Environmental Justice

Setting a Course for Environmental Justice

This year, we laid the groundwork for our new initiative to bring Environmental Justice to our communities. It’s no secret that failures of environmental justice disproportionately affect the most vulnerable. Yet, with so many other pressing needs in play, this issue often receives comparatively little attention.

At OnePA, we know that those most heavily impacted are our people. Our communities live in flood-prone areas, downwind from major trash incinerators, and in proximity to shale gas fracking operations and radioactive landfills. Our children suffer from asthma, skin and eye irritation, and rare cancers. As our climate continues to change, our communities will bear the heaviest burden and suffer the harshest consequences. 

Group Photo

Pennsylvania has a long history of fossil fuel development, which has left our communities with a lasting legacy of heavy pollution. Even today, oil and gas companies promote a narrative that frames their industry as a source of job creation, while misrepresenting environmental protection as a path to economic hardship. In fact, the coming Green Economy will bring a host of new, healthier, and more sustainable jobs to our state—as PA’s new Whole Home Repair Program will soon prove. OnePA United is dedicated to changing the narrative about pollution and fighting for a Green New Deal that will lift our communities out of adversity and bring long-awaited environmental justice for all. We will fight to encode environmental protections into law and obtain formal commitments from lawmakers to reduce emissions. 

To do that, we must prioritize local narratives centered on low income, environmentally impacted communities. This year, we crafted an initiative to educate our community members on how to become more environmentally conscious, train leaders to confront power, and lobby our elected representatives to commit fully to environmental justice. We developed a strategy to train working people to testify about their personal experiences with undrinkable water, childhood asthma, and cancers. In the year ahead, we will implement this plan. The tools we have created will empower impacted community members to tell their stories and ensure that good, family-sustaining green jobs become the lifeblood of our communities.