Listen to The American Climate Futures podcast, a special edition of the Futuring Podcast which aims to shine a light on changemakers who are meaningfully accelerating climate justice and radical collaboration across the United States, showing that the urgent and necessary change is possible and already here. Find us on your favorite podcasting platforms: SpotifyGoogle PodcastAmazon MusicListen Notes and more.

Listen to The American Climate Futures podcast

The Challenge

Our response to climate change must be socially just. 

In the US, low-income, Black, Indigenous and people of color are disproportionately impacted by climate change, facing higher mortality, food insecurity, and economic hardship. This is projected to worsen as increased exposure to environmental risks intersects with existing systemic injustice. 

Advocates in historically excluded communities have fought for decades for their right to a safe and healthy environment and have elevated the need for climate justice at a national scale. And yet, they are often excluded from critical policy and funding decisions. Each year, billions of dollars are invested in US climate solutions, but they do not necessarily reflect the priorities and concerns of those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, a gap highlighted in the latest IPCC Report.  

Collaborative, credible, and socially and economically just solutions to address the climate crisis are urgently needed to ensure all communities have the opportunity to thrive in a climate-changing world.

Climate justice as both a process and an outcome

Addressing climate injustice requires radical collaboration across sectors and a new way of approaching climate solutions to ensure that they are centered around the needs of affected communities. It requires listening, building trust, bringing community voices to the table at the beginning of the planning and design processes, setting policy and business decisions that are reflective of community needs, providing training and needed services, holding ourselves accountable to collaborative and decentralized decision-making processes, and supporting community ownership models. 

What if we could enable radical collaboration across sectors and lived experiences to design 

  • tech solutions that support the health, economic and security challenges of the most vulnerable communities?
  • decarbonization solutions that honor Indigenous knowledge and ensure Indigenous land rights are recognized and secured?
  • infrastructure and policies that provide equitable access to renewable energy, healthy transportation, and affordable housing?

We need new, radical and just responses to the climate crisis that ensure communities most impacted are thriving – today and in the future. 

About American Climate Futures

American Climate Futures is a national program aiming to ensure the needs and voices of those most impacted by climate change in the US are at the forefront of future climate related solutions, goal-setting, planning, and development — while also challenging the systemic inequalities that got us here in the first place.

With partners, we are co-developing practical guidance for the private sector to accelerate action on climate justice, uncovering opportunities for a multi-sectoral and collaborative approach. We are identifying opportunities for accelerated action by engaging with communities to understand shared needs, building out case studies and ascertaining high impact areas where the private sector can make progress on Net Zero targets, while centering justice and equity.

Workstream 1: Clear Guidance for Private Sector Action on Climate Justice

We are working closely with B Lab U.S. & Canada and other partners to fundamentally rethink what’s needed from the private sector to address equity and justice as part of climate solutions. Our focus is on providing clear guidance for private sector action -- uncovering opportunities for a multi-sectoral and collaborative approach.

We plan to identify and articulate key areas where urgent actions is needed. These might include, but are not limited to:

  • Tackling mindsets and cultural norms that prioritize short-term gains & siloed solutions development
  • Exploring business and operating models that are centering justice and equity
  • Leveraging collective influence and strategic partnerships for just policy solutions.

Workstream 2: Just decision-making and governance processes developed through a community-centered process

Climate justice is both a process and an outcome. Just process means ensuring equitable distribution of benefits by setting up community governance & decision-making structures, reinvesting proceeds into communities, and building equity into all decisions & investments. It also means shifting how success is defined to value community well-being.

We are working with partners to engage local communities and co-design and test a just, community-centered process for private sector climate solutions.

Storytelling and amplifying historically excluded voices

Throughout this initiative, we are keen to share what we are learning and amplifying stories of change.. We will be sharing insights from the collaboration, spotlighting potential solutions to tackle the barriers we've identified, and providing a platform for lesser heard voices and stories of change.

We invite you to join us!

Join a diverse and committed group of change-makers across the United States to learn from each other, collectively identify the entrenched barriers to climate justice, and co-design a community-centered, system-wide approach to a just and transformational response to the climate crisis. 

Join us for this systemic inquiry as we: 

  • develop a comprehensive map of climate justice efforts in the US today, including what’s missing and what’s impactful and can be scaled up; 
  • identify, and begin to address, barriers to meaningful collaboration across sectors, and between policy makers, civil society and local communities; 
  • build a community of partners and supporters;
  • spark cultural change – including shifts in mindsets, values and behaviors – to support lasting collaboration and solutions.

We are looking for program partners, funders, and collaborators, and invite you to reach out if you are interested in learning more about this work and how you can get involved. Please contact Ksenia Benifand for more information.

Get in touch 

Who’s involved