Climate Justice

Photo by the University of Colorado.

The Challenge

Our cities & states, our country and our globe face two urgent crises: climate change and untenable inequality. We have a choice; we can continue to do things as they have been done for decades or we can build a cleaner, greener and more equitable society.

Right now, low-income communities and people of color disproportionately bear the burden of pollution and the climate crisis. The communities that struggle to find access to good jobs also become the sites of industrial facilities that emit dangerous pollutants and are those most exposed to failures in our transit and water systems.

Because the impacts of the climate crisis and inequality are felt locally, we are harnessing the power of cities to create change. Cities control important resources that are significant emitters of greenhouse gases—including commercial & residential energy, transportation, water and waste management. We have the power to change how these resources are managed.

As we push cities and states, to invest in cleaner infrastructure, we have the opportunity to address climate change and inequality. By incorporating equity into climate solutions and family-sustaining jobs for low-income residents and people of color into these projects, we can ensure that disadvantaged communities are not left stranded or hit hardest when the inevitable shocks of climate change occur.

Our Approach

It is at the intersection of economic inequality and the climate crisis that Partnership for Working Families is reshaping how local governments think about urban infrastructure to advance a vision of cities that are both cleaner and more equitable. Our network of grassroots advocacy organizations is harnessing the resources controlled by local governments to reduce emissions and inequality. This strategy builds on more than a decade of successes capturing public investment to build power in disenfranchised communities, create good jobs and promote equity.

The Partnership for Working Families is reshaping city infrastructure through:

  • Energy & Electricity – expanding renewable energy on public buildings, incorporating equity into carbon reduction plans, increasing community access to building energy efficiency & renewable energy, creating family sustaining clean energy jobs
  • Transportation – creating equitable transit oriented development that prevents displacement & promoting access to equitable, affordable public transportation
  • Waste Management – developing policy tools to support the expansion of recycling-reliant manufacturing & expanding recycling while creating good green jobs
  • Water Infrastructure – promoting green storm & sewer water systems and creating good green jobs

Publications