MISSION: Southwest Research and Information Center is a multi-cultural organization working to promote the health of people and communities, protect natural resources, ensure citizen participation, and secure environmental and social justice now and for future generations

Youth Environmental Justice Principles

As drafted by the Youth of the Second National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit, here stand 9 principles of the youth environmental justice movement. This document is the product of several days of discussion amongst a group of 150 youth and youth forums held outside of the summit. It does not assume to represent the entire youth environmental justice movement particularly the perspectives of native and rural youth.

  1. EJ demands for the United States government to be held accountable for violations of human rights and land rights, both domestically and internationally.
  2. EJ demands that young people work to incorporate the principles of environmental justice into government funded institutions that perpetuate the issues affecting youth of color, indigenous youth, and immigrant and undocumented youth.
  3. EJ respects and promotes the full involvement of all people across the full spectrum of identities and abilities that make us who we are.
  4. EJ demands that low-income youth, including immigrant youth, and indigenous youth live in communities that are secure from crime, drugs, disease, pollution, and labor exploitation.
  5. EJ calls for us to build communities, conduct gatherings, and build our political structures in a way that reflects the histories, traditions, and practices of the full spectrum of identities and abilities that make up the communities we come from and that do not reflect the structures that oppress us.
  6. EJ calls for us to utilize movement resources, such as: funds, staff and peoples time and energy, in a way that is sustainable, renewable and puts these resources back into our oppressed communities so that they serve the movement as a whole.
  7. EJ requires the experiences of youth and elders to be shared and respected in all areas of the movement and the need for an intergenerational approach that challenges divisive tendencies.
  8. EJ demands that as youth we stand against unjust war in all it's forms including disproportionate military recruitment in all our communities, the media's glamorization of military lifestyle and the tremendously destructive effects it has on the environment.
  9. EJ demands that youth seek to challenge and change the environmentally destructive aspects of our lifestyles in order to stop the support of the destruction of our planet.

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"The term "equity" was a government creation pushed onto the EJ movement by the Environmental Protection Agency. SWOP doesn't want "equal opportunity pollution." We want to reshape the whole table. We want a fundamental reordering of our priorities and commitments, and that starts with corporate and government accountability to the community. We want justice."
--ColorLines, Vol. 3, No. 2
Southwest Organizing Project "Organizing in the 21st Century"

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