SPONSORED BY GUAYAKI YERBA MATE
PGC Notes: As a reminder, you must follow all submission instructions in order to be considered for a daily prize. This means including your name, username, email address, and school in every submission. Please be sure to fully read the instructions for each challenge! Thanks.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Are you overwhelmed by the quantity and intensity of global challenges facing our planet right now? From climate change to socioeconomic inequality, racial and gender injustice to immigration crackdowns, food insecurity to failing healthcare, lack of access to education to deadly violence, a broken criminal justice system to sexual assault crises, environmental destruction to contaminated waters and too many more to name, the scale of such massive problems can feel stifling. And all are interconnected.
Begin by considering that a root cause of such suffering is how we treat each other and our planet. While there is far from any single solution, inclusive solutions that bridge various social and environmental movements can unite people across diverse backgrounds and create a massive, energized, proactive force working tirelessly toward a just and thriving planet.
Everyone has a right to live, learn, work and play in a healthy environment without fear of contamination, pollution or danger. The Environmental Justice Movement was ignited in the 1980s by a rural, predominantly black community in North Carolina that fought a toxic waste dump for PCB-laced soil. It now addresses a wide array of issues including food insecurity, lack of green spaces, placement of toxic waste dumps and power plants, exclusion from the ‘mainstream’ environmental movement, environmental racism and more in underserved communities with populations of color, where most sources of toxic pollutants are located. Whether industrial polluters consolidated in poor neighborhoods in U.S. cities or commercial waste from the Global North being dumped on the Global South, marginalized minority populations face disproportionate environmental burdens, exposures and risks.
These relevant and tangible issues affect all of our lives directly and indirectly. Let’s take food insecurity: in the United States, more than a third of college and university students are forced to choose between academic costs (books, credits, etc.) and eating. When a student is worried about basic calorie intake, eating healthy food to nourish body and mind for full potential is often impossible, not even a priority. Another example is climate change. Many people in “frontline” communities, often populations of color, are historically marginalized and excluded. They are forced to leave their homes, comfort, jobs and nations to seek asylum elsewhere due to rising sea level, extreme weather, drought-induced famine or other climate-driven violence.
Other frontline communities are bravely taking a stand to protect the land and resources they have. The Native American-led Water Protectors at Standing Rock brought together tribal leaders, affected communities, and activists in solidarity to attempt to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. In British Columbia, First Nations youth continue boldly fighting a similar battle to halt construction of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline.
Indigenous peoples are powerful voices in the fight against climate change and justice. In fact, indigenous peoples control one quarter of earth’s land and much of that land is “essentially natural,” – a much greater proportion than the rest of the land on earth. However, their right to land and tribal sovereignty is constantly ignored or violated in today’s system, which threatens their ability to protect those “natural” lands into the future. When their voices are not heard, indigenous peoples face negative impacts such as displacement and lack of access to their traditional way of life. Today’s non-profit partners, Conservation International and Rainforest Alliance, work with frontline indigenous and rural peoples to empower tribes and ensure that their livelihoods are protected.
One of the most powerful expressions of the social justice movement for centuries has been its music – an essential form of political expression prompting massive social engagement. “As long as people have been getting fed up with the status quo, they’ve been singing about it.(Vox 2018). Check out this video from our partner Guayaki that speaks to exactly that.
Check out these resources.
An article from Environmental Health News
A video from The Intercept.
What better way to tackle climate justice than through the justice system itself? In today’s challenge, you will learn about an amazing group of young people who fittingly call themselves the Earth Guardians. This group of empowered students is suing the United States government in a court case called Juliana v. United States of America for putting our future at risk by refusing to act sufficiently on climate change. Their trial is set for October 29, 2018 and they need your help!
Upload a PDF Document with your responses and social media post. Include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.
We continually observe and hear about egregious injustices committed against people, species and planet. We have conversations with friends, family, in classrooms, at work places about our feelings, pains, and challenges, sometimes seemingly insurmountable. A group of 18-35 year olds responded to a World Economic Forum survey to name the 10 most pressing challenges today which are shared below;
These challenges affect our daily lives, communities and campuses, the very place where we acquire the tools to change our present and future. Let’s see how we can change the status quo and work for good.
Start the challenge by watching this beautiful and inspirational video from our partner, Conservation International – “Shailene Woodley is Forest”. If you were moved by this film, think about how you take that inspiration and turn it into action.
Then, check out this video from environmentalist and author, Paul Hawken talking about the unstoppable movement of people and organizations dedicated to restoring the environment and fostering social justice. Here’s where you come in.
Upload a PDF Document with your responses. Include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.
Due on 10/27 at 6am PT. We will award up to 100 bonus points based on your creating a vibrant and mobilizing presentation.
Keep believing. Keep marching. Keep building. Keep raising your voice. Every generation has the opportunity to remake the world. Mandela said, ‘Young people are capable when aroused of bringing down the towers of oppression and raising the banners of freedom.'” ~ excerpted from the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, speech at the 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture
Think about the issue that you honed in on during the previous challenge. For this challenge, we want you to go deeper.