How We're Greening America

Submitted by Mary Meade on May 26, 2022
Photo courtesy of WE ACT in New York City.

From the most recent issue of our magazine, Green American.

Renewable Energy Must Advance Equity

This spring, Green America issued a major new report on energy justice: “Calling for a Clean, Just Transition” highlights how companies in the telecommunications sector can move to 100% renewable energy in a way that benefits the communities most harmed by fossil fuels. The report, developed by Green America and Silleck Consulting Services, LLC, builds on the successes of Green America’s Hang Up on Fossil Fuels Campaign, which has moved the telecommunications sector to go from using almost no renewable energy to making some of the largest corporate clean energy purchases in history.

The report outlines the climate crisis and its disproportionate impacts on Black and brown communities, the impacts of the fossil fuel industry on Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities, and how the telecommunications industry can leverage its increasing solar and wind purchases to support jobs for those communities, as well as women workers who are also underrepresented in the sector.

“Sometimes those of us in the clean energy transition movement become so focused on deploying megawatts that we don’t stop to think about who is benefiting,” Olivia Nedd, policy director of the access & equity program at Vote Solar, says in the report. “Who has access to the technical assistance, lawyers, modeling experts? How are these decisions being co-created (or not) with impacted communities? The connection between what people are asking for and the policies being discussed just doesn’t exist.”

In addition to Nedd, the report features experts in the energy justice movement working on the front lines to advance equitable, clean energy initiatives. It concludes with a list of social and environmental justice criteria for telecom companies to include in clean energy contracts to ensure they are rectifying racial, gender, and other inequities resulting from energy production and within the energy sector, reducing environmental harms and supporting workers’ rights.

This summer, Green America will publish part two of the report, which will look at how AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile are doing in regard to the transition to 100% renewable energy and the inclusion of energy justice.

Farmers & Food Companies to Pilot Green America’s Soil Carbon Initiative

Green America is excited to be enrolling the first cohort of farmers and food companies in our Soil Carbon Initiative (SCI) program. SCI is a commitment and certification program designed to drive soil health, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, water quality, climate resiliency, food security, farm profitability, and improved rural community economics.

SCI is the first third-party independently verified, outcomes-based soil-carbon program which is open to every grower and food company. This program was launched in 2019, and developed in collaboration with over 150 partners connected to our Soil and Climate Alliance Network. SCI has dedicated the past two years to technical aspects of soil testing. In March 2022, SCI launched the Go-To-Market program, which includes piloting our soil-carbon Farm Standard with farmers and ranchers across the country.

Farmers and food companies alike are responding enthusiastically to the call. The farmers joining the program, our Founding Farmers, are located across the US and run farms ranging in size from less than 100 acres up to 20,000 acres.

SCI provides multiple benefits to farmers in the pilot while protecting soil health and ensuring that soils act as a climate solution:

  • Information: Access to the world’s best soil health tests that provide real data on soil health progress—and interpretive guidance and planning for the producer’s best next steps, depending on farm goals, since every farm is different.
  • Farm Profitability: Focusing on soil health helps farms reduce input costs and increase profitability.
  • Network: Farmers who are part of the Go-to-Market pilots become part of SCI’s Founding Farmers network to exchange ideas with other farmers—and provide advice to shape the future of SCI.
  • Market: SCI helps farmers get ready for the growing market of companies and consumers looking to connect with farms focusing on soil health and climate outcomes.
  • Label & Verification: Farmers earn the SCI label to verify their progress to companies and consumers.
  • 2022 Financial Benefits: Pilot costs are covered for soil health tests and expert regenerative consultants to help producers develop and implement regenerative farm plans.
  • 2023 and Beyond Financial Benefits: Annual fees will always be waived for members of the SCI Founding Farmers network, and members have first eligibility for the SCI Farm Fund for transition investments and ongoing dividends (starting in 2023).

Raquel Krach at Massa Organics in Glenn, California, said: “Having a solid farm plan is a critical tool that farmers need to succeed with regenerative agriculture. By providing education and guidance, SCI can ensure that farmers who enroll in this program have the best chance to get it right from the start.”

Once Green America completes the pilots with the farmers, we will scale up SCI so more farmers and millions of acres of farmland can make the transition to regenerative agriculture.

Call for Green America Board Candidates!

We are preparing for the fall election of Green America board members. We seek diverse candidates from our membership who are passionate about Green America and our mission to harness economic power for social justice and environmental sustainability.

Our board of directors is a member-elected stakeholder board with representatives elected by individual members, business members, and Green America worker-members. This fall we will elect two seats representing individual members. One seat will be for two years and one seat for three years, beginning January 1, 2023. The board convenes at least quarterly.

If you are interested, email your expression of interest to Fran Teplitz at fteplitz@greenamerica.org by July 1, 2022. Please explain why you wish to serve, along with a description of your involvement with Green America; your actions for environmental sustainability, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion; your background with nonprofit organizations and boards; and any other information about how you could further strengthen Green America’s work.

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