Friday 09 October 2015 at 04:00The Intersectionality of Climate Change
by Sean A. Watkins,
If we understand climate change as an intersectional issue that not only affects our global temperature, but also our social, economic, and political systems, it is clear we must speak out on this if we seek to create positive change. As Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program, Jacqueline Patterson (pictured above) has addressed these intersectionalities through an intentional and very needed lens of being a person of color in the United States.
Through her work, Jacqui has educated and mobilised communities to address climate change as both a human and civil rights issue.
As stated by the NAACP, in the United States, it is “race – even more than class – that is the number one indicator for the placement of toxic facilities in [America]. This has led to communities of color and low income communities often being the hardest hit by climate change.” Under Jacqui’s leadership, the Environmental and Climate Justice Program works at addressing the many practices that are harming communities nationwide and worldwide, and the policies needed to rectify these impacts.
A researcher, program manager, coordinator, advocate and activist working on women‘s rights, violence against women, HIV&AIDS, racial justice, economic justice, and environmental and climate justice, Jacqui is truly an intersectional climate warrior. In addition to NAACP, she serves on the Steering Committee for Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, Advisory Board for Center for Earth Ethics as well as on the Boards of Directors for the Institute of the Black World, Center for Story Based Strategy and the US Climate Action Network.
Before NAACP, she integrated a women’s rights lens for the issues of food rights, macroeconomics, and climate change as well as the intersection of violence against women and HIV&AIDS for ActionAid and also served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Jamaica, West Indies. Most recently, she was part of a training for Black clergy located in or near the Gulf Region, to support clergy leaders as advocates for climate justice.
But more than all of that, Jacqui is a warm-hearted individual who continues to be inspired by the youth working on climate change from an intersectional perspective.
It is for these reasons why OurVoices is excited to have Jacqui join us as a Spiritual Ambassador. Her bold leadership has helped communities of colour in the United States realise how climate change and environmental injustice affects them the most and how best to mobilise to create change around it.
We look forward to seeing the work we create together on this journey for a clean and safe future from climate change.