As we celebrate Black History Month, we want to honor the work of black environmental leaders who have led the struggle for environmental justice, clean air, clean water, and a livable planet for all. These leaders have founded leading environmental organizations and advocated for green policies at the local, state, federal and global levels; making life healthier for all of us.
Under the Obama administration, Lisa P. Jackson served as the nation’s first black director of the EPA. Under her command, the EPA determined that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses are defined as pollutants under the Clean Air Act. This allowed the EPA to pass strict emissions standards for cars and trucks, the first time the government has regulated these type of emissions. These vehicle standards are an enormous step forward in limiting greenhouse gas emissions and are expected to prevent billions of pounds of carbon dioxide emissions and save drivers an estimated $1,094 to $2,167 per vehicle.
Jackson did not stop with vehicle emissions standards. She also took steps to regulate emissions from new power plants and to reduce the emissions of already existing plants. This was a powerful move to decrease emissions from coal-fired plants. Along with this, she regulated emissions of mercury, arsenic and other airborne toxins from the power plants. During her tenure at the EPA, she defended clean air and water and took aggressive steps to reduce greenhouse gasses in an effort to combat climate change.
Dr. Robert Bullard
Another prominent black environmental champion is Dr. Robert Bullard. Currently, a dean at Texas Southern University, Dr. Bullard has been credited as the ‘father of environmental justice.’ Bullard began his groundbreaking work by researching landfills in Houston. He found that every city-owned landfill and three-quarters of private owned landfills were placed in predominantly black neighborhoods. This research led Bullard to embark on a lifetime career in environmental justice. He organized the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit in 1991. In this conference, the first principles of environmental justice were created.
During the Clinton administration, Bullard was able to make significant advances. He helped write the Environmental Justice Executive Order 12898, which required federal agencies to address environmental discrimination in minority and low-income populations. This was an important step;
These are only a few of the many black environmental activists who are leading the movement. Each day people work around the world to create a healthier, cleaner world so that children will not suffer from asthma, so that we will have fewer red code air days, and so that we will pay less in health care costs related to lung disease. This month we publicly acknowledge our gratitude for the thousands of black community leaders whose work contributes to a more just and healthy world. And likewise, we want to thank our customers for choosing to source clean electricity instead of polluting coal and natural gas. Not yet a customer? Sign up for 100% wind and solar power in minutes.You can also refer your friends. When they enroll by February 28, 2017, we’ll send you and your friend a $25 VISA gift card, PLUS we’ll donate $25 to an environmental charity.