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Growing the global movement for grassroots land and environmental justice

What we’re fighting for

We are grassroots justice advocates who are fighting for communities, especially those who have been systemically harmed or marginalized, to have the power to govern their lands and neighborhoods, and the power to lead the transition to a sustainable economy. 

We are walking with communities directly impacted by environmental and climate injustice to know, use, and shape the law, to address the harms they are experiencing and to build a better future. Through the Grassroots Justice Network, we are combining our efforts to create change together that we can’t accomplish alone.

By learning from each other, grassroots environmental justice groups can become more rigorous and effective. By coming together across our specific contexts and working as a united movement, we can change the systems that make environmental injustices persist.

Click here to see the movement vision (available in Françias, Español, and English) put together by those leading the coordination of the network’s work on land and environmental justice.

What this work looks like

Our partners and the communities we work with are sharing what they are learning from carbon markets, which are often highly technical and exclusionary. We are bringing together a cross-section of actors impacted by these markets, building common understanding across areas of contestation, and seeding potential collaboration around which stakeholders can continue to organize. Learn more about a roundtable that we convened here.

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In Sierra Leone, paralegals and communities working with Namati have taken on over 500 instances of land or environmental injustice in the last decade - land grabs, unlawful pollution, heedless destruction. Connecting across those specific struggles, paralegals and communities fought for, and won, two of the most progressive laws on land, climate, and environmental justice in the world. To learn more about this victory, watch this video.

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We are calling international bodies - such as the UNFCCC - to center impacted communities in initiatives that primarily affect them. For example, our Network is calling on the UNFCCC to design a grievance mechanism that prioritizes the needs and access of communities impacted by carbon markets. Read our latest communication to the Supervisory Body about the grievance mechanism and the sustainable development tool.

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Each one wants to save their own patch of the earth. We’ve been trying our best and it’s not working, so now we’re bringing our voices collectively, because in our own different countries people are destroying the world. We’re coming together to say: ‘This has to stop.’


Sonkita Conteh

Director Namati Sierra Leone

On a personal level, being part of the LEJ movement reenergizes you, brings you to the same space with others fighting land and environmental injustice, and gives you more ideas and gives you an opportunity to step back and reflect on your work, and see if there are other ways you can make an impact for people’s land and environmental rights.

Nyaradzo Mutonhori

Program Manager, Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association

The fight we are fighting is not just about us, it’s about Mother Earth. So we need to mobilize all our communities…and we fight on the ground and we fight in the courts.

Nonhle Mbuthuma

Paralegal, Natural Justice

Communities know their territories better than anyone. They have ancestral ties. They know how the systems where they live work. So if we really need new solutions and new approaches to this complex problem…[of the] climate crisis, the communities need to be a relevant and protagonist part of these new decisions.

Felipe Pino

Coordinador de Proyectos - ONG FIMA

If our farmers don’t have land, or the lands are grabbed by companies or by the government, they will not have something to live for. I have been involved for quite a long time in this work, and I can see the difference in how the system and policies change through legal empowerment and action research.

Rahkma Mary

Senior Researcher and Knowledge Management Expert, YLBHI


How you can be involved

Shared learning.

Our network members have seen big gains in their work through peer learning about how to build power within their communities to support land and environmental justice. If you are pursuing grassroots environmental justice, we would be honored to have you join us. Sign up to receive our newsletter to hear about upcoming virtual and in person learning exchanges and make sure you are up to date in the Environmental Justice category in our Community Forum.

Collective action.

We see common patterns of exploitation—and opportunity—across rich countries and poor, urban places and rural ones. We are coming together across our borders to fight for new, better norms of governance that can accelerate a just transition to a sustainable way of life. In particular, we have subgroups for corporate accountability, climate finance, and community engagement. You can sign up to become a member (forms available in Spanish, French, and English).


We gain strength and energy by hearing stories of success and challenges from other network members. We also support one another when one of our network members is under threat. Follow us to hear network member stories and know how your support can help keep each other safer, or join our movement-wide calls happening every quarter.