Welcome to 350 New Orleans’ July 2024 Newsletter. Each month we’ll share a compilation of climate action and environmental justice news from New Orleans and the Gulf South.

As our climate warms, we’re experiencing stronger winds, higher storm surges and record rainfalls during hurricane season — which is also why these storms are becoming more destructive and costly. “Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predict above-normal hurricane activity in the Atlantic this year. How sure are they? Pretty sure: NOAA is giving it an 85% chance of being an above-normal season.” But what does “above-normal” mean here?

  • Read through the 2024 Hurricane Season Forecast from The Climate Reality Project.
  • Check out some Hurricane Season + Climate Change Fast Facts from 350 New Orleans.
  • The Storm Zine Project is a joyful and informative 64-page zine, with pieces from 30+ LGBTQ folks of all ages and genders. In preparation for hurricane season, Imagine Water Works wrote (and drew, painted, recorded, cooked, photographed) “love notes” to this place and to our LGBTQ community, incorporating storm prep tips throughout.

Climate and Environmental Justice Events

  • Common Ground Relief is hosting one last ambitious planting of the season today, July 9th. Meet the CGR crew at Big Branch NWR for a planting of marsh grass on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain with LDAF and airboats! Email volunteer@commongroundrelief.org for more info.
  • Join us at our next Public Meeting on July 11th to hear from General Honore and connect with other local climate and environmental justice activists. General Russel Honoré is a decorated 37-year army veteran, a global authority on leadership, and an expert on climate change and disaster preparedness. In 2012, General Honoré founded the GreenARMY – an alliance of civic, community, and environmental groups and concerned residents from across Louisiana dedicated to winning meaningful change. General Honoré and the GreenARMY are leading the fight to protect our air, water, coastlines, and communities from environmental disasters. Stop by the next 350 New Orleans public meeting to listen to what General Honore and the GreenARMY have to say about water issues in our area.
  • Green Drinks is THE meetup for folks and orgs involved in the climate or climate adjacent space here in the Southeast Louisiana region committed to protecting our planet and its resources. The next Green Drinks meetup is happening on July 31st at 5:30pm at the Jazz Museum. Learn from the many cool folks putting in the work for Mother Earth! 🌎

Local Climate + Environmental Justice News and Updates

New research reveals levels of ethylene oxide more than 1,000 times above previous measurements. Researchers at Johns Hopkins captured real-time data on air pollution emissions in Cancer Alley, which runs between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The data demonstrates levels of cancer-causing petrochemical ethylene oxide more than nine times higher than pollution modeling used by the Environmental Protection Agency and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

Communities neighboring petrochemical facilities are at an unjust and disproportionate risk for cancer and other health issues from ethylene oxide, which is a volatile organic compound used as a petrochemical feedstock to create commercial chemicals. Pollution from petrochemical plants expose nearby households to toxic emissions and increase rates of cancer, respiratory disease, and other life-threatening conditions. These exposures disproportionately impact people of color and low-income communities in Louisiana, Texas, and the Ohio River Valley – the hubs of petrochemical manufacturing in the United States.

  • Want to learn more about petrochemicals? Start here.

What is Cancer Alley? And where is it?

Cancer Alley refers to an approximately 85-mile stretch of communities along the banks of the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, where communities exist side by side with some 200 fossil fuel and petrochemical operations. The fossil fuel and petrochemical industry in the Louisiana area has devastated the health, lives, and environment of residents, creating what experts are calling a “sacrifice zone”. Pollution from these operations directly contributes to elevated rates and risks of maternal, reproductive, and newborn health harms, cancer, and respiratory ailments.

Cancer alley represents some of the nation’s harshest structural and historical inequities. Due to the fact that minority residents across the country are more likely to live in housing near chemical pollutants, the conditions that cancer alley residents face are disproportionally common throughout predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods in the United States.

  • Read more about how an overburdened community is uniting against Big Oil’s next big play in Cancer Alley Rises Up.
  • Meet the Louisiana sisters (and one of 350 New Orleans’ Board Members) who took their fight against big industry in ‘Cancer Alley’ to court — and won. Read the article.

Community Spotlight

Founded in 1992, the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice is dedicated to improving the lives of community members of all ages who are harmed by pollution and vulnerable to climate change, through research and policy studies, community and student engagement to impact policy change, and health and safety training for environmental careers.

Dr. Beverly Wright, Founder and Executive Director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ), released a statement following the recent announcement of the federal approval of Venture Global’s LNG project in Cameron Parish. Read the statement.

You might have heard about environmental racism. What about environmental homophobia? Climate change exacerbates existing disparities among individuals and communities. According to a new report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, same-sex couples have a significant risk of exposure to the adverse effects of climate change — wildfires, floods, smoke-filled skies, drought, etc. — compared to straight couples.

Recommended Reading

Climate action must be intersectional. The Intersectional Environmentalist examines the inextricable link between environmentalism, racism, and
privilege, and promotes awareness of the fundamental truth that we cannot save the planet without uplifting the voices of its people – especially those most often unheard. Written by IE founder Leah Thomas featuring excerpts from over 20 activists and educators. It’s been adopted into classrooms around the U.S., selected as the common experience read for UCLA in 2022, and continues to serve as an introduction for intersectional environmentalism.


About 350 New Orleans

350 New Orleans is a volunteer climate activist group connecting our region to the international climate crisis movement led by 350.org. Our mission is to lend support to initiatives in New Orleans that raise consciousness and promote sound policy around the climate crisis. We exist because the climate crisis poses unprecedented threats to life, and coastal Louisiana is especially vulnerable.

Interested in joining the movement? Sign up for a coffee date or join us at our next Public Meeting! Stay connected by following us on Facebook and Instagram.