American Climate Leadership Awards 2022, 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.

Schools for Climate Action
Schools for Climate Action is a free grassroots initiative to engage the education sector in climate justice. Students draft climate action resolutions from our templates, engage school boards to acknowledge climate change as generational justice and equity issues, and commit school districts to local climate goals. There is a lack of resources for teachers to engage students in real, authentic climate education, and our resolutions address the systemic issues underlying the climate crisis.
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GreenRoots co-convenes the MA Environmental Justice Roundtable which has come together to advance legislative and policy priorities to advance environmental justice and civil rights. One of the bills we’ve written and are advocating for would change the way energy generating facilities (e.g. power plants, compressor stations, etc.) would be sited. It would have environmental justice restrictions and would reconstitute the make-up of the state permitting board, which right now includes no community or EJ representation, but rather is mostly energy sector representatives. In the history of the Energy Facility Siting Board, it has never denied the permits of an energy production facility no matter how dirty or how close to sensitive populations. With the Siting Reform legislation, that process would be much more democratic and responsive to environmental justice concerns.
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Climate Mobilization Project
To multiply the impact of policy victories at the city and county level, we must resource and support climate organizers who hold the necessary passion, commitment, and lived experience to change communities. The Climate Mobilization Network leverages proven coaching, training, and peer-sharing strategies, unlocking organizers’ power to: build broader, more effective movements; replicate learning from successful city- and county-level innovations; and center the most ambitious climate justice policies, building momentum for a collective climate movement.
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Young Evangelicals for Climate Action (YECA)
The Climate Leadership Fellows Program equips young leaders to create projects that address unique needs in their communities. Since 2014, Christian fellows have spurred cultural, social, and institutional changes on college campuses by starting recycling and composting, hosting educational events, installing solar panels, creating clubs, and meeting with school administrators. Replicating this model will help organizations train the next generation of leaders to effectively act on climate in their particular communities.
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Alternatives for Community & Environment
Seventy percent of building emissions in Boston come from 4% of buildings. Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE) partnered with the City and proved that it is possible to address greenhouse gas emissions and integrate Just Transition theory into policy, moving us toward a regenerative economy grounded in the lived experiences of the people on the frontlines of pollution. By following our example, other cities can center justice as they address environmental inequities.
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Elected Officials to Protect America
Our mission is to inspire and create solutions to the climate crisis by mobilizing veterans who are policymakers in partnership with frontline leaders. The creation of a veteran-led Leadership Council nationally and in each state and territory will inspire governments at all levels to declare a climate emergency, and implement a climate emergency plan that protects our security and health, enacts urgent solutions, ensures environmental justice, and creates prosperity in our communities.
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Wisconsin Green Muslims
Wisconsin Faith Communities for Equitable Solar Initiative, coordinated by Wisconsin Green Muslims, provides an opportunity to (a) address Islamophobia, discrimination, and structural racism, (b) advance solar energy through building interfaith relationships grounded in our collective values of love, light, and justice, and (c) advocate for energy democracy work that is community-based, solutions-focused, frontline, BIPOC and women-led, and justice-centered.
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Faith in Place
Our project organized, empowered, and mobilized people of faith to advocate for Illinois public policy that centers climate justice. Working in collaboration with our faith partners and Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition allies, we advocated for policy committed to renewable energy paired with investment in the communities that have not historically benefited from the transition to clean energy, i.e., communities of color and communities reliant on fossil fuels industries. In September 2021, these goals were enacted into Illinois law as the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act.
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Power Shift Network
Welcome to the pulsing heart of the youth climate justice movement. This next five years is a critical window to prevent a track of irreversible climate change — and to meet the urgency of this moment, we need you! You might feel overwhelmed by the scope of the climate crisis and not know where to start. The thing about climate anxiety is that the best way to overcome the anxiety is by taking action — however big or small.
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Healthy Community Services
Residents were not waiting for the government to solve the issues of repetitive flooding caused by climate change and an aged infrastructure. Literally each time it rains, residents of New Orleans can expect homes, cars, and street flooding from more frequent, intense rainfall.  The 3 E’s method of engaging, educating and empowering residents to make incremental changes helps to mitigate the impacts of storm waters. It takes a community to be a community.
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American Climate Leadership Awards 2021 Replication Guides

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.
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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.
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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.
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GreenRoots, Inc.
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.
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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.
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Philly Thrive
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.
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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.
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*WINNER* 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.
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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.
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*RUNNER UP* 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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