Luis Soil FactoryThere are many local and national organizations and coalitions working hard to transform U.S. cities and towns through a combination of policies which simultaneously advance social justice and climate justice.  Here are just a few:

Emerald Cities takes a “high road” approach to greening cities, aiming to make them more sustainable, resilient in the face of climate change, economically just and democratic.  Staff work with government officials, non-profit groups, unions, and the business community to help advance particular policy projects in particular locales.  They offer various toolkits on-line and have recently unveiled a new program to work with cities on facilitating building electrification, a strategy mentioned in this podcast.

Democracy Collaborative sees as its mission building a democratic economy – one which promotes racial justice, economic equity, and a sustainable planet. They describe themselves as a “research and development lab” which addresses financing, business development, and public policy. One major example of site-specific work has been the creation of Evergreen Coops in Cleveland, a set of interrelated cooperative businesses which address local healthy food needs, enable returned citizens to find much needed jobs and own their own homes -- thus reviving a troubled neighborhood, and build clean local energy sources.

NAACP’s Environment and Climate Justice Program team conduct trainings for local and state NAACP chapters and leaders on issues such as energy justice, reducing harmful emissions, and community resilience. They also have a sustainable buildings initiative. For training and other resources:

Reinvest in Our Power (RiOP) A project of the Climate Justice Alliance which is a network of 74 rural and urban frontline communities committed to a just transition to a healthy, equitable, sustainable economy and society.  RiOP works on the other side of fossil fuel divestment campaigns – what to do with the freed up money (and possibly land) to transform frontline communities. They have a national Just Transition Loan Fund and specific investment opportunities in particular towns and cities.;

[Image: Luis Aguirre-Torres (second from left), director of sustainability for the City of Ithaca, NY, meets with Cornell University scientists, artists, and students at The Soil Factory maker space. Credit: Jon Miller]

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