WBUR: How organizations are centering equity in fighting climate change

WBUR’s Radio Boston

How organizations are centering equity in fighting climate change

Simón Rios and Amanda Beland
April 24, 2024
One layer of sidewalk is all the water left behind on a section of Chestnut Street in Leominster, where flood waters from torrential rain swept away the road in 2023. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
One layer of sidewalk is all the water left behind on a section of Chestnut Street in Leominster, where flood waters from torrential rain swept away the road in 2023. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR) (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

The National Weather Service is forecasting most of the country will face record high temps this summer, with the Northeast also predicted to have more rainfall than normal. This comes as communities around the region are facing 60% more extreme rain, the largest increase for any region in the country according to the most recent National Climate Assessment.

We check in what all of this and more means for those living in Boston and New England with David Cash, administrator of the EPA’s New England region, and Dwaign Tyndal, executive director of Alternatives for Community and Environment, a non-profit that works on environmental justice in Roxbury.

This segment aired on April 24, 2024.

Hear original story on wbur.org

Boston Foundation invests more than $4 million in six local social justice leaders

The Boston Globe:

Boston Foundation invests more than $4 million in six local social justice leaders

Each nonprofit organization and “movement” leader will receive $675,000 over three years as a part of the Shifting Power, Advancing Justice focus area.

Lauren Booker

April 9, 2024

The Boston Foundation has identified six community partners in a new Shifting Power, Advancing Justice initiative, and will invest more than $4 million in their organizations to support their work on social justice efforts, according to an announcement this week.

Each nonprofit organization and “movement” leader will receive $675,000 over three years as a part of the Shifting Power, Advancing Justice focus area. The funding would support general operations, wellness, technical assistance, capacity building, and can be used for emergencies.

“These six movement leaders each play a central role in their organizations and in the broader community. They are difference makers, shaping collective action that improves lives and drives social and economic change,” said M. Lee Pelton, president and CEO of the Boston Foundation.

The selected leaders are Darian Burwell Gambrell, executive director, DEAF, Inc.; Gamaliel Lauture, co-executive director, Brockton Interfaith Community; Mike Leyba, co-executive director, City Life/Vida Urbana; Noemi Mimi Ramos, executive director, New England United 4 Justice; Shanique Rodriguez, executive director, Massachusetts Voter Table; and Dwaign Tyndal, executive director, Alternatives for Community and Environment.

As part of the Shifting Power, Advancing Justice initiative, the community leaders will partner with the Boston Foundation to craft their work plans, with the goal of tailoring the funding directly to that work, “to ensure [the funding] serves their needs, goals and long-term vision,” according to the announcement.

“We … know that our most valuable role can be played beyond the grant itself, providing a space and platform for these movement leaders to connect, plan and build community with each other to create a stronger, networked ecosystem for change,” said Vetto Casado, director of Shifting Power, Advancing Justice at the Boston Foundation.

With extensive resumes marked by years of pushing for social justice, the grant recipients have made impacts beyond their current organizational role.

For instance, Mike Leyba, with City Life/Vida Urbana, has fought for equal marriage rights for LGBTQ people. And, for four years, Shanique Rodriguez, with Massachusetts Voter Table, worked as the manager of mobilization and BIPOC organizing at the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts.

“They each have unique approaches to that leadership and, with this new effort, we strive to create a partnership that respects and supports each of them and the organizations they represent to continue and amplify their transformative work,” said Pelton.

Read full article at bostonglobe.com

Massachusetts toughens rules on air pollution sources in communities of color

The Boston Globe:

Massachusetts toughens rules on air pollution sources in communities of color

Erin Douglas

March 28, 2024Health experts, community leaders, and climate justice and transit advocates held a rally outside near Nubian Square in May 2023 to call on legislators to improve indoor and outdoor air quality.Power plants, manufacturers, asphalt batch plants, and other industrial operators hoping to expand in Massachusetts will soon have to determine whether the resulting air pollution would disproportionately harm communities of color or low-income areas.

That’s because Massachusetts is attempting to regulate what is called the “cumulative impact” of pollution — among the first states in the nation to do so.

Typically, environmental regulators treat each plant as its own island when permitting new sources of pollution, ignoring how many polluting facilities already exist in an area. New permits, then, can further concentrate air pollution in already polluted neighborhoods. But under the revised air quality rules finalized Thursday by Governor Maura Healey’s administration, how much air pollution a community is already burdened with will be a factor in the permitting process.

Read full article at bostonglobe.com

 

EPA ‘Justice40’ grants target grassroots efforts: $50m will go to groups in New England

The Bay State Banner:

EPA ‘Justice40’ grants target grassroots efforts

$50m will go to groups in New England

Avery Bleichfeld

January 17, 2024

EPA ‘Justice40’ grants target grassroots efforts

Three local New England nonprofits are teaming up to distribute federal funds in a streamlined process to meet the needs of grassroots community-based organizations focused on environmental justice and climate issues.

The initiative, which will provide a total of $50 million to groups across the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 1 in New England, is intended to bring new funding sources to smaller groups to generate community-based solutions and reduce barriers around access to federal funds.

Read full article at baystatebanner.com

Was 2022 good for the climate fight? Five Massachusetts climate leaders weigh in.

Did you see the Boston Globe on Tuesday, 12/27? ACE’s Executive Director made it onto the front page, and was one of five key voices on climate change in the state.

Read the full article at the Globe’s website.

You can also read a PDF format of the article by clicking below.

Was 2022 good for the climate fight Five Massachusetts climate leaders weigh in. – The Boston Globe

Dwaign Tyndal Headshot

Dwaign TyndalExecutive Director

Keep justice front-and-center as Boston’s buildings go green

This op-ed was printed in the Bay State Banner on October 19, 2022. Click to read it on their site.

In Boston, the biggest 3,500 buildings account for the majority of carbon pollution — burning gas or oil for heating, using electricity for air conditioning and lighting. Last year, the city council and mayor passed a visionary new law to aggressively reduce this pollution, called BERDO 2.0 (Building Emissions Reduction and Disclosure Ordinance).

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the Mayor’s Office make sweeping promises — but too often under past mayors, the city has failed to enforce these laws, and nothing changes. The key to actually following through with BERDO’s promises is to keep residents and stakeholder neighborhoods in the driver’s seat.

Our organization, ACE, pushed hard for community representation on the BERDO Review Board. Two-thirds of the members are nominated by community groups. This is crucial to ensure that the law’s enforcement doesn’t get watered down by developers.

But right now, we’re seeing the city move away from resident and community input. I was alarmed to learn that the city dismissed One Square World, the nonprofit that facilitated community input on BERDO. The regulation process has been frustrating for community groups since then. And we’ve seen developers pushing to get their own lobbying group listed as a “community-based organization” that would displace real resident input.

BERDO holds a lot of promise. This year, building managers have to begin monitoring and reporting on their carbon pollution. And in 2025, they must begin reducing that pollution. If this goes as planned, it is a big win for the communities in Boston who bear the brunt of heat waves, extreme weather and air pollution: largely Black, Brown, immigrant, and low-income folks.

But if it’s watered down, corporate property owners could simply purchase bogus “offsets” or “credits” rather than reducing their buildings’ pollution. If that comes to pass, BERDO will be actively worsening the impacts of climate change on our city’s vulnerable and disenfranchised residents.

The future here remains to be written. Will City Hall buckle under pressure from developers or push forward with true community and resident involvement? Only Mayor Wu can answer that question.

Dwaign Tyndal Headshot

Dwaign TyndalExecutive Director

EJ Communities Finally Get a Say

Commonwealth Beacon:

EJ communities finally get a say

But wood-burning power plants not needed anywhere
Staci Rubin, Andrea Nyamekye, Maria Belén Power, Dwaign Tyndal, and Sabrina Davis

August 19, 2021

FOR DECADES, low-income, immigrant, Indigenous, and communities of color across Massachusetts have been overburdened by air pollution from power plants, congested highways, and industrial facilities. Known as environmental justice populations, these areas have had little say in the projects that are built in their neighborhoods, and they have had little power to put an end to the pollution that results.

Unfortunately, these impacts are a direct result of state policy. The law has historically put low-income, Black, immigrant, and Indigenous communities in harm’s way and overburdened them with pollution. All the while, residents have been denied a voice in the siting of new industrial projects – like power plants and substations – that negatively impact their neighborhoods.

Read full article at commonwealthbeacon.org

MBTA Hears Concerns in Chelsea

The MBTA held a public meeting at City Hall seeking input on its public engagement plan that at times became an opportunity for T customers to speak up on the variety of issues they see with transit service.

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