Hurricane Harvey: Union of Concerned Scientists partners on the ground need help ASAP

Received on Friday from the Union of Concerned Scientists:

Since last week, we at the Union of Concerned Scientists have been working to provide reliable, science-based information about storm preparedness and flood risk to people in the path of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction.

We have worked and developed close relationships in this region, and we believe it’s our human duty to do what we can right now–not just for our partners, supporters, friends, and family in the Gulf Coast but for everyone affected.

For several years, UCS has worked hand in hand with an organization called Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (T.E.J.A.S.). With them, we have analyzed the risks to communities living near industrial facilities and provided information in an accessible form to residents. We brought together science experts and Houston community members to raise awareness about environmental justice issues and provide greater scientific support to efforts to mitigate some of the very same risks people in Houston are facing now as flood waters breach chemical facilities and refineries that line the Gulf Coast.

T.E.J.A.S. is in it for the long haul. Recovery from this disaster will take years, and poor communities and communities of color will bear the greatest burden. So today I’m writing to encourage you to make a donation to support T.E.J.A.S. to help in the recovery efforts.

T.E.J.A.S. has always been clear about the connections between global warming, increased flooding, race, and poverty. Last year we collaborated on a report, Double Jeopardy in Houston(1), showing how people of color and people in poverty live closer to chemical facilities and face the greatest chemical risks. And now, over the past few days more than a million pounds of emissions from the oil refineries and chemical plants that border their communities have been released into the Houston air(2). Meanwhile, the city has shut down its chemical monitoring stations as floodwaters rise, leaving residents without a critical safeguard(3) and explosions at chemical facilities have already been reported(4).

We will continue to see these things happen around the world. Global warming’s consequences are well understood: rising ocean temperatures can cause more intense hurricanes(5), and higher sea levels cause devastating storm surges(6). Even as we speak, massive floods in South Asia have caused more than 1,000 deaths (7). People in many parts of the world are suffering, dying, or losing their homes and businesses because of the effects of global warming. Entire communities are being abandoned because of it.

Please help the people most impacted by Hurricane Harvey and our partner organization in Houston with a donation today. If you are interested in helping other hard hit, under-resourced groups, you can find a list of small scale organizations here.

Thank you for your generosity during this catastrophe. UCS will continue to support our partners engaged in recovery efforts and to ensure that people on the ground have access to the scientific information they need to handle this crisis.


Kathleen Rest, PhD, MPA

Executive Director

P.S. Feel free pass along these resources:


Juan Parras of t.e.j.a.s to speak at the National GreenLatinos Summit – May 24 – 27

This was received by email from GreenLatinos.

This promises to be a wonderful conference, and includes a presentation by Juan Parras, leader of t.e.j.a.s., one of the most effective EJ organizations in the US and a member of the Moving Forward Network.

GreenLatinos is excited to announce that Juan Parras, a key leader in environmental justice advocacy will be a presenting speaker at the 2016 National GreenLatinos Summit!

Juan Parras is the Director and founder of Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (t.e.j.a.s), he has been organizing environmental justice communities since the signing of executive order 12898 in 1994. Before then, Juan served as a community outreach coordinator, an international union representative for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union (AFSCME), and as a Community organizer and Project Coordinator at the Environmental Law and Justice Center at Texas Southern University. One of his most dramatic successes was his campaign to prevent a Japanese company from building the largest polyvinyl chloride plant in Louisiana in an already overburdened and impoverished minority community.

Juan was a member of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, and has served on many other boards such as the Gulf Restoration Network, National Childhood Lead Prevention Program, and the Center for Health and Environmental Justice (CHEJ). He has served as an environmental justice Ambassador for the Gulf of Mexico Alliance. In 2008, Juan received the CEC Synergy Award and the Sealy Center for Environmental Health & Medicine HERO Award in 2009. Mr. Parras is one of the first recipients of the Sierra Club’s Robert Bullard Award in 2015. Juan know works on addressing environmental injustice in the East End of Houston, as a mentor to the youth working along with him to build an inter-generational movement to build a wider network of Environmental Justice leaders in Houston.

Scheduled for May 24-27, the 2016 National GreenLatinos Summit is right around the corner!

Please make your reservations as soon as possible, you can register for the conference at

By participating in the 2016 National GreenLatinos Summit, you will serve as an integral voice in shaping a collective agenda for action over the next several years.  From networking opportunities with leaders and professionals in environmental and Latino policy and advocacy, nationally renowned speakers and key administration and agency officials, substantive and engaging discussion on the latest information on federal public policy initiatives affecting communities, to tools and resources that can be taken back to the local level that will propel your existing work on environmental issues. We have no doubt that your participation will be invaluable, both to the GreenLatinos Network and to your organizations and communities.
We hope to see you there!
Chris Espinosa