Challenging Injustice, Advancing Human Rights

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.

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The Lowlander Center

Based in the Louisiana bayous, The Lowlander Center is dedicated to finding community-based solutions for living with an ever-changing coastline and land loss to climate change, while visioning a future that builds capacity and resilience for place and people.

The Lowlander Center works with Isle de Jean Charles community members, most of whom are descended from the Biloxi, Chitimacha, and Choctaw tribes, to develop a resettlement plan for the island, which has lost 98% of its land and most of its population to rising sea levels.

“It is essential that the rights of humans and the environment be central to the resettlement of communities. If we are to live into a future that will provide sustainability for this earthly family, human and non-human, we will have to find different ways of organization and living. We hope that we can contribute one small piece to this process with our work and this grant. We are honored and humbled.” – Kristina Peterson, The Lowlander Center director and facilitator

UUSC supports the Lowlander Center’s work on an adaptation tool developed for communities, including Isle de Jean Charles, who are faced with the difficult decision to relocate because of climate-induced land erosion and other environmental challenges. This “best-practice” matrix includes human rights tenets, such as the right to an adequate standard of living and the rights of indigenous peoples to be actively involved in the development of social programs that affect them. It also includes sound environmental practices integrated into the community’s re-development plans, including the use of native plant species, renewable energy sources, and sustainability practices. The Lowlander Center also hopes to pilot innovative solutions to help communities secure land and empower those who must resettle to lead their relocation.

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