Dear Pride Family,
Earth Day is just a month away, but climate action cannot wait. All of us around the world continue to grapple with the increasingly common impacts of climate change. Environmental justice is a human rights issue that affects everyone. Environmental justice is an LGBTQ issue. The effects of environmental degradation disproportionately impact marginalized communities, and yet all too frequently the LGBTQ community is often left out of these conversations.
We know that the LGBTQ community is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and environmental degradation. Members of our community are more likely to live in areas that are at a higher risk of environmental disasters, such as floods and wildfires. We are also more likely to experience the negative health effects of air pollution, such as respiratory illnesses as LGBTQ people are overrepresented in historically low-income neighborhoods near industrial sites, landfills, and other sources of pollution that emit harmful toxins into the air, water, and soil.
Systemic discrimination and marginalization can make it harder for us to access the resources and support we need to cope with the effects of climate change, like affordable healthcare, emergency housing, and disaster relief. Depending on other demographic factors, members of our community can be two to four times more likely to experience homelessness, which only exacerbates the negative impacts of environmental degradation and climate change on our community. As the global temperature rises, climate refugees will become more common, and here again, our LGBTQ community will be disproportionately represented.
Here at Pride, we are constantly looking at ways to reduce our carbon footprint, reduce our waste to landfills, enhance our recycling and composting efforts at the Parade, Festival, and year-round programs, and identify partners and policies that help us advocate for a more sustainable future.
The fight for environmental justice is far from over. As the effects of climate change continue to worsen, it is more important than ever that all of us recognize the link between environmental justice and social justice and do our part. We must collectively work to dismantle the systems of oppression that perpetuate social and environmental injustice as we strive to create a world that is safe and sustainable where all of us can Thrive!
Fernando Z. López
San Diego Pride
P.S. If you’d like to learn core organizing skills to help you get more directly involved in social justice movements, consider registering for our Pride Power Summit happening April 28-30!