Environmental Justice

Community Solar in a Soybean Field

It’s quite a sight to see: 200,000 gleaming solar panels surrounded by soybean fields in rural South Carolina. The Whitney M. Slater Shared Solar Facility – named for a beloved nursing student who died of cancer – is a community solar farm powering 1,100. Story & Reach worked with the Whitney M. Slater Foundation and New Alpha Community Development Corporation to tell the story of a mother’s drive to memorialize her daughter, which earned coverage in the Southeast Energy NewsSCNow.comThe Dillon HeraldWBTW-TV and  WPDE-TV

Photo credit: Drea Photo Artistry

Sparking a #JusticeFirstVoter Movement 

Working with the Rev. Leo Woodberry, Loretta Slater and other inspiring leaders of the Justice First Tour, Story & Reach helped launch the #JusticeFirstVoter campaign at the Creating a Climate for Change conference in October. Voters took to Twitter and Facebook to explain why they want everyone to put justice first at the ballot box. Pre-campaign rallies in South Carolina and Georgia revved up voters. And on Election Day, #JusticeFirstVoter vans transported voters to the polls in areas hard hit by Hurricane Florence, as reported in the Florence News Journal.

Justice First Tour Covers Major Ground 

With support from the Solutions Project, the Rev. Leo Woodberry’s New Alpha Community Development Corporation joined the Dogwood Alliance and the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign to focus attention on climate and energy justice, and Natalie & Carina helped get the word out. South Carolina Legislative Action Day earned coverage on TV and radio, in print and online. The Justice First Tour through the South scored coverage from the Associated Press, the Huffington Post, and other outlets. An op-ed by Rev. Woodberry in Virginia’s largest-circulation daily newspaper called for 100% clean energy, forest protection, and an environmental bill of rights.

Photo credit: Sierra Club

PUSH Buffalo Promotes Energy Democracy

Energy democracy meets 100% clean energy at School 77 in Buffalo, NY, where a low-income community of color spearheaded the transformation of an abandoned school into solar-powered affordable housing and a community center. Carina & Natalie worked with PUSH Buffalo to ensure that the focus would be on the community’s work, while still acknowledging New York State's vital financial contribution. With support from the Solutions Project, they worked to ensure the press release issued by the governor's office included PUSH messaging and quotes. They wrote and placed an op-ed by PUSH leader Rahwa Ghirmatzion in The Buffalo News, and reached out to reporters in an effort to make sure PUSH's energy democracy messaging came across loud and clear. Four local television stations, the Associated Press, The Buffalo NewsCurbedBuffalo Business First, the Energy News Network, and other outlets covered the story, and NYSERDA and Gov. Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) program tweeted about it. 

ONE100 Awards Comes to Atlanta

Natalie & Carina’s work with the Solutions Project’s 100% campaign includes securing national and local media coverage of the ONE100 Awards program, which celebrates 100% clean energy leaders across the country. The Atlanta Tribune published an op-ed about the awards by Sarah Shanley Hope of the Solutions Project and Nathaniel Smith of the Partnership for Southern Equity. Other media coverage of the Atlanta awards included items in the Atlanta Voice, Rolling Out magazine, Southeast Green, My Social Good News, Southeast Energy News, and all the local TV stations (WSB-TV, WXIA-TV, WAGA-TV, & WGCL-TV).

Photo credit: Erik Voss

Cartoon by Steve Greenberg

New Yorkers Call for a People's Commissioner  

With support from the Solutions Project, Carina & Natalie managed the communications strategy for the New York Energy Democracy Alliance, a coalition committed to making clean energy accessible and affordable for all New Yorkers. We organized and publicized press conferences, managed the coalition’s rebranding process, and developed and executed social media strategies. When EDA called on Gov. Cuomo to fill a seat on the Public Service Commission with a “People’s Commissioner” committed to serving the best interests of the people and the environment, we worked with the campaign to earn media coverage, including an op-ed and an editorial cartoon placement in the Albany Times Union and multiple TVradio and online stories. Natalie & Carina also offered a series of webinars to train coalition members in communications strategies and tactics, as a way of building the energy democracy community’s communications capacity for the long term.