EJC – 2012 Highlights

A Look Back at 2012

2012 was an incredible year, filled with excitement; victory; and positive outcomes for our campaigns and projects! Many of you actively participated in the events and activities presented below. The organizing and hard work by all shows what grassroots organizations and individuals can do to bring about change that works with and respects all living things. We look forward to continued collaboration in this next year, and give thanks to those committed to the journey that lies ahead, as together we bring about a more sustainable, just world.

With gratitude and hope for the coming year,
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Pam and Lan Richart, Co-Directors
Eco-Justice Collaborative
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Tribunal on Gender and Climate Justice
This past June, Eco-Justice Collaborative partnered with UN-affiliates Feminist Task Force and Loretto Community at the United Nations along with environmental justice organizations Citizens Against Ruining the Environment (CARE) and Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization (P.E.R.R.O.), to host the second gender and climate justice tribunal in the nation.  The first took place in Appalachia in May.

This tribunal – a people’s trial –  highlighted the impacts on women living in communities affected by air pollution generated by MW Generation’s coal plants in Joliet and Romeoville and the dumping of toxic coal ash by MWGen in a nearby unlined quarry. The tribunal also exposed the importance of cleaning up heavily polluted sites after power plants are closed, using MW Generation’s Fisk and Crawford as examples. Recommendations from the panel of judges were taken to taken to the Rio +20 Earth Summit in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, and linked with those from tribunals held in 15 other countries.  Read more

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Victory! Chicago’s Coal Plants Close
Eco-Justice Collaborative, one of the founders of the Chicago Clean Power Coalition, announced a major victory for the people of Chicago in March of 2012. After many years of struggle and 2 1/2 years of continuous organizing by the coalition of  grassroots organizations and environmental groups, Midwest Generation, owner and operator of the Fisk and Crawford coal plants on the city’s southwest side, agreed to permanently retire these corporate polluters.

These plants were the largest sources of stationary pollution in the city of Chicago and two of the dirtiest in the country, In 2012, they were called out by the NAACP in its report “Coal Blooded: Putting Profits Before People” as two of the worst environmental justice offenders of all 431 coal plants surveyed in the country. Both coal plants closed September 2012. Read more

On September 20, 2012, the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) gave its Environmental Leadership Award to the Chicago Clean Power Coalition for its work in closing the two coal-fired power plants.  Read more
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Seminary Course on Eco-Justice and Cities 
For the fourth consecutive year, EJC joined Clinton Stockwell PhD, Executive Director, Chicago Semester, to teach a four-week intensive course for the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education (SCUPE).  The course, entitled “Eco-Justice: Vision for a Sustainable City”, focused creating a holistic vision for a sustainable city as a reflection of the concept of shalom, a just peace.  Central to the course is the question, “What does it mean to be a sustainable urban community?”

Students examined the relevance of three components of sustainable community development: the interrelationship of economics, environment and equity (or social justice).  Participants explored course topics via readings, panel discussions, site visits and the preparation of a paper describing a project they planned to carry out in their community. Photo taken on roof of Chicago Center for Green Technology.  Read more
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Great Lakes Bioneers Chicago Hosts Inaugural Event
On November 2-4 over 700 people came together at UIC Student Center East.  For three exciting days, participants joined international, national and local visionaries to envision a new world through a program of presentations,  interactive workshops, music, drama, dance, poetry and celebration. More than just an event, the gathering laid the foundation for on-going collaboration among all Chicagoans who care about creating a healthy and sustainable city for themselves and future generations.  As one attendee put it:

“This was one of the most incredible events I have ever attended. The collaborating and sharing that when on between like-minded people who had never met before will reverberate for years to come. It’s been a month and I still can’t stop talking about it!”

Click here for an event guide. EJC continues to serve as a lead organizer and fiscal sponsor.  Work toward’s next year’s event already is underway. Read More
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Impacts of Coal Mining on Illinois Communities
America’s heartland is ground zero for the nation’s clean energy fight.  In 2012 EJC continued its work with the Heartland Coalfield Alliance to expose the true costs of coal mining on Illinois communities and their land and water resources.  The campaign included education and awareness raising; building partnerships to improve collaboration in grassroots and legal fights against coal pollution; investigating the extent of Illinois taxpayer subsidies to the coal industry; and working to bring about a just transition from the current coal economy to a safe, clean and sustainable energy economy.  Read more
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End State-Supported Coal Curriculum
Eco-Justice Collaborative, along with the Heartland Coalfield Alliance, continued a campaign to end Illinois’ tax-supported school curriculum entitled “From the Coal Mines to the Power Lines“. This is a highly-biased marketing program aimed at casting coal and coal companies in the most positive light possible and encouraging public allegiance to the coal industry, beginning with our youngest and most impressionable citizens.

The state-supported curriculum includes hundreds of pages of material, maps, posters and CD-ROMs purporting to be an effective vehicle for meeting Illinois State Learning Standards teaching language arts, math, natural science and  social science in our schools. Read More

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