culprits accountable. This is where TREE comes in with Seeds for Change -- we can provide young, local citizens with the power and tools to overcome injustice in their own communities and hopefully beyond.
2016 is an indication that change is necessary and groups are actively working to make that change. Our goal is to hold those in power accountable for justice. We will continue to do that under a new presidency and party regime. This is why we are working harder than ever with young people to get involved and know that they have a voice. We will equip youth with the seeds they need to change their world.