Photo: Gregg Brekke / SixView Studios, 2019.

Photo: Gregg Brekke / SixView Studios, 2019.

The Anglican Communion Environmental Network released a statement on 19 June, “Environmental racism: when #blacklivesdon’tmatter,” noting that predominantly black lives are being impacted by drought, flooding, storms and sea level rise.

“The delayed global response to climate injustice gives the impression that #blacklivesdontmatter,” the statement reads. “We issue this urgent statement today, June 19 2020, a day known as Juneteenth in the United States, marking and remembering the official end of slavery in that country in 1865.”

The statement calls attention in particular to the impact of environmental racism on indigenous peoples decimated by the effects of colonization. “Tribes of people were enslaved, and annihilated by harsh conditions and by diseases for which they had no immunity in the first decades of colonization,” reads the statement, the statement reads, and today: “It is estimated that there are 40 million climate refugees in the world today, and by 2050 that number could reach one billion.”

Communities are being forced from their traditional lands due to drought and sea level rise, the statement continues. “Climate change can lead to increased conflict as farming communities are forced off their land into cities,” the text reads. “In Central America thousands of indigenous people have been made climate refugees.”

The statement also notes that Pacific islanders in Tonga and Fiji face the destruction of their homes and cultures due to sea level rise.

Read the full statement

Learn more about the Anglican Communion Environmental Network

WCC's work on Care for Creation and Climate Justice