Climate Justice

Working for Racial and Economic Justice on a Livable Planet.

Our Vision

We stand for People and the Planet rather than unchecked profit that damages human communities and our earth. We lead our part of the Great Turning away from fossil fuel, pollution, and carbon as we build a solidarity economy that works for all. We fight against environmental racism and dirty energy and for healthy green jobs and renewable, affordable energy. Black, Brown, White, rich or poor, all of us need clean air, water, energy and a stable earth. That’s why we’re building a powerful movement to ensure climate justice.

Contact Us!

Our Analysis

We are heartbroken, we are outraged: we’re not going to stand for politicians and bosses making money for themselves while burdening all the rest of us with an overheating planet, environmental collapse and extreme weather such as floods, hurricanes, storms, and earthquakes that hurt the least advantaged among us the most

We face the disastrous juncture of extreme inequality and climate crisis.

We are also blessed to be in a moment of dramatic potential for transformation. 

Our Strategy

POWER lifts up the moral message that solutions have to work for everyone, for the common good, not just for a privileged few, with faith as our unifying language.

POWER unites people across lines of difference refusing to be divided by race, class or geography. 

POWER builds power in the streets and in the voting booth through relational organizing — “each one reach one.”

The Problem

Fossil fuel extraction and burning run rampant. A few are making money while we all struggle with a scarily changing environment. Hardest hit are Pennsylvania’s low income, immigrant and communities of color which are overrun with toxic fossil fuel such as oil refineries, plastics plants, ash heaps. The cumulative impact of toxic health hazards, added to poverty, racism, and unemployment further disadvantages people already targeted by multiple burdens. These burdens, one added to the next, literally cause different life expectancies based on race and wealth: in privileged zip codes people live twenty years longer than the average in the most impacted places. These are the effects of environmental racism mixed with an unchecked profit-driven economy. We’ve had enough. We won’t take it anymore.

The Opportunity

Because the moment is so urgent, POWER sees a great gateway of opportunity for a just transition to a green, renewable, and inclusive energy economy in Philadelphia, the region, and the state. POWER’s Climate Justice team runs strategic campaigns in Philadelphia and across the state to further a green economy, always centering racial and economic justice. POWER works closely with allies from Faith, Labor, Environment and Justice sectors who align with our Moral Framework, to build strength together.

POWER supports a rising generation of new leaders.

COVID and Climate

The roots of the COVID pandemic and of the climate crisis are the same: the separation of people by fear and division, using racialized violence, all in service of profit rather than care for our lives and our earth.

Right now we are all seeing how racism and economic inequality shape the experience of the pandemic. The virus itself is an equal opportunity danger but who gets sick, which communities are hit hardest and who dies are drastically affected by race and class privilege.

Is this fair? Is this right? Is this how the world should work?

In exactly the same unequal way, different communities are disparately affected by climate crisis. Communities that already have insecure housing, employment, transportation, energy and healthcare are also most threatened by wild weather extremes, overheating, flooding, pollution and are most excluded from having a voice in shaping solutions. When we address the roots of both the pandemic and of climate crisis, we can transform our world.

The Connection Between Climate & COVID

A roundup of articles examining the connection between climate and COVID-19 in the United States and around the world.

Read the articles

I WORK FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE BECAUSE…

“I work for climate justice because our environment is a shared resource that knows no boundaries and connects us all together.”

Nora Elmarzouky
Climate Justice Organizer

I work for climate justice to protect humanity and Mother Earth because that’s what gives life. To sustain life on earth we must have climate justice!

— Russell Hicks
Climate Justice and Jobs Team Co-Chair

“I work for climate justice to be part of the moral voice of the earth sustaining a web of connection that includes all people and all places.”

— Julie Greenberg
Climate Justice and Jobs, Director

“I work for climate justice because I want my grandchildren to grow up in a world where everyone can drink clean water and breathe clean air.”

Wendy Greenspan
Climate Justice Team Member

“I work for climate justice because I want to see good jobs in renewable energy for my community.”

— Anthony Clarke
Climate Justice Team Member

“I work for climate justice because I am tired of watching my people being hurt by climate crisis and and watching the people talking and getting the positive impact of green solutions not looking like me.”

— Terri Burgin
Senior Climate Justice Fellow

Our Campaigns

Philadelphia and Region

  • No new SEPTA Fossil Fuel Infrastructure 
  • Green Transition for PGW (public gas utility)
  • Power Local Green Jobs: targeting PECO (privately owned electric utility) to source 20% local solar energy by 2025 bringing jobs and investment to where they are most needed — “Climate is Changing, Why Isn’t PECO?”
  • PES Refinery POWER is proud to be part of the winning coalition that closed down the biggest gas refinery on the east coast!

Pennsylvania

POWER co-created the PA Climate Equity Table, an alliance of justice organizations, that collectively covers 95% of the population and geography of Pennsylvania.

POWER and our state table are leading the equity flank of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in Pennsylvania.

POWER creates channels between impacted grassroots communities and decision makers to further community-driven vision. 

POWER promotes a Black-Red-Green New Deal framework and specific policy plans to move towards 100% renewable energy and energy democracy.

Join the Team to find Climate Justice opportunities for you and your community!

– PA Climate Equity Table

I WORK FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE BECAUSE…

“I myself am a climate refugee from Florida hurricanes. I work for climate justice because climate injustice is intolerable.”

— Carolyn Klepser
Climate Justice Team Member

“Litter bitter, don’t be a sitter. I work for climate justice because the litter in our climate is bitter and I can’t be a sitter, and litter bitter don’t be a sitter!”

— Aminata Sandra Calhoun
Climate Justice Team Member

“I work for climate justice because, like in my union, we only truly get justice when we stand together.”

— Randy Libros
Climate Justice Team Member

“I work for Climate Justice because right matters. It is right that poor people be able to breathe air that does not harm their lungs. It is right that Black and Brown people have access to green energy sources and jobs. It is right that people in positions of power consider the impact that their decisions will have on the lives of the people who live in lower-income neighborhoods. Right matters.”

Martha Griffin
Climate Justice Team Member

“I work for climate justice because I believe in the intrinsic dignity and value of everyone.  The most important contribution I can make to family, friends, and community is to promote the right of everyone to health and wellbeing, justice, and clean air.”

Steve Greenspan
Climate Justice Team Member

“I work for climate justice because I want an equitable, livable future for all.”

Elise McCool
Climate Justice Team Member

Our Voter Engagement

POWER’s Climate Justice and Jobs team participates in POWER’s massive voter engagement drives throughout southeastern Pennsylvania. This is the 2020 ask of voters; every election cycle we update the outreach to keep it relevant:

Talking Points

I’M SCARED ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN CLIMATE CRISIS COLLIDES WITH RACIST INEQUALITY. WE’RE SEEING HOW ENVIRONMENTAL RACISM AND EXTREME INEQUALITY MAKE COVID WORSE FOR BLACK, BROWN AND LOW-INCOME COMMUNITIES ALREADY HIT BY POLLUTION. I IMAGINE YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT OUR FUTURE TOO.  

HERE’S WHAT WE CAN DO TOGETHER: 

VOTE FOR LEADERS WHO REFUSE TO BE BOUGHT BY THE FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY AND WHO CHAMPION A GREEN NEW DEAL ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR ALL. 

WE HAVE A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO VOTE FOR POLITICIANS WHO WILL WORK FOR PEOPLE AND OUR PLANET INSTEAD OF FOR PROFIT. ARE YOU A VOTER WHO CARES ABOUT CLIMATE JUSTICE AND CAN WE COUNT ON YOU TO VOTE?

How You Can Get Involved

Please check the POWER calendar for monthly Climate Justice and Jobs team meetings or contact Julie Greenberg at jgreenberg@powerinterfaith.org for further information. When you are interested in joining the work, we’ll arrange some one-on-one sessions with you to learn more about your interests, about how you want to grow and about your vision. We’ll also orient you to the campaigns and help you engage whether it is as a leader, a funder, or a partnering organization. And we are a learning community so there is constant training in organizing, in dismantling racism and in policy possibilities that meet people’s needs. All are welcome — everyone brings our own life experience and questions to further the work and we need everyone. 

You are invited to co-create this justice journey towards a better world.

Resources