Creation Care & Eco-Justice Glossary
Climate Crisis: Severe problems that arise as human activity increases the level of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, and the world’s average global temperature soars.
Climate Emergency: A situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage.
Clean, Safe, and Renewable Energy: Clean energy is energy produced by methods that do not release greenhouse gases or other pollutants. Safe energy is energy produced with minimal harm to the environment and/or human health (for example, it does not require the disposal of radioactive waste or coal ash). Renewable energy is energy that comes from sources that are naturally regenerated over a short period of time (as opposed to the 300 million years required for fossil fuels). It is derived directly or indirectly from the sun or from Earth’s natural movements and mechanisms, and it is appropriate in scale to work symbiotically with its ecological surroundings. Clean, safe, and renewable energy might be sourced from wind, solar, or geothermal power; it is not sourced from large-scale biofuel, biomass, mega-hydro dams, nuclear energy, or energy derived from burning waste.
Eco-Justice: The well-being of humankind on a thriving earth. The condition or principle of being just or equitable with respect to ecological sustainability and protection of the environment, as well as social and economic issues.
Environmental Justice: 1. Fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies (EPA). 2. The universal right to collective environmental, political, economic self-determination.
Environmental Racism: 1. Environmental injustice that occurs in practice and in policy within a racialized context (Benjamin Chavis). 2. Any policy, practice, or directive that differentially affects or disadvantages (whether intended or unintended) individuals, groups, or communities based on race or color (Robert Bullard).
Fair Treatment: No group should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences of industrial, governmental, commercial operations or polices.
Just Transition: 1. The principle that a healthy economy and a clean, safe environment can and should co-exist. 2. The process for achieving this vision should be fair and should not cost workers or community residents their health, environment, jobs, or economic assets; losses should be fairly compensated. 3. The practice whereby people who are most affected by pollution – the frontline workers and the fence-line communities – should be in the leadership of crafting policy solutions.
Net Carbon Neutrality: Achieving net zero carbon emissions either by balancing carbon emissions with carbon removal (often through carbon offsets) or by eliminating carbon emissions.
StorySharing: The practice of telling and receiving stories around things that matter most, including faith, race, difference, creation, and justice.
Triple Emergency/Triple Urgency: The intersection of climate change, poverty and inequality, and biodiversity loss.
The Rev. Melanie Mullen
Director, Reconciliation, Justice and Creation Care
Associate for Creation Care and Justice