Coalition of 85 Grassroots Groups Call for Environmental Funding Accountability and Equity
August 5, 2021 I Press Release
Contact: Diana Lopez, Executive Director, Southwest Workers Union, BEA Grassroots Caucus Co-Chair, (210) 535-7060, @email
Dwaign Tyndal, Executive Director, Alternatives for for Community and Environment, BEA Steering Committee Co-Chair, (617) 201-8366, @email
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COALITION OF 85 GRASSROOTS GROUPS CALL FOR ENVIRONMENTAL FUNDING ACCOUNTABILITY AND EQUITY
From flooding and fires to extreme temperatures, 2021 continues to sound the alarm that a swift and just transition from a fossil fuel economy is urgently needed now. In addition to these physical disasters, frontline communities are experiencing unprecedented social and economic upheaval. Communities directly impacted by extractive industries, fossil fuel pollution, and climate disruption hold solutions to these crises, but are severely under-resourced to create the changes they seek.
In November of 2020, Jeff Bezos committed to channeling $10 billion to climate change-related causes and groups. Bezos’ Earth Fund presents the potential to effect tremendous change by shifting much-needed resources to grassroots environmental justice organizations who are at the forefront of climate action. Unfortunately, these funds are being channeled primarily to already well-funded institutions that promote technocratic, false solutions instead of to consistently underfunded grassroots organizations and frontline communities who champion the effective, equitable solutions necessary to stop climate change.
This morning, a letter was sent to two BEA participant organizations - Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) - as well as the Earth Fund and the participant base of Building Equity and Alignment for Environmental Justice (BEA). It was written to express our deep disappointment in member organizations who have turned their back on the groups they have committed to empower and to demand that we have a seat at the table to resolve the inequitable distribution of Earth Fund monies.
“The web of strategy and coordination within grassroots environmental and climate justice groups comes through historical roots in disrupting white supremacy within the environmental movement that leads to the dangerous practice of excluding Black, Indigenous, People of Color from discussions that directly affect their life. Decades of alignment and intentional communication has been in place to dismantle inequitable practices on resource distribution to correct the historical wrongs and hurdles that frontline communities face. Once again we call on our peers around the table to honor commitments and adequate funds to increase resources in grassroots organizing.”
--Diana Lopez (she/her) Co-Chair BEA Grassroots Caucus, Executive Director, Southwest Workers Union
“Every dollar the frontline communities don’t get from the Bezos Earth Fund will go to organizations that fund false solutions or market-based solutions.”
-Dwaign Tyndal (he/his) BEA Steering Committee Co-Chair, Executive Director, Alternatives for for Community and Environment
“Climate and environmentally focused philanthropy and national organizations have an opportunity to show up with intention, integrity, and accountability at this moment. The BEA Grassroots Caucus is extending this invitation to accountability to those who have named a commitment to equitable power and resource distribution to the grassroots.”
-- Jasmine Banks (she/her) Co-Chair BEA Grassroots Caucus, Executive Director, UnKoch My Campus
Building Equity and Alignment for Environmental Justice (BEA) works to build equitable relationships and expand the pool of resources for base-building organizations within people of color, Indigenous and low-income communities that are achieving results on the frontlines of the climate and ecological crisis. It was born out of a belief in the power of grassroots climate and environmental organizing and with the goal of transforming philanthropy by redirecting resources to the frontline.