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Environmental Justice Advocacy

Colorado IPL conducts a range of environmental justice advocacy efforts, to help create a healthy environment for vulnerable communities.

The following is a list of important documents, resources and links related to environmental justice issues.

This statement, considered a vitally important “founding” document of the environmental justice movement, was drafted and adopted by delegates to the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit held in 1991 in Washington, DC.

These two groundbreaking studies – commissioned by the United Church of Christ – show the relationship between the location of toxic waste sites and the ethnicity and income levels of the communities where these sites are located.  The reports also offer recommendations for policies to address environmental racism and injustice.

This site is a remarkable collection of environmental justice resources – including reports, news articles, bibliographies, and much more.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has a range of environmental justice programs and resources.

This statement is one of the best-known supporting statements for the Precautionary Principle.

The Environmental Research Foundation – the long-time publisher of Rachel’s Democracy and Health News– offers a range of articles, studies and resources on environmental health and justice issues.

An Open Letter from African American Clergy on Climate Change: African American Clergy – sign the letter.

A powerful letter for African American Christian clergy which addresses the issue of climate justice, and the connections between oppression, environmental degradation, and responsibility for those most affected by climate change.

Toxics Reform

Colorado IPL, Earth Ministry, GreenFaith and others are advocating for reform our nation’s laws regulating toxic chemicals – the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). We’ve partnered with the National Council of Churches and the Union for Reform Judaism to issue an interfaith statement on toxic policy reform, and are undertaking advocacy in support of the Safe Chemicals Act.

Read our Interfaith Statement for Chemical Policy Reform which offers religious teachings and policy recommendations related to toxics policy.

Interfaith Statement for Chemical Policy Reform

The Problem: Toxic Chemicals Threaten Life on Earth

Toxic chemicals enter and harm our bodies, plants and animals, and natural systems through air and water pollution, and chemicals in household products including cleaners, personal care products, plastic food and drink containers, textiles, and children’s toys. Yet these chemicals are poorly understood and inadequately regulated. The U.S. Government Accountability Office found that only 200 of the more than
80,000 registered industrial chemicals have been tested.(1)
. Existing chemical policies fail to protect the web of Creation, including the human community. While all people are at risk, some are more vulnerable. Communities of color and low-income communities suffer disproportionately from pollution caused by current and past industrial activity, waste disposal(2)
, heavily-traveled transportation routes, and consumer products containing toxic chemicals.
Researchers also warn that toxic chemicals negatively impact children, expectant mothers, and workers.(3)
Chemical workers suffer from exposures because of the lack of public data on chemicals they use, unsafe workplaces, and lax enforcement of regulations.
As religious leaders and people of faith and conscience from diverse traditions, we affirm that reforming current chemical policies is vital to protecting people and life on God’s Earth.

Our Shared Call: Four Religious Values

The world’s faith traditions share values which serve as a foundation for ethical decision-making regarding toxic chemicals. Four core values shared by the world’s great traditions are as follows:

  • All life is to be respected.
  • People of faith must ensure that air, water, and land – which belong to the Divine – sustain life on Earth. 
  • Society owes justice and care to its most vulnerable people and communities, and to future generations
  • Our faith traditions call us to protect and promote the health of the human body.

The conclusion of this statement contains reference to religious teachings that reflect these shared values. Sadly, existing chemical policies fail to respect these values.

The Principles: Strong Toxic Policies to Sustain All Life

Government policy on chemicals can and should protect people and all life on Earth.

Chemical legislation should:

Protect People and All Life on Earth

Remove the most dangerous chemicals, such as chemicals that persist, bioaccumulate, or are acutely toxic (PBTs), from use except when no safe alternative is available.

1 Government Accountability Office. Chemical Regulation: Options Exist to Improve EPA’s Ability to Assess Health Risks and Manage Its Chemical
Review Program. 2005. 22.
2 United Church of Christ. Toxic Waste and Race. 1987.
3 For examples see President’s Cancer Panel. Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Know and What We Can Do. Letfall, LD and Kripke,

M. May 2010, ;Environmental Working Group. Body Burden: A Benchmark Investigation of Industrial Chemicals, Pollutants, and Pesticides in
Human Umbilical Cord Blood., 2004; Christiansen S, M Scholze, M Dalgaard, AM Vinggaard, M. Axelstad, A. Kortenkamp and U. Hass. Synergistic
disruption of external male sex organ development by a mixture of four antiandrogens. Environmental Health Perspectives doi:10.1289/ehp.0900689.
September 2009; California Environmental Protection Agency Department of Toxic Substances Control. PBDE Levels in Falcon Egg Studies Highest
Ever., May 2008.

Read about the Safe Chemicals Act of 2013, and why it’s important.

Download a petition sign-on sheet to use in your faith community.

Read a letter supporting the Act from the American Academy of Pediatrics.