Tzedek Happenings: Environmental Justice

On Tuesday February 16th Tzedek had the chance to hear from three important members of the community in an Environmental Justice Panel! Together we virtually mapped out how climate change interacts with many other issues we have talked about as Tzedek. Things mentioned in the map were the Housing crisis in Detroit, water crisis, California wildfires, and so much more. We then were able to hear from our guests!

For context of this blog the Sunrise Movement is a youth movement to stop climate change and create millions of new jobs in the process. Sunrise was founded in 2017 and has worked to elect proponents of renewable energy in both midterm and general elections. Sunrise has hubs all over the United States, many of our Tavor chanichimot and alumni are involved with Sunrise.

Our panelists each spoke to us about their experiences both getting involved in

the climate justice movement as well as how they are continuing to do this work. We had a full range of intergenerational knowledge to hear from! Jesse Schwalb,

Jessie Schwalb

a Tavor chanicha, and sunrise organizer touched on why she felt a pull to join sunrise. Also, how she has been working to train new organizers and the importance of training and inspiring younger generations. As well as the importance of Sunrise being a youth led movement! Similar to our movement.

Our next panelist, Maya Smith is a Gilboa Alum and current Sunrise organizer. Maya spoke to us about why she got involved in Sunrise. She also touched on the tensions she feels between short term and long term goals and what it means to want to abolish the system and also elect officials to work in the system to help push policies that slow the effects of climate change.

Maya Smith

Quote from Maya:

“Climate justice is necessarily and inherently connected to these systems - and undoing these systems is necessary to truly fight climate change. That makes it a much bigger and much more abstract problem - the solution is so much harder to come up with or even conceptualize. But for me that also relieves a little pressure and provides a bit of a clearer way forward. There isn’t this perfect end-goal for climate justice because climate justice is a complete restructuring of society. No one knows what that should look like, and the only way we figure that out is by practicing new ways of being and living, and messing up, and then trying something new, on and on.”

State Rep. Frank Hornstein (D-MN)

Our last panelist, Frank Hornstein, a member of the Minnesota house of representatives spoke to us about his work in the climate justice movement! We also learned his sister is a Tavor Alum! He similarly touched on how youth as an integral factor to fighting climate change. He discussed environmental policy at the local level and the history of the progressive movement. He spoke to us about being a strong proponent of the Green New Deal and about legislation he has authorized to increase the state of Minnesota’s renewable energy.

He left us with a final thought; “The only way to defeat organized money is through organized people!”

Blog written by Shosh Grode, Year-Round Program Coordinator

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