black and white illustration with blue airbrush outline of a woman cupping her hands into water

Introducing Environmental Justice Issue

what a loaded term, huh? This phrase carries so much meaning that it almost loses its meaning amongst the international climate conferences, industry and government, activism and how all of it affects the people who live on the land. This also speaks to the ambiguity of the English language. What does “environmental justice” really mean? Maybe what’s actually important is what does this term mean to you? Do you live the implications of a toxic environment, do you work to change the environment you are living in or maybe, you work to live with the environment in a way that empowers the original people of the land and yourself. How does the displacement of Indigenous peoples affect your understanding of environmental justice? What are ways that we can build with each other to (re)create real justice for our environment?

I’m excited to read this issue because the people contributing have some of the answers to the questions that I pose in this introduction. Even if all of these questions aren’t answered in the following pages, maybe these are questions that can inspire you to passionately create your own answers. 

I’m excited to read this issue because there are so many brilliant voices joining in on the conversation of what environmental justice really means. English language is based in labelling persons, places and things and I feel this really takes away from my own understanding of what it means to live in a way that honours the sacredness of the place.I can tell you what I think environmental justice is. My thoughts are rooted in feelings of deep love for the land and water. The roots are buried deep within my heart. My heart lives and breathes the air that is cleansed by the trees that are rooted in the land that i love so much. Justice for the land and water, what I understand our environment to be, means freedom, it means being able to drink the water, it means living with the land so that everday, I can hear the heartbeat of my ancestors who have been buried deep within her. 

Justice is the ability to co-exist in peaceful, loving ways with ourselves, each other and the land and water, despite the overwhelming presence of fear and destruction. Justice is confronting the fear and destruction with an absolute passion for life. Justice is (re)building the foundations that were destroyed through greed and hatred and it is knowing that we are capable! We have what it takes to make our passions come alive. We are rooted in power when we come together and refuse to allow the fear, the hatred, the destruction to rule our hearts and minds any longer. Our power comes from the love we have for ourselves, each other and the land and the water.

Miigwech to the Peak for inviting my thoughts on Environmental Justice. Miigwech to the Peak for creating spaces for these ideas. Miigwech to all of you for reading this issue. I hope that you (the reader) are inspired to create change, even if it is within yourself, because we are all so incredibly valuable in this beautiful movement of change.