Background

We began our internal organizational equity work in 2013, recognizing that it is an iterative process and that we will make mistakes, continually learning, and adapting.

As a mainstream environmental organization that has historically engaged a predominantly white audience, Climate Generation is taking a progression of steps to address our own institutional racism and identify the barriers for participation that are institutionalized in our programming. We regularly undergo trainings on racism and the role of environmental justice in the environmental movement.

We know that climate change will be slowed by people and organizations taking collective action. In order to solve the climate crisis, we must work with and connect all people. This means communicating climate change through different frames, including a human centered frame, as well as natural, economic, social or environmental. We will always strive to incorporate an equity lens, across our programs and the organization as a whole, and use it to inform our decision-making.

In 2019, we look forward to deeper conversations between our board and staff with the support of a formal diversity, equity, inclusion, and discipline assessment that provides an organizational roadmap for where we take our policies, partnerships, and programming next. For the year we have prioritized two focus areas: financial transparency and cultural capital.

We know each step we take is part of a longer journey – but we wanted you to know that we are committed to this path and look forward to doing our part to move towards an equitable and resilient future for all.

History & Timeline

2013:

  • With consultant support, we began to address equity across our organization and led trainings for YEA! MN program – focused on this question: What can Climate Generation and YEA! MN do to become more open, available, and useful to people of color and lower-income people?
    • Focus on white privilege, hiring processes, equity in strategic planning; adjusting goals, standards and deliverables to include diversity
  • Coincides with changes in youth climate movement after Powershift 2013 towards more intersectionality with social justice issues

2014:

Organizational:

  • Continued contract support to address equity across our organization
  • Attended Overcoming Racism Conference
  • Equity discussion on Black Lives Matter movement and follow up blog on the connections to recent shootings, social justice, and our work
  • Identified need to bring Board into equity conversations happening at the staff level
  • Acknowledgement of predominantly white-led Board, staff, donors and constituencies
    • Revisit qualifications for board/staff and hiring processes – so don’t “hire ourselves”
  • Identified partnerships

Programs:

  • Instituted a year-long progression of white privilege and anti-racism workshops for our YEA! MN youth steering committee, and actively engaged youth leaders in environmental and social justice campaigns
  • Youth CAN! Conference, a youth-driven event planned by and for high school students, exploring the intersection of climate change and social justice

2015:

Organizational:

  • Adopted Equity Statement
  • Reviewed and Discussed the Jemez Principles, the Principles of Environmental Justice, and the Bali Principles of Climate Justice
    • Jemez Principles adopted 3/18/15
  • Attended Overcoming Racism Conference; YWCA anti-racism training; Headwaters Foundation for Justice Social Change Fund Training with debrief discussions
  • Presentation by Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy on Environmental Justice mapping tools, MOU, and partnerships
  • 2-day Training for Change Facilitation: This training pushed our team to be more vulnerable and exploratory with each other. We were given useful frameworks such as margins/mainstreams; rank, power and privilege; team types; what brings us to this work

Programs:

  • Utilized the Race Forward Equity Analysis Tool in planning for the 3-day Midwest Youth Climate Convergence. As a result, we were intentional about using our leverage as an organization with white privilege to challenge a predominantly white and academically privileged youth audience to think not only about how they are stopping fossil fuels, but more importantly how they are creating a just transition with reinvestment in community-based solutions
  • Provided a workshop on equity for our educators attending our annual Summer Institute for Climate Change Education
  • Climate Minnesota: Local Stories, Community solutions, strived to reach diverse community members to share their climate stories in order to reflect the diversity of each community.

2016:

We hosted Duluth Climate Stories, featuring four place-based stories from women experiencing climate change. Working with an Ojibwe woman, we were able to confirm that an offering of tobacco as a gift for sharing stories is appropriate for Native participants.

2017:

Organizational:

  • Trainings on communications/personality/working together
  • Conflict Resolution Training

Programs:

  • Youth Convening Minnesota program launched in 5 Minnesota communities. Prioritized outreach to schools and communities with higher % of people of color. Climate Generation staff provided classroom presentations to Rochester STEM Academy with nearly 100% Somali American population, reaching 120 youth in total.

2018:

Organizational:

  • Implemented new organizational structure
    • Across our programs, we integrated a new thoughtful planning approach guided by reflection along the way, with considerations for equity, staff capacity, and political power
    • Questions of equity, diversity, and inclusion inform our planning process, and politically strategic locations underlay our decisions for where we do our work
  • Internal equity team
    • Developed quarterly trainings
    • Organizational self-assessment using Racial Justice Assessment Tool
    • Led staff retreat session with speaker
    • Led staff readings and reflection
  • Contracted with Culture Brokers, LLC to identify focus areas for our equity work and a Equity Strategic Action Plan after completing the Diamond Inclusiveness Assessment
  • Intentional recruitment and outreach (youth programming led by 50% youth of color)
  • Built diverse partnerships

Programs:

  • Talk Climate Institute – Understanding that rich conversations on climate change cannot occur without a diverse representation of communities taking part, we were intentional with our outreach efforts to go beyond our familiar audience and engage with new people by offering 10 scholarships specifically for people of color and those where cost would be a barrier to attending. Listening calls were offered to scholarship recipients, with the goal to learn about what they hoped to gain from the Talk Climate Institute. The invitation for listening calls helped to establish a tone of respect, and felt like an authentic way to build relationships with new constituents and potential partners.