The challenge is not new; these same communities have long been fighting the adverse health impacts, particularly poor air quality, imposed by the oil industry’s influence in the region. Historically, however, the national climate justice movement has largely marginalized these types of voices — a legacy that this camp sought to change through panels exploring the intersectionality of frontline communities, morning rituals led by tribal leaders and even an “Anti-Government Arts and Crafts” workshop held by a 10-year-old Lakota boy.
One of the primary reasons that socially and economically marginalized communities have been traditionally excluded from the climate justice movement is because of the mainstream environmental movement’s emphasis on the potential for green capitalism to solve the problem. Under this rationale, it is possible to achieve sustainability while still living comfortable, overly consumptive lives — a framework that doesn’t resonate with or include economically disenfranchised communities. In contrast, many at the recent tar sands action camp found that solidarity meant opposing not only climate change, but also capitalism.
For more on this story, visit: Climate activists to fossil fuel industry: ‘If you build it, we will come’ – Waging Nonviolence.