Building a just renewable future

on June 18, 2020

Two weeks ago, we took an unequivocal stance in support of Black Lives Matter. It was an important thing to do and it was the right thing to do, but it’s just a start at what’s needed.

At Arcadia, we are champions of climate action. Our whole mission and vision is founded on the idea that by making clean energy an easy choice for everyone, we can build a future with a fighting chance against climate change. But we’ve left something big out of our story. The climate crisis is intertwined with another, equally urgent, issue: racial injustice.

Black and brown communities have long been on the front lines of both climate change and fossil fuel pollution. The legacy of redlining has many Black communities living in areas that are more vulnerable to flooding, sea-level rise, economic inequality, lack of public services, and poor air quality. Due in part to predatory practices by the fossil fuel industry, 71% of Black Americans live in counties that are in violation of air pollution standards and 68% live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant. The health effects of this are devastating and are only expected to get worse due to climate change.

The transition to a renewable future needs to address this connection between climate and racial injustice. According to the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program, “Transitioning energy sources alone will not deliver the just, or equitable, energy system we need. A just transition is a fair shift to an energy economy that is sustainable, equitable, and just for all its members.”

We’re dedicated to making that just transition happen. Over the next days, weeks, and months, we’ll be taking action in the following ways:

  • Donating monthly to the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice and the Equal Justice Initiative.
  • Listening and amplifying the voices of Black climate activists and creating opportunities for our members and employees to learn and talk about the intersection of racial justice, climate justice, and the renewable energy future.
  • Acting by launching cross-team working groups to focus on how we can better address climate justice in our product and our organization.
  • Focusing on diversifying our recruitment channels and training employees on structured hiring practices to mitigate bias.

This work is ongoing, and there will always be ways we can improve. But we’re committed to making sure the renewable future works for all of us.