Catherine Coleman Flowers: “We will all be watching to see what you will do to promote life”

By Catherine Coleman Flowers | September 21, 2021

Catherine Coleman Flowers is Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice. She has dedicated her career to fighting for environmental justice. Much of her work focuses on improving sanitation and water infrastructure in Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and poor rural communities in the United States.

Here is her contribution to the Our World in Your Hands project.

To the leaders of the world,

As we approach COP26, I have been contemplating our present as well as the future. Prior to the release of the latest IPCC report, I knew that we were in a struggle because for the past year we have been plagued with climate disasters of historic proportions worldwide.

I have experienced firsthand the impacts a changing climate, caused by our addiction to contaminants that are destabilizing our planet’s ability to maintain life. Living near the Gulf Coast region of Alabama, we are often in the cone of uncertainty of storm systems enhanced by warming waters in the Gulf of Mexico. The most recent occurrence was Hurricane Ida which brought record-breaking floods and destruction from the Gulf Coast to the Northeastern part of the United States. We must do something now, and we must do it collectively.

The authors of the IPCC Report tell us that we still have time to act and keep warming at or below 1.5°C. A global commitment to transitioning to clean energy, maximizing energy efficiency in our buildings and manufacturing processes, reconfiguring economies so that sustainability takes precedence over mindless patterns of consumption, and providing transition assistance to frontline communities that have been overburdened with the health consequences of climate impacts influenced by racism and structural poverty, should come of this gathering of the Conference of Parties. Mother nature has spoken to us.

So as a grandmother, I am pleading for my grandson. I am pleading with you to help do what is necessary to protect the lives of generations to come. I am also pleading for the many children and babies who have not contributed to climate change but will bear the brunt of what it will wrought. And I am pleading for children along the Gulf Coast and around the world that are experiencing trauma from choices adults have made, endangering them currently and in the future. We will all be watching to see what you will do to promote life, or whether you will promote death and destruction.


Catherine Coleman Flowers

Founder and Executive Director

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