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How Diverse Is California’s Renewable Energy Portfolio? A Different Take on the Question

How Diverse Is California’s Renewable Energy Portfolio? A Different Take on the Question

Because of our name, Greenlining is often mistaken for an environmental organization, and understandably so. I always tell people who ask that we’re not not an environmental organization – while our mission is economic development in communities of color, we believe strongly in environmental justice, in the green economy, and in renewable energy as powerful tools for building equity. Renewable energy is cleaning up our air, it’s creating green jobs, the price is less volatile than fossil fuel prices, and we’ll never run out of fuel for a solar panel or a wind turbine (or if we do, we’ve got WAY bigger problems than all this). California is not only…
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Addressing the Climate Gap: California Legislature Delivers for Frontline Communities

Addressing the Climate Gap: California Legislature Delivers for Frontline Communities

2016 is proving to be a monster year for California climate policy, and for environmental justice wins powered by people of color. Over the past decade, AB 32 (Pavley) and SB 535 (De León) set the benchmark for transformative environmental policy, setting a bold target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and requiring that at least 25 percent of the revenue collected from polluting industries go to projects that benefit “disadvantaged communities” (communities most impacted by pollution and poverty). Implementing these policies, California has begun to clean our air and invest in frontline communities, while experiencing economic growth as the sixth largest economy in the world. Last week, California stepped up…
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When Advocates Get Bought Off

When Advocates Get Bought Off

Organizations that represent communities facing discrimination or other mistreatment face a constant struggle: How do we raise enough money to have a meaningful voice without letting our agenda be hijacked by those who can write big checks? We and other organizations (at least those with a conscience) struggle with that question all the time, and I’d never claim the choices are easy. What follows is the story of one group – one I personally wish I could support – that appears to have gotten it spectacularly wrong in the context of a current political campaign. Here at Greenlining, we’ve long been concerned about the intersection of money and politics. As…
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Bridging Health and Environmental Equity in Stockton, California

Bridging Health and Environmental Equity in Stockton, California

What does Stockton’s history tell us about Stockton today? When you look at a map, we can see that the legacy of redlining – the illegal practice of denying services to communities of color – remains present today. We see it in housing, education, banks, businesses, and the built environment. Research shows that in Stockton, these factors significantly affect residents, especially considering Stockton contains three of the top 10 most polluted areas in California. Last month, Greenlining partnered with Fathers and Families of San Joaquin to convene Greenlining the Hood: Reclaim & Rebuild Our City, a community forum in Stockton. This forum brought altogether approximately 90 individuals — residents, community…
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White Privilege: The Sequel

White Privilege: The Sequel

Lots of white folks have trouble understanding the concept of white privilege. They don’t feel particularly privileged, and its operation is pretty much invisible to most whites. So a while back I wrote a blog post to try to explain it, “A Case Study in White Privilege,” using my own experiences to show, step by step, how being white gave me advantages that were much less available to people of color. I never thought I would singlehandedly bring enlightenment to white America, but some of the reactions when I shared the piece on social media did make my head spin. The resistance didn’t all come from right-wingers. One Twitter user…
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5 Steps for Electric Vehicle Equity

5 Steps for Electric Vehicle Equity

ICYMI (in case you missed it), last week we launched a comprehensive online toolkit, “Electric Vehicles for All: An Equity Toolkit,” aimed at helping advocates, public officials, and corporate executives throughout the nation bring electric vehicle benefits to communities most impacted by poverty and pollution. Electric vehicles fight pollution and climate change because they produce fewer carbon emissions than gasoline powered cars, even when accounting for emissions from manufacturing and charging EVs. EVs also cost less to fuel up and maintain than conventional cars, helping EV owners save money. These benefits make it important to create policies that help underserved communities access EV technology—because they are hit hardest by transportation-related…
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Sick of the Presidential Campaign? Young Leaders = Hope

Sick of the Presidential Campaign? Young Leaders = Hope

To see photos from the Academy Graduation and Celebration, click here. I don’t know about you, but I almost can’t stand to watch coverage of the presidential campaign anymore. Every day it seems to get more toxic, mean and detached from reality – but two events I attended last Thursday give me hope. That morning our Summer Associate class presented the research projects they worked on for their 10 weeks with us. Not only did they teach me things I didn’t know about issues ranging from community land trusts to the discriminatory impact of criminal record background checks for employment, they helped me feel like maybe this country does have…
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Communities of Color: Models for Environmental Justice

Communities of Color: Models for Environmental Justice

These ten weeks as a summer associate have afforded me some of the greatest personal and professional development challenges of my young adult life. While I expected to this summer to be demanding, I was not aware of how much I would grow. When I first arrived at The Greenlining Institute, I was immersed in leadership development workshops. These workshops served as the framework for how I completed my final capstone project. Throughout the process, while conducting my interviews, editing blog posts, and writing drafts of my project, I had to utilize time management, competing priorities, and effective communication. As a summer associate on the environmental equity team, I worked…
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#PhilanthropySoWhite: California Holds Businesses to Diversity Standards; Why Not Foundations?

#PhilanthropySoWhite: California Holds Businesses to Diversity Standards; Why Not Foundations?

Soon, businesses will have to state their plans to promote opportunities for women and people of color if they want to receive tax credits from the state of California. In 2013, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) began handing out millions of dollars in “California Competes” tax credits to companies who can demonstrate that they’re generating quality job opportunities for Californians, particularly in low-income areas. In the past year alone, the committee in charge of distributing the tax credits has awarded 259 companies a total of $160 million. At its last board meeting, GO-Biz announced that in November it will begin asking companies that apply for tax…
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In the Mountains of Death, Staring at Climate Change

In the Mountains of Death, Staring at Climate Change

I just got back from a few days at Kings Canyon National Park in the southern Sierra. The place is awe-inspiring, but I can’t shake something I saw that you won’t find in any tourist guide. The photo to the left was taken on my way up the mountains, at about 4,000 feet.  You can find dead trees like this all over California’s largest mountain range (and much of the rest of the state) right now – 66 million of them. Look carefully at that shot, and especially at the background, and you can just make out that at least half the trees on that slope are brown and dead…
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