Search below for resources covering the intersection of climate engagement, social science and data analytics.
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Community Ownership of Solar with Cleveland Owns
In Cleveland, OH, the nonprofit Cleveland Owns is incubating the state's first community-owned solar developer, Cleveland Solar Cooperative, which was the subject of a recent case study funded by the Climate Advocacy Lab.
On the call, organizers shared lessons learned, their motivations to keep at this work, and best practices for groups around the country working to build community-owned solar arrays. The insights shared in this webinar will inform advocates working to start community-owned solar projects, provide practical tips for groups building relationships with the goal of taking action for climate justice, and introduce attendees to a national network of organizations that support projects like this around the country.
Field Catalyst Origin Stories: Lessons for Systems-Change Leaders
Solving complex social problems offers unique challenges—here are lessons from “social-change makers” for fellow leaders. First, a critical step to build trust is to center the voices and perspectives of those most affected by inequitable systems themselves. Second, given constraints in human capacity, consider experimenting by hiring differently, deploying talent differently, and surrounding yourself with people who think differently than you. Third, measure your impact—use principles that center equity and learning, track the state of the field’s development, monitor your progress, and don’t forget the health of your own organization. Fourth, be sure to find balance between long-term visioning and planning and short-term action.
Equitable Systems Change: Funding Field Catalysts from Origins to Revolutionizing the World
Even with modest beginnings, “systems-change organizations” seek world-changing outcomes. But solving complex social problems is uniquely challenging. This resource surveyed “field catalysts” aiming for systems change across a variety of issues, including health equity, gender-based violence, climate change, and education. It found that their work could be accelerated with the right support from funders. Because these organizations consistently punch far above their weight, 87% of field catalysts believe they would achieve their systems-change goals within just two decades if provided the necessary resources and consistent support. This resource also profiles some organizations, including IllumiNative, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, South African National AIDS Council, Community Solutions, Health Care Without Harm, Movement for Black Lives, Families and Workers Fund, and more.
Using Radical Re-Imagination to Create a Vision for Our Future
Stories like Wakanda Forever demonstrate the level of violence that colonization, conquest, and genocide have caused throughout generations—and how we can overcome them. When we think about the future of technology and social innovation, we need to do so through an alternative lens, just like in Wakanda Forever, and believe in a future where everyone has the talent, vision, and access to build projects that are sustainable and beneficial to all. We need to visualize a world rooted in abundance that rejects the idea that Blackness and Indigeneity must continue to be considered nonexistent in the Americas. Creating a new vision is just the start. We also must ask ourselves what this fictional speculation about our futures means for us today, especially those of us in positions to influence philanthropic resources for communities of color. It is our responsibility to be proactive about centering those intersecting narratives and debunk the myth that innovation and creativity come only from those who can access or understand the latest technology or benefit from proximity to centers of innovation and power.
How to beat the ‘fracking frenzy’ — lessons from the campaign that ended fracking in Ireland
The successful Irish anti-fracking struggle offers key insights on community power building for anti-extraction movements all over the world. In 2017, community activists in Ireland mobilized a grassroots movement that forced the state to revoke fracking company Tamboran’s license and ban fracking. The first step towards defeating Tamboran in Ireland was building a movement rooted in the local community. Out of this experience, five key “rooting strategies” for local organizing emerged — showing how the resistance developed a strong social license and built community power. First, build from and on relationships. Second, foster ‘two-way’ community engagement. Third, celebrate community. Fourth, connect to culture. Fifth, build networks of solidarity. Four key political strategies include: find strategic framings; demonstrate resistance; engage politicians before regulators; focus on the parliament.
#BlackClimateWeek Reading List 2023
Black authors have told stories of the origins and consequences of environmental injustices, given us the richest and most comprehensive collection of poems about nature, and reimagined the future. The Solutions Project is excited to share recommendations to add to your reading list in February and all of the other months of the year. Readings include “The Intersectional Environmentalist” by Leah Thomas, “Black Joy: Stories of Resistance, Resilience, and Restoration” by Tracey Micha’el Lewis-Giggetts, “Becoming Abolitionists” by Derecka Purnell, “An Abolitionist’s Handbook” by Patrisse Cullors, and “Madam C.J. Walker’s Gospel of Giving” by Tyrone McKinley Freeman.
Plan a Winning Fly-in
Successfully meeting with policymakers requires a few key steps. The group trying to meet with their representative must select a priority issue (or issues), recruit the correct people (and a lot of them) to attend the meeting, properly schedule the meeting ahead of time, prepare the advocates in the room, and follow up with the representative’s office after the meeting. This webinar details all of these ingredients.
The North Star State has a new North Star: 100 percent clean electricity by 2040. Minnesota joined 10 other states, along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, in creating laws that require a transition to 100 percent carbon-free electricity—highlighting a trend of state-level action to act on climate, create local jobs, lower energy costs, and reduce deadly pollution. MN Representative Jamie Long, Majority Leader of the Minnesota House, and advocacy group Fresh Energy executive director Michael Noble played key roles in making 100 percent clean electricity the law of the land in the state. This resource includes an interview with them about the process leading to this new Minnesota policy. A big coalition of interest groups supportive of this policy was necessary for its passage. The bill passed full Democratic support and zero Republican support. The coalition included small business, families, family-supporting jobs and labor and trade unions, environmental justice groups, environmental groups, and traditional advocates for renewable energy.
Harnessing the enormous untapped power of celebrity to help social movements
Building on the long legacy of activist entertainers, here are five ways movements for justice and famous supporters can partner to promote change. First, celebrities and movements can make better political endorsements together: they can look to social justice organizations for guidance as to which candidates have listened to them and committed to processes to govern in the best interest of their communities. Second, celebrities can amplify trigger events, which can draw people with no prior interest or experience in politics into mass protests. Third, celebrities can boost organizing campaigns, especially at pivotal campaign junctures. Fourth, celebrities can expand the Overton window by lending their support to causes and movements that exist outside of current norms, and thereby work to expand the bounds of public acceptance. Fifth, they can fuel boycotts by putting extra pressure on corporations.
What determines the success of movements today?
New research from the Social Change Lab offers key insights into the three main factors that lead to protest wins. First, nonviolent tactics are more likely to lead to successful outcomes relative to violent outcomes—experts consulted were reasonably confident that violence is a less effective approach and the literature supported their view. Second, size of protests is really key, with better-attended protests meaning a higher chance of policy changes and other desired outcomes. Third, favorable sociopolitical context like pre-existing public opinion, the response of the media, whether there are elites (like politicians or celebrities) who support the cause, as well as blind luck are helpful for facilitating successful political outcomes.