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Minnesotans demand climate justice now!

By Zach Moore |
September 23, 2020
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The CJC bannering above I-94.
The CJC bannering above I-94. (Photo by Louie Tran / Liberation Lens Media)

St. Paul, MN - On September 22, activists from the newly formed Climate Justice Committee (CJC) hung banners over the side of the Snelling Avenue bridge and the pedestrian bridge that spans Interstate-94 connecting downtown Minneapolis with downtown Saint Paul. The banners read, “Capitalism kills the planet,” “The U.S. military: The #1 polluter,” “Push Biden left on climate change” and “2050 is too late, climate justice now.” The last slogan references Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s climate plan, which positions its goal as 100% clean energy by 2050.

Alongside Biden’s climate plan, in August, a section of the Democratic National Convention’s platform that called for “eliminating tax breaks and subsidies for fossil fuels” was struck from the final draft by the Democratic National Committee, illustrating the need to push Biden and the Democrats on the issue of climate change.

The activists’ goal was to put the demand for climate justice back on people’s agenda as they drove home from work. They received a chorus of honks of solidarity from the drivers on the freeway below.

“We organized this bannering to bring focus to the importance of the climate change issue,” Kim DeFranco, an activist from the Climate Justice Committee said, “and to highlight the issue that the U.S. military is the biggest polluter in the world.”

“We want to give people something to think about on their drive home, that all these things are interrelated - the water crisis in Flint, the lack of water in the Navajo nation, the murder of George Floyd - all these oppressions are interrelated, and these oppressed groups are being affected the worst by climate change and the pandemic, like they’re facing multiple pandemics,” said Greg Trentman.

The Climate Justice Committee is a recently founded grassroots organization centered in the Twin Cities, for the purpose of advancing the demand for climate justice and bringing greater focus on the driving effects of U.S. militarism and imperialism on climate change.

“We didn’t feel like climate justice was being addressed in the movement. There’s a lot of talk about carbon emissions and recycling, but not about the fact that climate change disproportionately affects communities of color and poor and working class folks,” said Misty Rowan, another Climate Justice Committee activist, “we want to make sure climate justice is part of the conversation.”

The Climate Justice Committee meets weekly on Tuesday nights. To learn more about them and attend their actions follow them on Facebook at @ClimateJusticeMN.