Dear Colleague on Conclusion of the G7 Speakers’ Meeting and Commitment to Environmental Justice for Economically Vulnerable and Front-Line Communities
Dear Democratic Colleague,
This weekend, I had the privilege of hosting the Group of Seven (G7) Meeting of Heads of Parliament. The theme and purpose of this meeting was “Addressing the Climate Crisis with Economic and Environmental Justice for All.” The meeting reflected the need for strong, urgent and coordinated international action to address the stark disparities in health and financial security that have been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis.
While the COVID-19 pandemic prevented our Caucus from being able to welcome the Speakers in person, I am grateful to Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Chairwoman Kathy Castor for her leadership during this critical summit. She continues to be a powerful voice in highlighting the connections between health, the environment and justice.
Our discussions were led by distinguished panelists who bring both a local and global perspective on the climate crisis and now, the coronavirus crisis. We were blessed by the participation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Bono, Dr. Jane Goodall, Dr. Robert Bullard (the “Father of Environmental Justice”), as well as former members of the Cabinet: Secretaries Madeleine Albright, John Kerry, Ernest Moniz and Gina McCarthy. The participating Heads of Parliament were actively engaged in conversation with our panel participants including the former head of the World Bank Dr. Jim Yong Kim and former USAID Administration Dr. Rajiv Shah.
Our meeting culminated with the Speakers issuing a powerful joint declaration, which states: “We shall also pay particular attention to environmental justice for economically vulnerable and front-line communities. Committing to fight against environmental injustice requires providing a healthy environment, equal opportunity and meaningful involvement in environmental decisions to all people, regardless of race, color, gender, orientation, national origin, belief, or socio-economic condition. Climate policy can end the perpetuation of systemic inequalities.”
The deadly wildfires raging in the West and the historic storms ravaging the Gulf Coast further point to the need for bold, unified climate action to protect lives and livelihoods in a way that advances justice.
I want to pay special thanks to Chief of Protocol Kate Knudson and Deputy Director of Protocol Kristina Jeter who led this tremendous staff effort in facilitating this summit across ten countries and many cities throughout America. If you wish, you can view the livestream of large portions of the meeting here.
I am proud of the visionary leadership and tireless action that our House Democratic Majority has taken to combat the climate crisis in a way that addresses environmental injustice. Inspired and informed by the conversations from the G7 summit, we must build upon our progress to, in the words of the declaration, “provide a healthy, clean and sustainable environment for our children and grandchildren and generations to come.”
Thank you for your continued leadership as we work to combat the climate crisis and crush the coronavirus, with economic and environmental justice for all.