Organizational Development

Making Good on the Inflation Reduction Act’s Promise

Many in philanthropy argue that there’s not enough time to overcome systemic barriers to engaging marginalized groups—and that even trying will slow down the process of reducing climate pollution. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Make multiyear, general support grants to community-based organizations that will be engaged in developing, financing, implementing, and communicating about clean energy and other climate justice projects. Support regional hubs and coordinated networks. Fund collaborations among partners taking transformative local solutions to scale.

The IRA Is an Invitation to Organizers

The Inflation Reduction Act presupposes a private sector–led transition, but battles over its implementation could build the political constituencies and expertise needed to take on the fossil fuel industry. It’s understandably hard for those who supported Green New Deal proposals for transformative investments in public goods to see the IRA—a bundle of tax credits whose benefits accrue largely to corporations—as a consolation prize. the forces backing a Green New Deal lost. But they had enough power to fundamentally shift debates at the highest level about what climate policy in the twenty-first century should look like, convincing lawmakers to abandon their commitment to narrow market tweaks and to focus instead on investment and job creation. The weakness of the bill that resulted from that shift reflected the power of polluters and a private sector eager to have the state step in to subsidize its profits. It’s time to get ready to win and run the big green state in the new normal the Green New Deal created.

Building a movement that can take full advantage of the IRA

The Inflation Reduction Act is ambitious climate policy, but history shows that ambitious policy is not always followed by ambitious implementation. In this episode, Hahrie Han of Johns Hopkins University and David Beckman of the Pisces Foundation talk about Mosaic, a grant-making coalition that aims to help build a robust movement infrastructure to ensure that vulnerable and underserved groups can take full advantage of the significant funding offered by the IRA.

How climate activists won the American Climate Corps

Last month, President Joe Biden announced the launch of the American Climate Corps, or ACC — a program that will train some 20,000 young people in careers in climate and clean energy. In this resource, Sunrise Movement co-founder Evan Weber discusses the years of Green New Deal organizing that led to the landmark new jobs program to address the climate crisis. A broad paint brush of tactics contributed to the win that is the American Climate Corps. These tactics included 500 young people getting arrested for blocking the White House in the summer of 2021 while demanding a fully-funded civilian climate corps in the Build Back Better negotiations. They also included behind-the-scenes lobbying and policy negotiation, coalition building and the electoral work that delivered some of the highest youth voter turnout in modern history — with climate being the reason that happened. The latter is also the reason President Biden went more aggressive on climate and updated his climate policy.

Project Agreements Resource Guide

All projects receiving 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funds from funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) require community benefits plans (CBPs). CBPs establish the community and labor benefits project developers promise to embed within their project. Data for Progress is developing a series of resources to guide successful and strong implementation of CBPs, CBAs, and PLAs on climate-related development projects. If done right, these agreements can help redress past environmental injustices while providing good-paying jobs to impacted communities and ensure the United States is on a path to rapid decarbonization. These resources offer best practices, policy recommendations, and polling to underpin a progressive approach to project agreements and community engagement to achieve net-zero emissions equitably. The guides include: “US Clean Energy Projects Need Public Buy-in. Community Benefits Agreements Can Help,” “Community and Labor Benefits in Climate Infrastructure: Lessons for Equitable, Community-Centered Direct Air Capture Hub Development,” “Community Benefits Agreements Offer Meaningful Opportunities to Include Voters’ Voices in Development.”

You Can Win Bold Climate Laws in Your State

New York State passed the Build Public Renewables Act in May 2023. In this resource, Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò spoke with three organizers from the NYC-DSA Ecosocialist Working Group who campaigned for the legislation. Socialists in New York City spearheaded the Build Public Renewables Act (BPRA) to authorize and mandate the public power authority, the New York Power Authority (NYPA), to build, develop, and own renewable energy in the state to meet the climate goals set in 2019 to decarbonize the state’s energy system. DSA also wanted to create discounted utility rates for low- to moderate-income communities because people are struggling to pay their energy bills, as well as close down all of NYPA’s gas peaker plants, which are primarily located in Black and brown neighborhoods. The campaign built relationships with environmental justice organizations like WE ACT, other DSA chapters, groups like Sane Energy Project, For the Many, Food & Water Watch, and Sunrise NYC—and it was tougher to power map to get labor unions to support the bill and get it over the finish line. DSA-endorsed legislators were crucial to pushing the policy inside the state legislature. This long-form interview includes many other descriptions of the campaign.

The Kernel: A Tool for Developing Good Strategy (and Avoiding Bad Strategy)

The Sunrise Movement successfully relied on the “strategy kernel for campaigning.” The kernel involves three elements: a diagnosis that defines or explains the nature of the challenge, a guiding policy for dealing with the challenge, and a set of coherent actions that are designed to carry out the guiding policy. The Sunrise Movement used the kernel by convening the leadership team for a meeting to discuss each layer of the kernel; usually, a small team then took responsibility for completing the kernel, providing overarching direction for our shared work. In strategy work for movements, this resource’s author has been part of many conversations that began instead with deliberating the third layer of the kernel—the actions the group should take—and ended up spiraling into disagreement. The #ChangeTheDebate campaign in the spring and summer of 2019 is an example of how Sunrise used the kernel: Diagnosis—a central challenge is that the Green New Deal (GND) is polarized and presidential candidates are not talking about it because of the strategic narrative attacks from Fox/right-wing media; Guiding Policy—the movement must force presidential candidates to publicly and boldly talk about the GND in the media; Coherent Actions—launch the campaign will compelling visuals, host debate watch parties across the movement, catalyze a centralized mass action, birddog Biden and other candidates, and run a targeted, escalated action demanding time during the debate devoted to climate.

Blueprint for a Multiracial, Cross-Class Climate Movement: The Workbook for Coalitions

This workbook is meant to help you translate the analysis and recommendations we provide there into workable features of your organizing. Whether you’re currently involved in a multiracial, cross-class climate coalition, thinking about starting one, or evaluating a past coalition on reflection, we hope this workbook clarifies for you and your coalition partners the breadth of considerations and decisions you should be prepared for.

Blueprint for a Multiracial, Cross-Class Climate Movement: The Report on Coalitions

Multiracial, cross-class (MRXC) coalition-building is essential if the climate movement is serious about tackling the climate crisis at the scale it demands. However, a historical lack of collaboration, trust, or healthy mechanisms to deal with conflict often impair those efforts. This Blueprint report and accompanying workbook provide an analysis of the difficulties MRXC climate coalitions are likely to face and offer recommendations for a proposed path forward.

Engage in the Climate Revolution

There are infinite ways to engage in the climate revolution—this site can help people find new ways to take action. Some of the Climate Resilience Project’s favorite climate solutions include: collective care, ecological restoration, economic regeneration, community adaptation, cultural strategy, people power, and relationship repair. For example, “people power” includes components such as cross-movement building, fossil fuel resistance, inside-outside strategy, and participatory budgeting. This site describes each. Also, read the book, Climate Resilience, which features 39 transformative short essays edited from interviews with women, nonbinary, and gender-expansive climate leaders, and highlights practical, place-based solutions that advance climate change mitigation, adaptation, and justice all at once.