By Dylan Lewis
The battle against the climate crisis is an immense undertaking that requires investments in terms of time, effort and finances. From grassroots organizations to environmental justice-oriented media organizations like ecoWURD, there is a collective need to secure resources for this important fight.
The Office of Sustainability in Philadelphia recently launched its Community Resilience and Environmental Justice Fund to help fill that need. This groundbreaking initiative will provide $10,000 grants to 15 environmental justice organizations over the span of 12 months in order to develop climate resilience within our city. Genevieve LaMar LeMee and Carolyn Moseley from the Office of Sustainability joined ecoWURD magazine to discuss the goals and requirements of the grant.
“In this moment, having the seed money is especially impactful. That will hopefully enable people to go after those bigger pots of money maybe next year or two years from now. So while that funding is available, I think building capacity is really important,” said LaMar LeMee. The capacity building that she is describing will be crucial over the next couple of years, as the federal government just announced the $5 billion Climate Pollution Reduction Grants (CPRG) program created by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.
On Tuesday, June 27, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Reagan was in Allentown, PA to announce that Pennsylvania will receive $3 million dollars in CPRG planning grants to identify opportunities to reduce pollution, promote clean energy,and develop strategies to create statewide economic opportunities. This initial investment is meant to create equity across communities in PA when competing for the larger federal grant. Regan then jetted to Vermont to announce new funding from the EPA’s Solar for All program. The $7 billion dollar program is geared toward residential solar power and is meant to ensure that low-income and working-class families will have access to clean, affordable solar energy.
Regan finished his continental climate tour at The Essence Festival of Culture in New Orleans in order to emphasize the importance Black and brown communities receiving the available funds.
“Collectively we want to be sure that everybody in this country has affordable housing, affordable electricity and lives in a safe, healthy, clean environment. And we’re gonna work together until we get that job done,” said Regan.
Organizations across the country are ready to hold the government’s feet to the fire if these promises are not fulfilled.
Lenwood Long, Sr., is the President of the African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs and a member of the Community Builders of Color Coalition. The coalition is bringing together 19 Black and brown financial institutions to create the Climate Justice for All Fund which will guarantee that those federal dollars go to BIPOC individuals.
“If we are not careful with the organizations that receive those funds […] we will be just another witness to the greatest complicit activities by the federal government to bypass Black and brown communities. That’s why the Climate Justice Fund is very important because we’re saying not so fast, we are organized, and we are here to make sure that this time we’ll be a part of providing a solution,” said Long.
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