Environmental and Social Justice

Sierra Club Ohio has started this team to support and deepen an Environmental and Social Justice (ESJ) movement in our Ohio spaces. This is a newer committee dedicated to creating inclusive environments with a broad spectrum of people. Environmental and Social Justice connects to all we do within the Sierra Club, and the focus of this committee is to help cultivate the transformation of Sierra Club Ohio by embedding Environmental and Social Justice Principles across the state.

Environmental Justice deals exclusively with the environment. At Sierra Club Ohio, we believe that Environmental Justice is a part of Social Justice and that they are directly related. There is a direct link between race, poverty, and environmental injustices. The ESJ Committee is focused on internal and external initiatives as we begin to cultivate what is meaningful and transformative for our team to focus on for Sierra Club Ohio. Individuals on this team will be focused on developing a statewide ESJ program to strengthen Sierra Club Ohio’s efforts on environmental and social justice issues. This work will be done through community-based organizing, connections with our constituents around the state, and with national support teams.

We are committed to being very intentional about collaborative leadership and centering equity, justice, and inclusion and growing our diversity within Sierra Club Ohio with the LGBTQI+, BIPOC, and other communities in an inclusive way. Future work for this group will include:

  • Formulating Sierra Club Ohio’s shared values, community agreements, goals, mission, and vision.
  • Finding opportunities to develop relationships with BIPOC led organizations and directly supporting their work around all of our campaigns and programs.
  • Participating and collaborating in the Strategic Planning Process in Sierra Club Ohio as well as the Culture Transformation Initiative (CTI) through Sierra Club National. More information to come!
  • Organize Sierra Club members to be actively anti-racist and dismantle white supremacy.

Environmental injustices are human-made. Where there is environmental injustice there is social injustice. Historically, environmental injustice dramatically increases where there is racism and/or poverty. If we want to successfully eliminate environmental injustices, we must first address the social injustices that caused them to begin with. We acknowledge the work we need to do to create equity, inclusion, and diversity within Sierra Club Ohio. This is the work that will begin to build capacity for the cultural transformation of Sierra Club Ohio towards the understanding of the connection and responsibility we have to each other and the environment. 

ESJ Team Members:

Mary Aguilera, ESJ Chair, Volunteer - Steering Committee Chair
Lisa Rooney, Volunteer - Steering Committee
Ericka Copeland, State Director
Jocelyn Travis, National Staff
Emily Obringer, State Staff
Becca Pollard, National Staff
Molly Nichols, National Staff
Nicole Wolcott, State Staff
Brianna Bajakian, Local Central Ohio volunteer
Elise Taylor, Local Northeast Ohio volunteer
Fran Panek, Local Central Ohio volunteer
Ric Doringo, Local Northeast Ohio volunteer
Bailey Fuller, Local Central Ohio volunteer
Whitney Pearson, National Consultant - National staff
Allison Chin, National Consultant - National Volunteer

Monthly Update

February 2023

The ESJ Committee is in the process of creating a profile of folks within the organization, how they contribute to our local Ohio work, and what the important issues are for our team to collaborate on. Most importantly, how we as a committee can use our strengths and opportunities for growth to be effective in addressing justice issues in Ohio.  A questionnaire was recently sent to all Ohio staff team members to help discern the most positive and effective steps we can take in the months immediately ahead of us.  

More conversations will follow…Stay tuned!