I always leave the Moving Forward Network meetings with so much energy and feeling eager to bring new ideas back on fighting air pollution to the communities I work with in hopes to keep moving forward. Listening to the regional reports bring much appreciation to the dedication of all the environmental work across the nation. Hearing the successes and progress of others gives hope that change is being made, even though in some cases, in small amounts. They also make one realize that each region is connected confirming that we must continue to work together and support each other.
During the conference, a new strategy was presented to the group. The next steps are to begin a national campaign for zero emissions. Asking the 10 regions to identify and prioritize areas or communities exposed or affected by goods movement related to facilities and take action. A petition will be set up and each region push the campaign. Port impacts need to be addressed in order to achieve environmental health and climate justice. Therefore the EPA must encourage stakeholders to develop strategies to improve public health in port communities.
Workshops were held to band the network on this campaign. Regions should conduct health assessments, community mappings, and bring research findings to local, regional, and national governments. The reaction to what was presented was very well received from each area. Everyone looking to move forward one step at a time. Knowing that if we stick together maybe our united goal will come faster than working as individuals. Each region learning from the next condensing the time in local struggles because someone else has worked though the kinks.
At the end of the meeting each region was asked to discuss and present on their next steps. The Texas group stated that; 1. We would continue our work on developing a no–idling policy for Houston 2. Work on chemical security policies and 3. Through that work push the Zero Emissions campaign.
It is great to see the Moving Forward Network growing and becoming more close-knit. That only shows that we will and are getting stronger. The unity of the group will make amazing strides in transforming global trade for healthier communities.