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Interview: Coal-Fired Plants and the
Struggle for Environmental Justice

As the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Director, Jacqueline Patterson often finds her work questioned by constituents of the venerable civil rights organization. “Some of the communities I work
Jacqueline Patterson Interview
Jacqueline Patterson
in were like, ‘Well, we’re dealing with double digit unemployment and people dying of AIDS, people being racially profiled, high murder rates. How is melting ice caps and polar bear extinction going to become a priority for us?’” In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Patterson discusses how she answers that thorny question and outlines the reasons behind the NAACP’s campaign to shut down coal-fired plants, which disproportionately affect minority communities. She also talks about the often-difficult relationship between environmental justice organizations and major U.S. green groups. “We need to have tough conversations around organizational culture,” she says. “And we need more joint strategizing on how we can collaborate more effectively.”
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