Over the past eighteen months, Black Lives Matter and the COVID-19 pandemic have shone a spotlight on systemic racism here in the United States and across the globe—and put an even finer point on the idea that we must act differently if we want to achieve change. Never has it been more apparent that environmental justice cannot occur in a vacuum. Around the world, there is a growing understanding that we cannot even begin to address the disproportionate impacts of environmental and climate change on people of color, women, and the poor without also addressing the overlapping and intersecting factors of economic, racial, and social justice.

For too long, government and philanthropy have approached climate change and climate justice as stand- alone issues. Climate injustice is a root cause of health inequities, and influences how children learn and grow. Environmental injustice amplifies—and is amplified by—economic, gender, and racial injustice across the globe. These are integrated problems that require integrated solutions—solutions that tap into the skills and knowledge of people and communities that have been experiencing these issues for generations. As we come to grips with the overlapping and urgent threats of climate change, racial injustice, and a worldwide pandemic, it’s time to take a comprehensive, coordinated approach.

Adopting an integrated approach to climate justice is difficult work—it requires a seismic shift in how we think about some of the most persistent and potent challenges facing our planet and all who inhabit it. It also requires a fundamental rethinking of the systems we use.

People of color are the global majority. They are the hardest hit by the issues, and the most affected by centuries of decisions made by those who do not share their interests. Those who have access to the power and money needed to make change must be willing to upend traditional, top-down approaches so we can design equitable, community-led solutions. Failure to do so will only continue to reinforce our historic inequities.

Ceding power might sound intimidating to those working in and under philanthropy’s existing structures, but there are a growing number of examples that offer a road map for how to create community-based approaches to climate justice that are embedded with racial, social, and economic justice.

Read the full article about climate justice by Deeohn Ferris at Nonprofit Quarterly .