top of page
Open Palm Logo - 2022 - Side text - HQ.png

Climate justice is racial and social justice

Open Palm Charity - Earth Day

Earth Day gives a voice to the state of our planet. The environment we live in is changing for the worse and people of colour, in the UK and abroad, bear the brunt of the climate crisis. Yet the environmentalist movement often excludes them.


  • Black people are four times more likely than White people to have no access to outdoor space at home (e.g. balcony or garden)

  • Particulate air pollution in the UK is concentrated in the 20% of poorest neighbourhoods in England and in areas with a greater proportion of Black people

  • Just 10% of the world’s population is responsible for 50% of global emissions, whereas the poorest 50% are responsible for only 10% of emissions

  • The average carbon footprint of someone in the richest 1% could be 175 times that of someone in the poorest 10%

Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah

Ella lived near the South Circular Road in Lewisham, south-east London and died in 2013.

At the age of seven she began to develop a rare and complex form of asthma. Within three years she was hospitalised 27 times and died in 2013 after suffering a severe asthma attack

She became the first British person to have air pollution recorded as a cause of death – but unfortunately she won’t be the last. In poorer urban communities, it is increasingly a matter of life and death.

Coroner Phillip Barlow said there is "no safe level of particulate matter" in the air and called for national pollution limits to be reduced.

Climate justice can’t happen without racial justice

Why has there been so little mention of saving Black lives from the climate emergency? For too long, racial justice efforts have been distinguished from climate justice work

- says David Lammy, Member of Parliament for Tottenham, England.

In a stirring talk about building a new movement to care for the planet, Lammy calls for inclusion and support of Black and Minority-Ethnic leadership on climate issues. He explains the need for global recognition that we can't solve climate change without racial, social and inter-generational justice.

Resources worth checking out

  • Intersectional Environmentalists – a digital platform highlighting the importance of intersectionality in environmentalism. Their IE Podcast centres discussions about the climate crisis around BIPOC communities

  • Young people at the forefront of tackling racial injustice in the environmental movement, featured in National Geographic:

  • Climate Reframe Project – Amplifying BAME voices in the environmental movement

  • Black Geographers – a great organisation and community empowering Black and Minority Ethnic geographers. They provide workshops, events and mentorship. Could there be a collaboration between OP and Black Geographers in the future?


bottom of page