The Green Justice Coalition (GJC) is a partnership of community based, environmental and labor allies who lead campaigns that have a meaningful impact on working class people and communities of color. Together, our members organize and advocate for a just transition to a sustainable economy that allows our communities to achieve environmental and economic justice.
Rapid growth in renewable energy, the fastest growing sector of Massachusetts’ clean energy economy, has largely been driven by increased adoption of solar generation. Advances in technology and manufacturing, together with new policies and enhanced programs have helped to make solar more accessible; but, not all families and workers are benefitting from the changes. Solar is an important part of the clean energy transition and GJC is working to ensure that frontline communities and workers are not shut out from its benefits.
Through the Environmental Justice Act and Executive Order 552 on Environmental Justice, the Green Justice Coalition is working toward comprehensive environmental and public health protections for environmentally overburdened low-income communities and communities of color across Massachusetts. Every neighborhood should have healthy air, soil, water, and lives.
Many residents rent rather than own their homes. This reality can make it difficult for our communities to invest in or benefit from renewable energy projects. This legislation would allow a municipality or aggregator to use the combined creditworthiness of all its ratepayers to enter into long term contracts for renewable energy with new project developers, including customers of utilities like Eversource and National Grid. Local renewable energy development could mean different things for different communities, such as solar, wind or battery storage, but all of these options mean good jobs with decent wages for workers in our communities.
As cities across the commonwealth wrestle with what it will mean to address climate change and develop plans to reduce emissions, we must ensure that every community is not only included but directly involved with creating the solutions. There is no doubt that we will transition into a new, more earth friendly way of being. However, this transition does not guarantee that the new way of being will be JUST. Efforts to organize and educate our bases and community allies broadly are essential to meeting the needs of those burdened the most by environmental injustice.
Residents of a town or city can aggregate their electricity demand into a single municipal contract, giving them direct control over where their energy is sourced. CCE is a rapid, low-cost catalyst to grow clean energy and ensure that all residents are able to access its benefits. It can protect residents from winter price spikes and makes renewable energy affordable for every household without raising rates.
The Coalition began exploring the opportunities of microgrids in January 2016, after the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center released a Request for Proposals to assess potential projects across the state. If implemented with community partners and a community-led vision, microgrids can be part of the solutions in addressing climate justice and resiliency in low income communities of color. We are excited to explore what a community owned and supported grid can do to bring a neighborhood together. For more about our Resilient Urban Neighborhoods + Green Justice Coalition (RUN-GJC) project, click here.
Alternatives for Community & Environment: Dwaign Tyndal
Boston Climate Action Network: Sophie Cash
Clean Water Action: Cindy Luppi
Coalition for Social Justice: Sabrina Davis
GreenRoots: Maria Belen Power
Neighbor to Neighbor: Andrea Nyamekye
New Roots AME
–Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts
The Green Justice Coalition is convened by Community Labor United.