Search below for resources covering the intersection of climate engagement, social science and data analytics.
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Asian Americans have long been excluded from the national climate movement, activists and scientists told Axios. Asian Americans across the country are working to change that legacy of omission by leading climate organizations, protests and research. Climate justice activist Alexia Leclercq, who is Taiwanese with Indigenous ancestry, tells Axios that growing up in Texas, "upper class, white, mostly men" were always depicted as scientists or environmentalists. Although representation has "somewhat improved," Leclercq says the larger Asian American community is still "not included" in leadership within these spaces.
In this Upstream Indisposable podcast episode, host Priscilla Johnson talks with Just Transition Alliance Executive Director José Bravo about building grassroots power and bringing restorative justice to frontline communities. José says, “There is nothing like knocking on somebody’s door and having a conversation, and building community. That’s super important because you start to understand that there are people who think like you, and there are people who understand where things should be.” Later, he describes how “There’s been a lot of game-changing solutions. In particular, when we’re talking about exposure to chemicals, I think that there are communities that are over-impacted by the exposure to chemicals. There’s communities that have literally the extraction of what will later become a chemical, the production of that chemical, the use of that chemical, and then later the disposal of that chemical. So, in communities of color and low-income communities in the United States in this case, we see that chemicals keep on giving at different parts of the cycle of production and use. And I think for us, it’s about forming local economies to scale.”
The protests in Atlanta against "Cop City" build on a history of organizers challenging prison construction as a force for environmental destruction. In defiance of the ongoing protests, the police and their contractors have started to cut down the forest, and the future of the encampment remains unclear. The campaign against Cop City is simultaneously an objection to building a new center for police training and a campaign to defend the Weelaunee Forest. The activists fighting against Cop City argue that police violence itself constitutes an environmental hazard, and that toxic chemicals associated with explosives that could be used on the site will destroy the air, water, and land on which myriad forms of life depend.
Relying on the private sector to decarbonize is a recipe for abandoning workers. The uncertain labor conditions of the Inflation Reduction Act make it all the more important that labor and climate organizers remain engaged with the process of implementing the new law. State and local organizing can also be more effective in bridging the tension between fossil fuel workers and climate policies. In addition to state and local organizing, another logical step to strengthen labor-climate advocacy is for more environmental and climate organizations to support legislative reforms to make organizing easier, such as the PRO Act. Ending fossil fuel use will require building power through multi-issue, broad-based coalitions—we are stronger together.
Voters overwhelmingly support the clean energy transition, including clean energy projects in their own communities. Key messaging and language findings include the resonance of “clean energy jobs,” connecting H.R. 1 to Big Oil CEOs, and making sure that “no community is left behind”. 79% of voters support building new power lines in their community that transmit electricity generated by clean energy. 78% of voters support building new solar panel farms in their community. 77% of voters agree with this statement: “We don’t have to choose between building our economy and protecting our environment. We can do both.” 73% of voters support building new wind turbines in their community. 72% of voters agree with the statement that “as we move to clean energy, we need to make sure that no community is left behind, including the communities of color that have been harmed the most by pollution from fossil fuels.” 67% of voters agree that the U.S. government should take strong action to combat climate change.
The effects of climate change on public health couldn’t be clearer. The 10 hottest years on record have all occurred since 2010. In fact, 2022 marked the eighth year in a row that average global temperatures were 34 degrees higher than pre-industrial (1850-1900) average temperatures. Rising sea levels, compromised air and water quality, and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events all speak to the stark reality that the climate is changing. Drought and excessive rainfall offer stark examples of how climate change affects public health. This can lead to rising prices, which can exacerbate food insecurity and lead to malnutrition. Air pollution can cause temporary irritation to the eyes and respiratory tract and trigger asthma attacks. However, air pollution can have much longer-lasting health effects as well: Once in the bloodstream, these harmful substances can circulate through the whole body, causing inflammation, suppressing the immune system, and disrupting the ability of biological systems to detoxify. Severe storms, such as hurricanes and blizzards, pose immediate dangers to affected communities. Compared to an average of two heat waves occurring every year in the 1960s, today, an average of six occur every year. Education, preparation and monitoring, identification and monitoring, and climate adaptation and resilience plans are key to responding to climate public health threats.
Voters support the core climate and environmental provisions in President Biden’s proposed budget. 60% of voters say that President Biden’s proposed investments in American manufacturing of clean energy technologies should remain in the budget, while just 25% want to cut these investments. 59% of voters say that President Biden’s proposed investments to reduce energy costs by investing in clean energy and weatherization should remain in the budget, while just 27% want to cut these investments. 56% of voters say that President Biden’s proposed investments to cut plastic and air pollution (especially in at-risk communities) should remain in the budget, while just 28% want to cut these investments. 55% of voters say that President Biden’s proposed investments in clean energy infrastructure in rural communities should remain in the budget, while just 29% want to cut these investments.
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.
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.