Ecological responsibility in linkage with social justice is what the world needs now. Healthy earth community requires advocacy and action on urgent environmental issues in ways that connect with struggles for social and economic justice. Eco-Justice envisions and values ecology and justice together, since there will be little environmental health without socio-economic justice, and vice-versa. - Dieter T. Hessel
Eco-Justice Collaborative first raises public awareness of the consequences of our actions on people and our planet, then advocates personal and policy changes that:
- Seek harmony with planet earth.
- Respect all life.
- Value diversity.
- Support ecological sustainability.
- Bring about a just distribution of the world’s resources.
Eco-Justice Collaborative (EJC) invites you to work with us to rethink, imagine and then build a future based on sufficiency and a respect and care for all who inhabit this planet.
About Pam and Lan
Lan and Pam Richart are co-founders of the non-profit organization called Eco-Justice Collaborative, recently relocated to Champaign, IL from Chicago. Pam is an environmental land use planner by profession and Lan is an ecologist.
For over 20 years they were principals and owners of a land use and environmental consulting firm located in the western suburbs of Chicago. During this time they worked on public and private projects throughout the Midwest, providing consulting services in the areas of comprehensive planning; natural resource conservation and management; and the assessment of the environmental and socio-economic impacts from state-and federally-funded public works projects.
In the late 1990’s, a series of trips to economically-disadvantaged regions of Latin America opened their eyes to the social, economic, and environmental effects that the U.S. lifestyle and public policy have on our world. They subsequently re-arranged their lives to dedicate their energy to the work of their non-profit, created to raise public awareness of the impact of lifestyle choices and public policy on the planet and its people and to encourage changes that will heal and restore the planet, while bringing about a more just and sustainable world.
Since our founding in 2008, our work has amplified our mission and our focus to help avert climate catastrophe. We have:
- Organized a grassroots campaign to pressure Dynegy-Midwest Generation to move its coal ash out of the floodplain of Illinois’ only National Scenic River. Work is ongoing, with the support of key stakeholders. Recent initiatives include organizing and holding a June 2018 People's Hearing to highlight the risks of leaving toxic coal ash in the river's floodplain. Please visit the ACT NOW menu tab for actions you can take to help stop Dynegy's plan to cap its pits, armor abutting river banks, and run, leaving a coal ash threat for future generations in Vermilion County.
- Helped found and currently serve on the leadership team for the Downstate Caucus of the Illinois State Climate Table, created to coordinate work between the downstate advocacy organizations across Illinois with the State Climate Table in support of reducing carbon and other greenhouse gases and building resilient communities. Work is ongoing, and focused on developing a set of strategies and practices that can be implemented in central and southern Illinois, with a focus on equity. This includes working to pass the groundbreaking Clean Energy Jobs Act, with its provisions for worker and community transition from fossil fuels.
- Joined forces with Prairie Rivers Network, Earthjustice, Sierra Club Illinois, the Environmental Law and Policy Center, and Illinois Environmental Council and community groups living near toxic coal ash to develop and pass the Coal Ash Pollution Prevention Act. Prior work to move a coal ash rule forward was stalled by the Rauner Administration, while industry filed suit over the 2015 federal rule. Watch this site for how to get involved to ensure rules that are passed by the Illinois EPA and Pollution Control Board follow the intent of the legislation.
- Served as lead organizer in 2017 to bring forums and workshops about Illinois' groundbreaking Future Energy Jobs Act to downstate Illinois communities who have experienced significant job loss associated with reduced production of coal, and closures of coal mines and coal plants. Phase II will begin early 2018.
- Co-Founded the Community Futures Initiative, a group of advocates and front-line communities working for a coal severance tax in Illinois. Monies from this fund would go back to communities struggling to diversify their economies and break free from their dependence on coal. We’re working towards legislation while simultaneously organizing community town halls to explore opportunities for economic diversification, with an emphasis on clean energy.
- Led delegations to West Virginia and central and southern Illinois to expose the impacts of coal mining (including mountaintop removal mining), burning, and disposal of waste. These experiences transform the lives of those who join us, and motivate delegates to support coal-producing communities working to move to an economy based on clean, safe, renewable energy.
- Worked to bring an end to the state-subsidized Illinois Coal Education Curriculum. Success! The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity stopped distributing its climate-denying curriculum in 2013.
- Served as lead organizer for Great Lakes Bioneers Chicago in 2012 and 2013, bringing together more than 600 professionals, educators, the faith community, students and the general public around innovative solutions to today’s social, economic and environmental challenges. You can find videos of plenary speakers here and here.
- Organized a Women’s Tribunal on Gender and Climate Justice, one of just two in the nation. Through story, the Tribunal emboldened women in the Chicago metropolitan area and Appalachia to continue to work for energy justice and an end to a reliance on dirty coal.
- Re-ignited the fight to close the Fisk and Crawford coal power plants, two old polluting coal-fired power plants that operated in neighborhoods of color on Chicago’s southwest side. This included the founding of the Chicago Clean Power Coalition, which included faith-based groups, environmental organizations, businesses, environmental justice groups, health organizations, and students. Victory! Both plants were permanently closed in September 2012.
- Co-founded the Heartland Coalfield Alliance to transition our state and region from coal to safe, clean, renewable energy. EJC and its partners Prairie Rivers Network and the Sierra Club continue to support coal-producing communities with technical expertise and legislative solutions.
- Co-led an experiential course on eco-justice and cities as part of the Seminary Consortium on Urban Pastoral Education programming.
- Continued awareness-raising and education around key issues of eco-justice, including exponential growth and sustainability; food; water; and energy. This includes presentations to and engagement of faith groups, community colleges and universities, and the six-week course "Lifestyles for a Sustainable Future" offered by EJC.
- Maintained a dynamic website and blog that raises awareness and informs readers about key issues of eco-justice, including exponential growth and sustainability; food; water; and energy.