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A transition to renewable energy in America will have a multiplier effect beyond merely reducing our emissions. . As Jennie Stephens, a Professor at Northeastern University, told Yale Climate Connections, this transition can also create positive social change in other arenas. In her words, “We really need to think about…connecting climate and energy with other issues that people wake up every day really worried about, whether it be jobs, housing, transportation, health, and well-being.” To make these connections, she notes, “a more inclusive, diverse leadership is essential.”
As we build a greener future, we must work to ensure that we’re not recreating systems that deny people of color equity and sovereignty just with cleaner energy sources.
Why This Matters: Activists have long noted that climate justice is social justice, and cannot be separated from the myriad of other issues of inequality it intersects with. But often, as many sources have noted, climate advocacy and sustainable energy groups employ “homogenous” and “insular” hiring practices, which lead to the phenomena of the “green ceiling”.
A Deeper Issue: This lack of diversity and marginalization of BIPOC voices within the climate sector looms large. As Jason Carney, a solar installer, told All Things Considered,“Going into [a] boardroom, I’m the only person of color. We go to these conferences, and I’m the only person of color. We go to the U.S. Green Building Council — the local chapter — and of 200 people, it might be me and maybe one other person of color. It was very intimidating.”
But the onus of changing the system cannot fall only on people of color. We all must work to create a more just and equitable system. That means, as Lyn Griffith Taylor argues, a “real commitment– and real courage– from the often homogenous senior leadership of big green groups to curtail the insular hiring practices that cut off opportunities for people of color.”
A seat at the table is, of course, not a cure-all in the fight to undo centuries of structural racism in environmentalism. But, to quote Lyn Griffith Taylor, “I fear that without diverse leadership representing the experiences of communities most impacted by energy injustice, the clean energy transition will fall short of its progressive goals.”
Last month, 50,000 images from 90 countries entered National Geographic’s 2021 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. Among the many breathtaking photos of a living planet fighting against climate change, a winner has finally been chosen. French underwater photographer Laurent Ballesta has been awarded Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021 for his photo of […]
The Fossil Fuel Resistance is in Washington, D.C. October 11-15, 2021#PeopleVsFossilFuels pic.twitter.com/BsnJsujRFe — Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) (@CJAOurPower) October 11, 2021 On Monday, Indigenous Peoples’ Day, hundreds of people marched to the White House to demand the President and Congress step up efforts to combat climate change. The rally was organized by the Build Back Fossil […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer According to new research published in the journal Nature Climate Change, at least 85% of the global population feels the impacts of human-induced climate change. The study evaluated more than 100,000 studies of events that could be linked to climate change, like crop failures, alongside temperature and precipitation changes caused by carbon emissions. The results […]
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