As the Environmental Justice Task Force celebrates its second year in existence, we are learning how much intersectionality there is between Environmental Justice and all forms of social justice. As a Task Force we attended the Anti-Oppression Workshop sponsored by Faith Action, and are taking a humble look at ourselves and how white supremacy and Asian colonialism culture has impacted and sometimes impeded our interactions and our work in the Environmental Justice Task Force. To quote a recent article in YES! Magazine, “People in industrialized capitalist societies had to invent environmentalism because they lost their connection to nature.” Native Hawaiian culture, in contrast, has strived to maintain connection to nature, with hundreds of years of experience and knowledge. We as a Task Force have been blessed to listen, share and learn from kanaka maoli who have been guest speakers at our Thursday EJ Task Force meetings, on how to reconnect with the land so as to create inclusive and lasting Environmental Justice. Stay tuned for an upcoming program in partnership with generous kanaka maoli, currently in development, to help us personally connect to the ‘aina where we each live on the islands.
The EJ Task Force continues to support legislation that will help mitigate climate change and lessen its impact especially among the poor who are already suffering the most. The IPCC Report was “code red for humanity” and “we must act decisively now,” per the UN Secretary General. Simply by living here in the U.S.A., three of us create enough carbon to kill one person elsewhere in the world. So our EJ Task Force is focusing on legislation called Carbon Cashback, which provides payments called dividends to all residents of Hawaii, funded entirely by taxes on fossil fuel companies that import or refine fossil fuels in Hawaii. For a 60 second explanation of Carbon Cashback see: Faith Action - Carbon Fee and Dividend - Episode 1 - YouTube . Last year four similar bills were introduced, and we expect more work on this concept in the upcoming legislative session. We have been developing relationships with legislators to hear their point of view on putting a fee on carbon and to listen to their legislative priorities regarding climate change and the environment.