For Immediate Release: December 7, 2016
Contact: Diane May, (317) 292-2922, email@example.com
Nina Smith, 301-717-9006, firstname.lastname@example.org
Green for All Applauds Key Climate Legislation in Illinois
Green For All Deputy Director Michelle Romero released the following statement in response to the signing of critical clean energy legislation by Illinois Governor Rauner:
We applaud Governor Rauner and state leaders in Illinois for enacting the Future Energy Jobs bill, which will expand the state’s usage of renewable energy to 25 percent. This bill is a critical step in setting Illinois on a path towards achieving a clean energy future for all by prioritizing investments in the communities who need it most. The Future Energy Jobs bill dedicates millions of dollars in state funds into expanding clean energy in Illinois and bringing good jobs to low-income communities most harmed by pollution.
For Immediate Release: November 21, 2016
Contact: Michele Setteducato, 732-614-3818, email@example.com
Green For All Calls for Stronger Pollution Cuts from Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
Today, the Northeast states involved in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative presented a scenario to cut greenhouse gases by either 2.5 percent or 3.5 percent annually starting in 2020.
Vien Truong, Director of Green For All released the following statement in response:Read more
For Immediate Release: November 8, 2016
In response Vien Truong, Director of Green For All released the following statement:
“We must combat climate change by transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy. As we do so, it is pivotal to invest in a just transition. Initiative 732 rightfully aimed to put a price on carbon, but unjustly favored tax cuts for corporations over investments in clean energy and green job creation for struggling families and displaced workers. This defeat shows that Washingtonians recognized that I-732 is a false solution."
Carroll Ministries, Interfaith Power & Light, U.S. Green Building Council, and Green For All engaged church leaders and congregations at Green The Church Summit
On October 25, 2016, one hundred African American faith leaders from around the country joined together for the third annual Green The Church Summit. The summit explored and expanded the role of churches as centers for environmental and economic resilience. The faith leaders at the Summit have helped black and brown communities that are often the most impacted by pollution from fossil fuel and waste facilities fight for clean water and air, as well as increasing health, wealth, and opportunity.
View photos from the Summit.Read more
For Immediate Release: October 5, 2016
Green For All Responds to Ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement
Today, President Obama announced a historic moment in the fight against climate change. The world has crossed the threshold needed to bring the Paris Agreement into force on November 4th.
In response Vien Truong, Director of Green For All released the following statement:
“The ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement today is a historic step forward to fight climate change not only in the United States but around the world.”
“Communities of color are hit first and worst by the pollution from the fossil fuel industry around our country. We must protect the health and safety of the millions of people on those frontlines as we implement this agreement worldwide. If we are to meet the Climate Agreement goals, we must invest deeply in the frontlines and ensure that all communities are protected from climate change devastation.”
Growing up outside of the Atlanta city limits, surrounded by Georgia red clay and acres of green space, I was innocently oblivious to the effects of air pollution in my world. Summer vacations, however, were spent inside the city limits - East Point, GA to be exact. My aunt and uncle would have my brother and I excitedly pack our suitcases for a two-week 'staycation' in the city that was “too busy to hate.” As my uncle’s blue Volvo drove past miles of green pastures and eventually swiveled its way through the busy I-75 highway exchange, I observed the change in the “color of the air” and I noticed my hesitancy to now take the big, engulfing breaths that I enjoyed in my small town, on the humid summer nights filled with the sweet smell of honeysuckles and the intoxicating glow of lightning bugs.
In hindsight, I wonder if my trajectory would have been different had I grown up in an area that lacked access to one of the most fundamental rights seemingly guaranteed to all: clean air. Would I have grown up in an area exposed to harmful pollutants like sulfur dioxide and mercury? Would I have suffered from asthma and often been susceptible to life-threatening illnesses like cancer? Would my home have been more vulnerable to climate change-induced storms and floods? Would my neighborhood have had to bear the disproportionate brunt of the burden of decisions made by those who did not represent nor live in my neighborhood?
What are the costs when we do not account for the deadly effects of pollution in areas that disadvantaged populations call home? Often the risks and consequences are overlooked, leaving low-income, marginalized, indigenous people, and communities of color with a collective experience of disease and mistrust of those in charge of ensuring and creating equity in access to clean air. These communities are now beginning to break ground and find a voice in repairing the damage created by dirty energy systems.
The EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) presents an opportunity for voices in “frontline” communities to be heard. Through the CPP, states are called to engage in conversations and concrete action surrounding the impact of carbon pollution as described by those most affected in the process. Directed implementation of funding acquired from polluters can restore the power and pride back into the hands of the residents who have suffered the effects of pollution. However, for the CPP to translate into positive empowerment and investment in the aforementioned frontline communities, citizens and elected officials must engage proactively with a focus on social equity.
While we all currently experience the effects of air pollution in varying degrees, it is important to note that frontline communities experience pollution in an extremely different manner. Communities of color routinely fail to meet EPA standards for air quality, often attributed to their close proximity to power and coal plants. Comparatively, children in these areas experience excessive visits to the emergency room with asthma attacks, with African American children dying at alarming rates as a result of these attacks. With insufficient resources and less job security, recovering from personal health disasters becomes nearly impossible. The damage done in these neighborhoods should influence and continue to drive the decisions associated with the funding recovered from polluter fines.
With an equitable implementation plan, CPP can serve as a catalyst to addressing these issues by empowering neighborhoods with the necessary knowledge and foundation to begin creating an alternative narrative and a shift in resources.
For more information about an equitable implementation of the Clean Power Plan, visit www.TheCleanPowerPlan.com.
Alexis Carter is a southern historian and a middle school social studies teacher in Georgia. She enjoys reading, researching, and rewriting the narrative.
For Immediate Release: September 28, 2016
Contact: Michele Setteducato, firstname.lastname@example.org
Green For All Responds to House Voting to Support Flint Water Crisis
Averting a near shutdown of the federal government, the U.S. House finally reached consensus today on supporting Flint in their ongoing water and financial crisis -- resulting in a vote passing a multi-million dollar support package.
In response Vien Truong, Director of Green For All released the following statement:
“Today is an important step forward for Flint -- and more needs to be done.”
“It has been more than two years since Flint’s water was poisoned as the result of Gov. Rick Snyder’s reckless actions. We have left Flint residents to struggle alone through the horrors of lead poisoning and government neglect. Housing prices have plummeted to next to nothing, people are still bathing their children in bottled water, and tens of thousands of people have lost generations of wealth. On top of that, many families will be dealing with the health ramifications of lead poisoning on their children for decades to come.”
“When I was in Flint, I met with residents who were poisoned from the lead water, who were afraid to shower or bathe their children -- who were on disability from being poisoned, and still working to support their kids and organize their community to rebuild.”
“For too long, those in low income communities and communities of color have been hurt first and worst by unhealthy water and air. Today is a step in the right direction, but far more needs to be done in the weeks and months ahead to do right with the people of Flint.”
In March, Green For All organized a tour of Flint with Van Jones, Tom Steyer, and Mark Ruffalo with local residents. Read more about that here: http://www.greenforall.org/mark_ruffalo_joins_green_for_all
East Bay mom up for White House honor for work on climate change
Updated 5:35 pm, Thursday, July 14, 2016
An East Bay woman is one of 10 people from across the country who will be recognized by the White House Friday for helping low-income and underserved communities prepare for and adapt to a changing climate.
Vien Truong of Oakland will be named a White House Champion of Change for Climate Equity for her work to end environmental racism and empower communities of color to join in the fight against climate change.
“Winning this award is a huge honor,” Truong said. “I do a lot of this work by keeping my nose to the ground and trying to do the right thing. It feels very validating that we are being recognized by the president as doing the right thing.”
Truong was drawn to her current line of work after moving to the United States from war-torn Vietnam with her family, only to have her parents end up working as strawberry pickers in pesticide-ridden fields in Oregon, then at sweatshops in one of Oakland’s poorest and most polluted communities — where Truong ultimately grew up as the youngest of 11 siblings.
“It’s not right for families to struggle as much as they do and still not have a decent living condition,” Truong said. “I wanted to commit my life to make a better future for people.”
Truong is the director of Green for All, an Oakland nonprofit organization dedicated to creating an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.
She lives in the city and has twin 3-year-old sons.
Truong may be known best for past efforts of expediting California’s transition to electric vehicles through the Charge Ahead Initiative and developing strong environmental-technology workforce standards through the California Climate Credit. She also has developed more than a dozen state policies, created energy and workforce programs, and advised public investments for energy and community development programs.
One of Truong’s most notable accomplishments was contributing to the passing of SB535, which in addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, redirected money paid by polluters to disadvantaged communities. In the past two years, that fund has directed more than $900 million to the poorest and most polluted communities in California, according to Green for All.
The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to honor individuals doing work to empower and inspire members of their communities.
White House officials selected award winners based on their work with low-income people in underserved communities.
Truong will be honored with nine others at the White House Friday, in a program that will feature remarks by Christy Goldfuss, managing director of the Council on Environmental Quality, and John Holdren, policy director for the White House Office of Science and Technology.
The event will be live-streamed on the White House website Friday at 11:30 a.m.
“It will be great,” Truong said. “We get to go to the White House. It’s been a dream of my mom’s for her entire life. I’m taking her and also bringing my niece to connect generations and show her what’s possible when you do great work.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, July 13th, 2016
CONTACT: Daniel Wein | email@example.com
White House Awards Vien Truong “Champion of Change for Climate Equity” Award
Green For All Director honored by White House for her work to combat pollution and poverty
On Friday July 15th, Vien Truong will be honored with the White House Champions of Change for Climate Equity Award for her work to end environmental racism and empower communities of color to join the fight against climate change. Truong is the Director of Green For All, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.
Truong grew up the youngest of 11 kids to a refugee family that fled from war torn Vietnam. Her parents worked in the pesticide ridden fields of Oregon picking strawberries. Later they worked at sweatshops, where she grew up in the heavily polluted region of Oakland, California, known as the “toxic triangle.” It is through these life experiences that Truong grew to understand the inequality and marginalization endured by disadvantaged communities.
“Winning this award is a great honor, and validates all the work we are doing to end environmental racism and prioritize solutions in frontline communities that are hit first and worst by pollution and climate change,” said Truong.
One of her landmark accomplishments is the passing of Senate Bill 535, a community reinvestment bill in California that created a polluters pay fund, which created the largest fund in history for low income communities to green up and to create economic revitalization for residents. In the last two years, it has directed over $900 million into the poorest and most polluted communities in California.
“I’m privileged to be leading Green For All to create national programs that will prioritize low income communities and communities of color in the crafting of policy across the country,” said Truong.
The award comes as Truong continues to lead in climate equity efforts in collaboration with a coalition called the Clean Power for All Collaborative, which is mobilizing to make sure that the EPA’s first national initiative to regulate greenhouse gases is used as an opportunity to clean up and reinvest in polluted communities.
African American churches have been on the frontlines of the most important social movements of the last century. The movements begin at the pulpit, with preachers stirring their congregation to action via Sunday sermons that link spirituality and faith to a greater calling.
“The bible has a call for stewardship and a call to action—there’s a hook around sustainability,” says Julian McQueen, Green for All’s director of education and outreach.
Green for All’s Green the Church is commonly referred to as a movement, with founders McQueen and Rev. Ambrose Carroll saying it is bigger than just a program – it is a force on climate action.
“I come from a very social justice church atmosphere,” Carroll says. “For us, climate change is the civil rights issue of our day.”
When McQueen joined Green for All in 2008 on the organization’s 28th day of existence, he felt a calling to engage local community leaders and youth in protecting the environment. Now, serving as Green for All’s director of education and outreach, he has found success by creating Green for All’s All Fellowship program, which helps fellows develop skills to build community-generated solutions and organize in their cities. He’s also spearheaded the organization’s College Ambassadors Program, which supports the leadership development of students at historically black colleges and universities.
It was at Green for All some years later that he teamed up with Rev. Carroll, formerly a fellow, to pinpoint how they could move the African American church to engage in the climate fight.
In November 2014, the early stages of what is now known as Green the Church was born to grow sustainability programs and practices across the United States. To goal was to create a massive coalition of 1,000 faith partners across the country to share the need for conservation and preservation while seeking climate justice for disproportionately impacted communities.
“As we went to friends, brothers and sisters in the clergy and in the congregations, they wanted to show that this global issue was our issue,” says McQueen.
Carroll, a native of Oakland, California, is passionate about serving inner city communities and had been looking for a way to draw from his faith to spotlight global warming’s effects. He is working to engage with communities around how to reduce their carbon footprint and activate other tools to prevent environmental damage.
Green the Church is close to having 400 churches in 28 states represented as of June 2016. It’s focusing its efforts on states engaged in work around both the Clean Power Plan, which sets a national limit on carbon pollution produced from power plants, and the “Polluters Pay Fund,” a campaign push by Green for All to make polluters pay to clean up their own toxic messes.
Gaining momentum to grow the houses of worship involved in the climate movement is not easy, but it is having a domino effect.
“It was so powerful,” says McQueen. “The call went out by word of mouth and made its way through the networks of churches and the response has been real.”
The national Green the Church program is a partnership between the grassroots organization’s parent, Green for All, in addition to churches and the U.S. Green Building Council. While not all churches and congregation properties have the resources to be LEED-certified, the council is sharing strategies on how to make places of worship, church centers and related facilities more sustainable.
Heading into its second year this fall, Green the Church is ramping up its engagement efforts so that churches have partners and allies within the state to support each other. The support and dissemination of information is all encompassing, with guidance and educational tools on how communities can take action on environmental issues.
“This is about building power,” Carroll says. “Our communities have bared the brunt of climate change and pollution enough. We want to see more churches green their facilities and share the word of sustainability. Decrease carbon emissions, raise green economy opportunities and flex the power of the African American church.”
In August 2015, Green the Church hosted its first three-day summit in Chicago at Trinity United Church of Christ, which is also President Obama’s home church. This summer, Green the Church is hosting faith-based trainings with clergy and leadership across the country. Among the topics is a candid discussion of how communities of color can best align and develop strategies to influence environmental solutions.
The group will descend upon the Baltimore, Maryland, region October 25 to 27 to host a summit with an expected 1,000 church leaders. The primary target for training has been church leadership—starting with pastor level leadership to reach the congregation from the top down.
“We want to make a real splash in the political fights by leading with moral calls to action to make polluters pay and invest in the communities most impacted by climate change,” says Carroll. “That’s my biggest hope—a push toward systemic change.”
In addition to being active in the Green the Church movement, Carroll is pushing back on a proposed coal terminal in Oakland. Carroll believes there is a need for organizations of all sizes from grassroots to grasstops (for example, large NGOs) to work together and go beyond the labels of environmentalist, conservationist and others to define their commitment to saving the planet.
“Are people thinking they’re environmentalists? No, they’re thinking of protecting their kids from a toxic site,” Carroll says. “We try to categorize and get everything to fit in these finite places, but it’s our job to talk about climate change and connect the dots to social justice.”
Both McQueen and Carroll are thought partners, armed with faith and passion for service to their communities with the hope of continuing to bridge a gap between the faith and environmental communities who want to create change.
They and the thousands they have signed on to the journey are guided by a moral imperative to protect the earth, but they do not define their relationship with the earth in the same ways as others.
“There’s a biblical text that talks about Elijah, and at one point in his ministry he was by himself. Elijah says, ‘It’s I and I alone and no one else is left.’ And God says, ‘You are not alone.’”
“That’s how we feel about doing this work,” says Carroll. “It’s about bringing people out of isolation.”