Public Forum on Climate Justice to be Held in Vienna

The forum will be moderated by William Barber III and Karenna Gore.

The 2019 Virginia Climate Crisis Forum will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, at 7:30 p.m., at First Baptist Church of Vienna, 450 Orchard Street, NW, Vienna. The forum is open to the public and free of charge. Doors open at 7 p.m; space is limited. For additional details or to register, visit bit.ly/2019climateforum.

The Virginia Climate Crisis Forum is hosted by Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions (FACS) and co-sponsored by Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, Interfaith Power & Light (DC, MD, NoVA), and the Virginia Poor People's Campaign. Attendees, including people of faith and community members across Virginia, will engage in a deep conversation about environmental justice, moderated by William Barber III and Karenna Gore.

TOPICS of discussion will include the landscape of environmental justice issues in Virginia, the intersection with faith, energy justice, and Fairfax County’s approach to equity. In addition, attendees will hear from people directly impacted by climate justice issues.

“Ultimately our work to develop local solutions to the climate crisis is about people. How can we minimize human suffering and create an equitable environment where people can enjoy a healthy, livable community?” Meg Mall, Executive Director of FACS poses this question to the community. “With this year's Virginia Climate Crisis Forum, FACS is opening a conversation about environmental justice as a civil right.”

William Barber, III, is the Strategic Partnerships Associate at The Climate Reality Project. Karenna Gore is the Founding Director of the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary. She is the eldest daughter of former Vice President Al Gore.

Barber underscores why the topic of the forum is so important: “If we are serious about addressing the current environmental crisis of our time, we must be serious about understanding fully the connections between environmental injustice and the climate crisis. When we think of environmental injustice, we often think in the local context: we picture issues of localized pollution and the fight by communities – often poor, black, and brown – for clean air, clean water, and a clean environment in which to live. But too often, we don’t expand our thoughts to the larger connection, that every time one of these communities is encroached upon by a natural gas pipeline, disrupted by a petrochemical facility, or targeted for any other fossil fuel expansion, it increases the amount of greenhouse gas emissions being dumped into our global atmosphere and lowers the probability that we will act in enough time to minimize the worst effects of this crisis. And, what is even more damning, is that these same communities who have lived with decades of environmental and health disruptions and who contribute the least to the climate crisis are set to be the ones hit first and worst by these effects.”

PANELISTS for the event include:

  • Karla Bruce, Chief Equity Officer, Fairfax County

  • Karen Campblin, Co-chair of Green New Deal Virginia; Transportation and Smart Growth Co-chair of the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club; and Environmental and Climate Justice Chair of the Virginia NAACP State Conference

  • Andrea Miller, Organizer for Virginia Poor People’s Campaign and Executive Director of Demanding Action

  • Dawone Robinson, Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Director of Energy Affordability for the Natural Resources Defense Council

  • Rev. Paul Wilson, Pastor of Union Hill Baptist Church and Union Grove Baptist Church

  • Melody Zhang, Climate Justice Campaign Coordinator at Sojourners and Co-Chair of Young Evangelicals for Climate Action

The moderators and panelists will engage attendees in a conversation about how to respond as a faith community to better care for Creation through a commitment to local solutions to environmental justice.

Residents from throughout Virginia are encouraged to attend the 2019 Virginia Climate Crisis Forum to participate in this conversation on climate change and environmental justice. Prior to and after the program, attendees will also have the opportunity to talk with and learn more about dozens of nonprofit organizations and government agencies who will be sharing information in the lobby. Doors will open at 7 p.m., and the program will begin at 7:30 p.m..

For more information, visit faithforclimate.org.

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