American Climate Leadership Awards 2021, recognizes, rewards, and shares best practices on climate change advocacy and action in America. We are proud to offer money, support, and national recognition to climate leaders and organizations building political resolve for climate action at local, regional, and national levels, particularly those who center diversity, inclusion, and justice in their work. The finalists exemplify outstanding climate initiatives which give change agents and the public inspiration to model and replicate for continued climate action across the nation.
American Climate Leadership Awards top 10 finalists Replication Guides offer a successful and stepwise model for you to replicate in your community.
City of Ann Arbor
The City of Ann Arbor’s A2ZERO initiative, adopted on June 1, 2020, A2ZERO is the City’s ambitious plan and associated programs to achieve a just transition to community-wide carbon neutrality by 2030. The initiative encourages the transition to renewable energy, the design of a zero-carbon transportation network, movement towards a circular economy, and a focus on resilience, among other actions.
Clean Air Carolina
Clean Air Carolina’s Charlotte Mecklenburg Climate Leaders who challenge, educate, and partner with local elected officials and sustainability staff to set and achieve robust carbon reduction goals. They also challenge and engage North Carolina’s energy provider, Duke Energy, one of the country’s largest utility companies.
Earth Charter Indiana
In climate-quiet states like Indiana, Earth Charter Indiana has been effective in advancing climate action through grassroots organizing that combines education with policy adoption. Their programs empower youth at the juncture of climate science, climate justice and civic advocacy, pairing them with adults to achieve intergenerational climate progress. Over 20 years, ECI has become one of Indiana’s strongest statewide grassroots efforts to advance climate action, bringing Republicans and Democrats together to face the climate crisis
GreenRoots Inc, out of Cambridge Massachusetts has for over 25 years, uplifted resident voices to thwart egregious business proposals that threaten further industrial contamination; improved the urban environment through gardens, parks, and ecological restoration; and empowered low-income, BIPOC, marginalized residents to join together to fight for positive changes in their neighborhoods.
Mothers Out Front
Using a deep community organizing approach, Mothers Out Front empowers mothers to step into leadership roles within community-based teams, providing the training, and tools needed to develop and win campaigns. This is done by recruiting and mobilizing mothers through deep organizing community by community, with the knowledge that moms everywhere will stop at nothing to protect their children’s future.
Philly Thrive’s organizers, with experience running grassroots campaigns for environmental justice, knew that winning against the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery was possible if they came together and ran strategic campaigns. Through their efforts to influence the media narrative around fossil fuel infrastructure in the city of Philadelphia and shift it in favor of the planet and communities, the group was ultimately successful and in 2020 ultimately won the permanent closure of the refinery.
Sunrise Movement Education Fund
Sunrise Movement created Sunrise School — a virtual classroom where thousands of participants gain political education and develop skills as organizers. This digital platform has allowed for Sunrise’s message to spread across the country, greatly increasing accessibility and equity to the movement. Their mission is to train thousands of young people across the country in key organizing skills and educate the general public about the dire threat of the climate crisis and the bold, equitable solutions proposed by the Green New Deal.
Tara Houska – Giniw Collective
Tara Houska and her organization Giniw Collective is an indigenous-women, 2-spirit led frontline resistance to protect Mother Earth, defend the sacred and live in balance. Their focus is on systemic change that respects Indigenous sovereignty and the severity of the climate crisis. They prioritize traditional knowledge, divestment strategies, and land defense on the frontlines of protecting the earth.
United Church of Christ and the People’s Justice Council
The United Church of Christ and the People’s Justice Council have worked together to lay the foundation for increased organizing to advance climate justice legislation. They began by developing effective communication tools with a monthly webinar, a newsletter, a published handbook for churches, and a nationally recognized report on toxic air pollution that was accompanied by an advocacy toolkit. These tools along with the development of a coordinated United Church of Christ climate justice network and a green church certification program have led them to a stage where they now have the capacity to organize nationwide for federal climate and environmental justice legislation.
Youth Vs. Apocalypse
Youth have played an important role in highlighting the current state of our climate. Our next finalist is Youth Vs Apocalypse who provide resources and training for frontline youth to act collectively for climate justice and collective liberation. They are working to build an intersectional movement fighting for a just, equitable, and sustainable world in which all can thrive.
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