Delegates to the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit held on October 24-27, 1991, in Washington DC, drafted and adopted 17 principles of Environmental Justice. Since then, The Principles have served as a defining document for the growing grassroots movement for environmental justice.
On December 6-8, 1996, forty people of color and European-American representatives met in Jemez, New Mexico, for the “Working Group Meeting on Globalization and Trade.” The Jemez meeting was hosted by the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice with the intention of hammering out common understandings between participants from different cultures, politics and organizations. The following “Jemez Principles” for democratic organizing were adopted by the participants.
An international coalition of groups gathered in Johannesburg for the Earth Summit has released a set of principles aimed at “putting a human face” on climate change. The Bali Principles of Climate Justice redefine climate change from a human rights and environmental justice perspective. The principles were developed by the coalition — which includes CorpWatch, Third World Network, Oil Watch, the Indigenous Environmental Network, among others — at the final preparatory negotiations for the Earth Summit in Bali in June 2002.
Climate change may very well be the biggest threat facing humanity. Yet, the negotiations to find solutions have so far been mired mostly in the technical arena, and have been derailed by special interest groups such as large oil, coal and utility companies and governments such as the United States. The latest example are the efforts to sideline renewable energy plans at the Johannesburg Summit. For many, the issue of climate is a matter of life and death. The biggest injustice of climate change is that the hardest hit are the least responsible for contributing to the problem. The Bali Principles of Climate Justice seek to broaden the constituency providing leadership on climate change. They do so by linking local community issues to climate change.