Search below for resources covering the intersection of climate engagement, social science and data analytics.
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In state elections up and down the ballot in the 2022 midterm elections, we saw a Green Wave of environmental champions. In 2018, new Governors came into office ready to pass major clean energy and environmental legislation, and nearly all of them won reelection in 2022. In Maryland and Massachusetts, new candidates who championed 100% clean energy with major plans for their first year in office won. In Minnesota and Michigan, voters elected new pro-environmental legislative majorities who we expect to hit the ground running with major climate and clean water bills. This resource describes election results for governor, state legislature, other state offices, and ballot initiatives and referenda.
Climate change is largely absent in scripted entertainment—but there are ways for entertainment creators to improve. Just 2.8% of all scripts included any climate-related keywords, and only 0.6% of scripted TV and films mentioned the specific term “climate change.” When extreme weather events are mentioned, they are rarely linked to climate change (10%). Similarly, when climate change is mentioned, it is rarely discussed alongside the fossil fuel industry (12%) or individual climate actions (8%). And yet, there is audience demand for climate portrayals. Survey respondents believe the average American is less concerned about the climate crisis than they are personally. Still, they retain hope. Those who are hopeful about climate solutions are 3.5 times more likely to say they want to see climate portrayals in fictional entertainment. To improve climate references in mainstream entertainment, consider climate in all genres, connect the dots between climate causes and effects, give voice to climate anxiety, show the intersections between climate and other issues, and promote various climate actions.
Climate justice for Latino Americans means centering policies that achieve environmental, energy, and economic justice together. Latino/a/x households pay disproportionately high energy costs, low-income, Latino/a/x households and communities have so far been left behind in the transition to clean energy, and Latino/a/x workers need a pathway to clean energy jobs. Therefore, we need to invest with justice in clean energy, accelerate the transition to renewable energy (i.e., wind, solar, geothermal and small-scale hydropower), and advance economic equity and opportunity for Latino/a/x workers. This resource further details these problems and policy and political solutions, as related to transit, jobs, fossil fuel drilling, climate adaptation, clean water, voting rights, conservation, and more.
California activists paved the way for defining climate change as an air pollution problem—now it's federal law. Connecting climate change with something visceral and dangerous brings more immediacy to a problem that’s often seen as unfolding far away or in the future, even though it’s causing suffering now. “Climate pollution” is becoming common on the websites of green groups and atop news stories. It wasn’t always a popular move to link global warming with air quality. Environmental justice activists in California tried to popularize the phrase “climate pollution” starting around 2012. Framing climate change as an air quality problem is good persuasion strategy (as research shows), and it also validates long-standing concerns from communities that are threatened by industrial pollution.
Intersectional coalition organizing by groups against Amazon may provide lessons for climate groups looking to enhance their coalitional power. Make affirmative community demands. Coordinate local and national organizing toward a unified objective. Adjust priorities, objectives, and tactics to achieve wins—while remaining true to the movement’s values. Connect across issue areas and sectors. Support worker organizing across diverse locations and segments of Amazon. Build upon investigations to break up Amazon and other big tech companies.
Building long-lasting grassroots power requires centering concrete issues and the humanity of individuals you’re organizing. Many organizations in West Virginia are cultivating organizers, building organizations that can sustainably organize local communities according to their needs for years to come, incorporating mutual aid, and more, in an effort to win and wield political power. In this article, The Forge contributor Mat Hanson discussed organizational strategies with multiple people involved in grassroots power building in West Virginia: Katey Lauer, co-chair of West Virginia Can’t Wait; Nicole McCormick, a founding member of the West Virginia United caucus and rank-and-file leader in the successful teacher’s strike; Dr. Shanequa Smith of Restorative Actions and the Black Voters Impact Initiative; and Joe Solomon, the co-founder and co-director of Solutions Oriented Addiction Response (SOAR), a volunteer-based organization that advocates for harm-reduction strategies to the opioid crisis.
Ruptural moments are key to long-term movement victories. Ruptural moments by themselves rarely lead to substantive changes in people’s material conditions or the dismantling of the status quo; they need to be situated within a dynamic movement ecosystem. In a ruptural moment, thousands or hundreds of thousands of people hit the streets. Second, participants are willing to engage in a huge escalation of risk. Third, ruptural moments open a window into a change in thinking — opening the eyes of a society to the fact that a dictatorship is fragile or that Indigenous sovereignty must be respected or that Black folks have a different lived experience than white folks. In other words, in changing how space or public order works, ruptural moments contest the story of the dominant culture. Movement organizers can create ruptural moments by working for months in a disciplined way to achieve the scale necessary for something major to happen, or by a smaller group of organizers attempting something bold, enabling it to scale as others are captivated by the boldness of the tactic or demand and launch copycat actions or undergird the movement. And sometimes, unexpected events just happen that create ruptures.
Historic Environmental Justice Victory: City of Los Angeles is creating a pathway to phase out existing oil and gas wells
Residents, community organizations, and health care practitioners organized for over a decade to protect the health of residents on the front lines of urban oil extraction in L.A. In January 2022, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to draft an ordinance to prohibit all new oil and gas drilling and to phase out existing drilling operations throughout the City of Los Angeles. This resource is based on an interview with Wendy Miranda (she/they), a community leader with Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) and resident, about the historic victory. The organizing strategy to get this victory involved various lobbying efforts, rallies, press conferences, petition collections, a wide range of community/organization endorsements, phone banking, and social media outreach. Overall, frontline residents providing public comments and sharing their personal experiences were some of the strongest and most powerful tactics. STAND L.A. will continue to be part of the process to help draft an ordinance and direct the City of Los Angeles on how to lead a genuine community participation process. Miranda shares that this victory is proof that frontline communities can lead the change toward a just, equitable transition to a clean energy future.
New Orleans is in the midst of a green infrastructure revolution. In smaller neighborhoods like Hoffman Triangle, residents are leading the way, house by house, block by block. Year-round, New Orleanians deal with a chronic kind of inundation researchers vaguely call “urban flooding.” The goal of “nature-based” (green infrastructure) solutions is to reduce the pressure on pipes and pumps by using landscaping to slow the flow of water. Projects can store water so it soaks into the soil or slowly flows into a storm drain at a rate the system can handle. Plants can also absorb water into their roots, leaching out pollutants in the process. They also come with various added benefits like improved water quality, mosquito control, and increased open space to cool the sweltering Louisiana air. The Urban Conservancy is one organization in particular doing lots of work on nature-based infrastructure in New Orleans.
This new series at The Forge will engage organizers with a deceptively simple question: what’s your power analysis? Powerful actors and institutions are creating and purposefully maintaining unjust political and economic systems for their own benefit. This article series aims for sharper and more shared approaches and language across our movements for describing, measuring, and analyzing power. In this series, this author will talk to organizers and movement leaders — including Doran Schrantz of Faith in Minnesota, Andrea Mercado of Florida Rising, leaders at the New Georgia Project Action Fund, and others from across the progressive movement — about the power analysis that guides their work and their organizations, the power they’re trying to build and exercise, how it’s going, and how they know.