How to Send a Holiday Gift to the Front Lines of Climate Change

This blog was written by Amelia Shenstone, former Regional Advocacy Director with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

Guest Blog | December 21, 2016 | Climate Change, Energy Justice, Energy Policy
Photo: Bold Louisiana

Over the holidays, many folks look to expand their generosity beyond immediate family and friends and even favorite nonprofits by sponsoring gifts for a child or family. This year, we have a special invitation: A Front Line Holiday.

Climate change and dirty energy sources like coal compound the threats to communities that are already facing poverty and discrimination; nonetheless, activists in these communities continue to organize, most as volunteers, even while some may struggle to provide gifts for their own family and friends.

In an effort coordinated by the Bold Education Fund, several community groups have compiled holiday wish lists on Amazon, which we’re sharing below along with brief background on each group provided by its members. Thank you for your generosity!

In the Southeast


Black Belt Citizens Fighting for Health & Justice

Wish List on Amazon
“Uniontown, Alabama, is on the front lines of several destructive industries – toxic coal ash, sewage overflows and mega factory-farms. Families living in this mostly African-American community are forced to deal with state discrimination and environmental violence on a daily basis.”

Bold Louisiana

Wish List on Amazon
“Since the severe and climate induced flooding of August, Bold Louisiana has been supporting rural community members across the state. Aside from physically helping to clean up and rebuild homes, Bold LA has been able to provide thousands of dollars in clean-up and building supplies to families most in need. These families live in areas affected additionally by fracking, toxic well injection, hurricanes and the BP Oil Disaster. Please help us to uplift these families who are most vulnerable to extreme energy extraction and climate change, during this holiday season.”

BPSOS’s Phoenix of the Bayou Youth Group

Wish List on Amazon
“Bayou la Batre’s Southeast Asian community has faced economic devastation in the wakes of Hurricane Katrina and the BP Oil Disaster. In addition to the economic challenges associated with an inappropriate disaster response and economic remuneration strategy on the part of BP, language barriers make everything from banking to navigating the Alabama health care and public education systems as extreme hardship. BPSOS fills the gaps by providing invaluable assistance in translation and health advocacy.

“In addition to our grant-funded public health advocacy work, we also provided a safe haven for students after school where we engage their minds about their school work and ensure they are learning the lessons necessary to achieve success through tutoring and mentoring and leadership development. All of that daily work with our bilingual student population is unfunded, and everything we can do to reward the trials of our youth has a massive impact given the economic restraints in their homes.”

Coal River Mountain Watch

Wish List on Amazon
“Our community deals with the ongoing health impacts from mountaintop removal coal mining, including cancer, heart disease, depression and more. Several wells and streams are polluted from coal waste sludge injection, and some streams run orange from acid mine drainage.

“Our community is truly on the front lines – a 2,000-acre mountaintop removal site is just a few thousand feet from our office at the Judy Bonds Center for Appalachian Preservation. This is the community that was rocked by the April 2010 Upper Big Branch mine explosion, which killed 29 miners.

“Our community and region are also plagued with poverty, childhood obesity, and drug addiction. These kids participate in the Coal River Environmental Education for Kids (CREEK) program to provide them with wholesome and fun learning activities, a respect for their environment, and a pride in community service. Several of them pitch in for Tadpole Project’s stream cleanup days. A Front Line Holiday would definitely bring some smiles!”

Photo: Zion Travelers

Zion Travelers Cooperative Center

Wish List on Amazon
“We are still dealing with the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and most recently Hurricane Isaac on top of our fishing industry which is most of our community means of providing for their families which was devastated by the BP Oil Spill. Many in our community are still struggling financially just to provide basic needs to the family. We are a community that is resilient, but have suffered some hardships. Any assistance you can provide to these families we greatly appreciate.”

In the U.S.

Arctic Youth for Environmental Action

Wish List on Amazon
“The effects of climate change have a great effect on the community, which includes flooding and erosion. The sea level has risen, the offshore ice pack has retreated, winter sea ice forms later and is much thinner due to warmer temperatures, which used to provide a buffer to the flooding and damage which now causes land erosion.

“The community of Shishmaref is mainly Inupiaq Eskimo, which are largely a subsistence hunting and gathering people having limited job opportunities, with a population of approximately 650. Erosion has undermined buildings and infrastructure, causing several structures to collapse and fall into the sea.

“Over the years, the community has tried many different techniques to arrest the erosion, including gabions, sandbag, and articulated concrete mats. All these efforts have provided only temporary solutions. The shoreline continues to recede, the community has moved houses and other structures back from the edge, but has less and less space to do so. Rock seawall revetments have been put in place along sections of the seacoast, which provides a protective barrier in the direct area, although flooding and erosion continues in all other areas not protected.”

Detroit Coalition Against Tar Sands

Wish List on Amazon
“Our community has been experiencing mass water shutoffs and tax foreclosures. We are fighting against the expansion of the Marathon plant that refines tar sands. We are also fighting against the expansion of an industrial waste plant that stores nuclear waste and frack sands.”

A Front Line Holiday is a project of Bold Education Fund (a 501c3 nonprofit organization) that is open to all North American front line communities (low-income or communities of color who are impacted by pollution or climate disaster) and goes through existing on-the-ground organizations to help provide gifts for infant to high school aged children.

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