This first-of-its-kind plan presents strategies aimed at creating an equitable, low-carbon, climate-resilient future for Providence
October 25, 2019
PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today unveiled Providence’s Climate Justice Plan, one of the first reports that analyze the root causes and effects of climate change through a justice lens. The plan was created in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and members of the Racial and Environmental Justice Committee and aims to create an equitable, low-carbon, and climate-resilient Providence through a comprehensive set of proposed policies and initiatives. For more information, please visit: providenceri.gov/sustainability/
“The climate crisis is by far one of the greatest threats to humanity in our lifetimes,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “This community-driven plan will set Providence on a transformative path to tackle the racial and environmental inequities that are at the root of the crisis which disproportionately burdens low-income residents here in our city.”
Providence’s Climate Justice Plan is a collaboration between the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the Racial and Environmental Justice Committee and Providence’s frontline communities. The plan provides near-term policy and programs recommendations to meet concrete carbon reduction targets in the buildings, energy, and transportation sectors. The plan also proposes systemic changes necessary for our governance structures, economic system, and community health for society to transition from fossil fuels in a just and equitable process.
For community members and other partners who are interested in learning more about the plan and get involved with supporting its implementation, the Racial and Environmental Justice Committee will host a community celebration tomorrow, October 26 at the Davey Lopes Recreation Center from noon to 3:00 PM.
“The Climate Justice Plan presents a vision for a different future that acknowledges the harm of the past, including the fact that we are on stolen indigenous land, and the country we built was on the backs of enslaved people,” said Pol Tavares of the Racial and Environmental Justice Committee. “We put forward a vision of a future in which we all can come together to collaborate and co-create solutions that benefit all.”
The plan also features a “Future Stories” series of audio clips recorded in English and Spanish that utilize local actors as storytellers to share how Providence could change if the plan is implemented.
“This plan builds upon the Equity in Sustainability initiative that began in 2015 with racial equity training and relationship building with frontline communities in Providence,” said Leah Bamberger, Director of Sustainability for the City of Providence. “This set the stage for a highly intentional and collaborative planning process that shifted decision-making to those who are most impacted by the climate crisis and other environmental injustices. This shift has resulted in a comprehensive and transformational climate plan for Providence.”
In 2016, Mayor Jorge O. Elorza set a goal for Providence to become carbon neutral by 2050. This plan was developed using the “Just Providence Framework,” which was developed by the Racial and Environmental Justice Committee in 2017 specifically for the Office of Sustainability as a tool to help incorporate racial equity into its work. The creation of the plan was supported by a grant from the Barr Foundation.
Building off that work and in line key strategies outlined in this plan, the City has already begun efforts to implement many key strategies of the plan, with longer-term projects to be executed as outlined. The Providence City Council voted to authorize the Office of Sustainability to develop an aggregation plan to allow the residents of Providence to have more control over their electric bills on September 6th. The Office of Sustainability will release a Request for Proposals in the coming weeks to engage consultants with experience in developing and administering Community Choice Aggregation programs to assist the City in the creation and operation of an aggregation plan.