Working People of Color Mobilize for a Green Future

April 20, 2016 -- Partnership for Working Families

Through its Green Justice Coalition, Partnership for Working Familiesy affiliate, Community Labor United (CLU) brings the voices of working class communities of color into Boston’s energy planning process. The group mobilized community members behind green energy projects, while working to ensure that these projects bring access to good local jobs and do not have the unintended consequence of pushing families out of their homes. From working toward a just transition to create good jobs and career pathways for local residents to advocating for greater reliance on renewable energy from the grassroots level, the coalition has played a significant role in pushing the city of Boston and state of Massachusetts toward a low-carbon, equitable green energy future.

 

The Green Justice Coalition unites a wide range of community groups, many of which are not traditionally involved in environmental work, in order to advocate for energy policies that benefit local people and “frontline communities”. The group has won a number of impressive victories. It has worked to ensure that affordable housing gives communities access to low-carbon transportation and has a strong clean energy component, pushed the city to expand solar power on its buildings and helped turn a closed coal plant into a solar garden that will provide good, local jobs. The Green Justice Coalition has also fought for the expansion of community solar (to increase access to solar energy) and lifting the net metering cap (to encourage the construction of more solar energy projects). It has also advocated for a “fix it first” agenda that requires the state to address gas leaks before expanding gas infrastructure.

 

The coalition is now working with communities to create a shared vision for the new clean energy future, and develop just transition plans at sites of three coal-fire power stations and working with Boston public schools to create energy efficiency and green building plans. You can learn more about CLU’s vision for a cleaner, greener, most just Boston here.