Climate Justice

Working for Racial and Economic Justice on a Livable Planet.

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People’s Energy Plan Launch

City Hall 1 S 15th St, Philadelphia, PA, United States

Attention all people! No matter your race, income, or background, you deserve access to clean, renewable, and affordable energy. Unfortunately, big corporations prioritize their profits...

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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.

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.

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

Read the articles

Do you care about air, water, health, home, affordable energy, and thriving community for you and your loved ones?

You have a climate justice story and we want to hear from you! Contact us.

POWER Organizes Public Power For Environmental Justice

Throughout Fall of 2020, the POWER Climate Justice and Jobs team trained and organized community members on providing public testimony in the state’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) public hearings. We began by offering trainings about RGGI with research and presentations led, among others, by leader-member Steve Greenspan.

Read the article

Update July 2022: We won RGGI, set to start on July 1, 2022. BUT fossil fuel interests temporarily stopped RGGI in court. The legal injunction is under appeal. We will keep organizing for what we need.


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

Nora Elmarzouky
Recent Climate Justice and Jobs 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 at first I knew about it but didn’t think I could do anything about it being just one person. Then I heard about POWER.”

– Jamir Hubbard
Climate Justice and Jobs Fellow

“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
Climate Justice and Jobs Fellow (Three years)

– Founding Mothers of POWER’s Climate Justice and Jobs Team, 2016

Our Campaigns

Philadelphia and Region

  • PGW Just TransitionPhiladelphians are sick and tired of high energy bills without any plan for addressing the dirty energy that is toxic to our health, our communities and our planet. Philadelphia Gas Works, the nation’s largest municipally-owned gas utility, supplies gas to hundreds of thousands of Philadelphians for use in heating our buildings, producing hot water, cooking, and more. But the bills are high and natural gas (which is primarily methane) is a dangerous greenhouse gas. POWER and allies are organizing to transform PGW into a utility that provides heating and cooling without the use of fossil fuels, at rates that everyone can afford, in ways that improve health and safety, and with policies that protect and create good union jobs.
  • Power Local Green Jobs: insisting that the enormously powerful Public Utility Commission (PUC) regulate utilities to protect our communities. The five commissioners must stand for people and the planet, and move speedily away from dirty energy. Check out the POWER Local Green Jobs Campaign report.
  • Right to Thrive Campaign: POWER is proud to be part of the winning coalition that closed down the biggest gas refinery on the east coast!
  • Environmental Justice: POWER has lodged a complaint with the EPA that alleges a civil rights violation by a division of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health called Air Management Services (AMS).  POWER is concerned that AMS is permitting SEPTA to operate an electricity generation facility in the Nicetown neighborhood of Philadelphia to power part of its regional rail system. The facility emits air pollution.  The people of Nicetown already suffer from asthma and other diseases related to poor air quality.  POWER believes that the health of folks in this predominantly Black community should not be harmed further but should be protected equally to the health of people in more affluent parts of the city.  The EPA is now working with the parties to resolve this complaint.


  • POWER organizes an educated, engaged base that will propel climate justice champions into decision-making positions and have their backs as together we create Energy Democracy.
  • 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.

POWER also supports our sister climate justice projects:

  • Opening Eyes to PJM: If we’re going to make the move off fossil fuel power plants that pollute our air and harm our health and climate, there’s a powerful but little-known corporate neighbor called PJM right in Valley Forge. They have a huge role to play. And they need to start seeing themselves as energy leaders accountable to communities.

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

– PA Climate Equity Table


“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 2022 ask of voters; every election cycle we update the outreach to keep it relevant.

POWER’s Climate Justice and Jobs team will be phone banking together on Oct. 13 and 25 from 6:30 – 8:30 and on Nov. 3 from 12:00 – 2:00. Training and a script are provided! If we care about our air, our water, our health, our energy bills, our jobs and our communities, we MUST shift the political landscape in this state. Sign up here for those dates and times. 

Some of POWER’s climate justice voting engagement is supported by the Reimagined Energy for Our Communities, U.S. (REFOCUS) campaign. REFOCUS is an effort to amplify the need for a truly resilient, community-based, and decentralized energy model. In solidarity with activists in Puerto Rico, we are tying the narrative threads of the centralized energy struggle across the country and inviting organizations to sign on to the Quick Response Solidarity Program for a local, community-controlled, and decentralized energy system on the island via

How You Can Get Involved

Please check the POWER calendar for monthly Climate Justice and Jobs team meetings or contact Julie Greenberg at 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.