Regional Fair Climate Summit: Gathering in New Orleans Charts Fair Climate Principles

Conference Spotlights Domestic and International Priorities, "From Katrina to Copenhagen"

04-17-2009 // Jennifer Fournelle

NEW ORLEANS, LA -- At a gathering in New Orleans today, social justice advocates, youth, women leaders, faith leaders, community members, and environmentalists, are calling for equal access to fair climate and energy policies that safeguard our natural resources and prioritize the most vulnerable communities.

"As organizations that are advocating for climate change policies to safeguard our communities and natural resources, we know that the health impacts of rising temperatures are already felt in many parts of the country and that the most vulnerable are disproportionately affected," said Kassie Rohrbach, coordinator of fair climate projects, National Wildlife Federation.

"We need to look no further than Hurricane Katrina to realize how climate change related disasters can devastate human lives," said Xuan Nguyen, executive director, Women's Environment and Development Organization. "In the city of New Orleans, over 83 percent of poor single mothers were displaced. Almost four years later, many women and girls remain unable to return home."

"This is our time to work for a fair and just climate policy," said Monique Harden, co-director & attorney, Advocates for Environmental Human Rights. "It's really about protecting the places we call home."

"What happened in New Orleans, for the most part, was man-made, with the destruction of the wetlands," said Dr. Beverly Wright, executive director, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, Dillard University. "The hurricanes are natural, but what happened to us was not natural. When it comes to adaptation, we have a lot to learn."

The summit is taking place at the Pan American Life Center, hosted by National Wildlife Federation, Women's Environment & Development Organization, Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, and Deep South Center for Environmental Justice.

Contact: Aileo Weinmann, communications manager, National Wildlife Federation, 202-797-6801,

Anna Grossman, Women's Environment & Development Organization, 212-973-0325,