“Environmental Justice as Economic Diversity” is the slogan for an emerging coalition of civil rights, environmental, developmental, educational, and faith-based organizations and individuals with an evolving goal to use the rich natural and cultural resources of Southeastern Connecticut as a model for a new and more holistic paradigm to build just and sustainable communities.
Defining this ecological region are Long Island Sound (one in ten people in the United States live within fifty miles of it) with miles of salt marshes and the Quinnebaug-Shetucket Watershed, which is to say the Thames River Basin. Within this region “Environmental Justice” can bring together civil rights and environmental movements to act affirmatively for all, including Mother Earth under the renewed pressure of global warming.
“EJasED” rests on three legs, or institutional bases – faith (religious institutions), education (schools and colleges), and health (medicine and healing). The challenge of global warming, particularly on the poor and underdeveloped peoples and regions, provides impetus for new ways of local and regional organizing to meet both old and emerging global challenges.
Possible partners in this collaborative effort in a regional approach for green development and economic justice include The Thames River Basin Partnership, The New London Earth Day Collective, The Network of Spiritual Progressives, Connecticut College, Mitchell College, The US Coast Guard Academy, University of Hartford, Yale University, Hands Against Hate, South East Connecticut Peace and Justice , the Beloved Community Project, Saint Francis House, the United Church of Christ, Connecticut Association of Human Services, the Council of Governments (SE CT Enterprise Region).
Possible projects include: a Green Collar Employment Agency; development of the old Norwich Hospital grounds in Preston; Seaside in Waterford and Fort Trumbull in New London as education and research facilities for the twin forces of environmental justice and economic diversity; greater coordination between the Coast Guard (e.g. its new Research and Development Department) and Connecticut College’s Goodwin-Neiring Center for Environmental Studies, the Holleran Center for Public Policy and Community Action for projects that interface environmental justice and economic diversity.
submitted by Alan Paradis, Organizing4SECT
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