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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.”
In New Zealand, the votes from their election over the weekend are tallied and Labour Party Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern notched a huge victory — the biggest for her Party since 1996. She received a mandate with the support of a majority in Parliament, and delivered the first 30 seconds of her victory address was […]
President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, created a bit of controversy during her nomination hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week when she called climate change itself “controversial.”
Why This Matters: Judge Barrett many questions with the same refrain — she refused to discuss her “policy” views on questions as obvious as do “poll watchers” who are armed intimidate voters, whether birth control should be decriminalized, or if same-sex marriage should be allowed.
This week we salute Betty Reid Soskin, who at 99 is the nation’s oldest park ranger. She works at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California, and has since her mid-80s. She began her involvement while the park was still being planned. Betty is Black and worked […]
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