New Haven Climate Movement Climate Action Planning
Primary Issue Area:
Climate Change & Energy
Describe the group's overall program(s):
Recognizing that the City wasn’t taking strong leadership on climate change, the group came together in July 2015 to do public education on climate change and push for policies to support greenhouse gas reduction and public health improvements. The New Haven Climate Movement (NHCM) members include representatives of CT Fund for Environment, Fossil Free Yale, Yale Climate Action Network, New Haven Leon SCP, and other volunteers. NHCM is working to broaden and deepen the climate change movement in New Haven and mobilize new groups of residents and neighborhood organizations that can create significant change in carbon emissions and public health. We see our organizing as building awareness, engaging new leaders, developing community and building skills. So far NHCM has been building its membership, deciding on strategy, and organizing public actions. These have included the Alien Planet public art installation in October 2015, and the 12 Days of Xmas Fossil Fuels educational events in December 2015, which invited a number of local groups to each plan pubic events on climate justice, the Paris climate talks, etc. NHCM also organized a 33 organization sign on letter calling for the City to update its 2004 Climate Action Plan (CAP). The City later agreed to begin the planning process.
Describe how your program(s) minimize community carbon footprints:
The New Haven Climate Movement (NHCM) members came together to do public education on climate change and push for policies to support greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions and public health improvements. So far NHCM has been building its membership, deciding on strategy, and organizing public actions. These have included the Alien Planet public art installation in October 2015, and the 12 Days of Xmas Fossil Fuels educational events in December 2015, which invited a number of local groups to each plan pubic events on climate justice, the Paris climate talks, and intergenerational justice. NHCM also organized a 33 organization sign on letter calling for the City to update its 2004 Climate Action Plan (CAP). The City later agreed to begin the planning process. NHCM also organized a Launch Party in March 2016 to bring residents together to envision a climate friendly future in New Haven. NHCM will be working ongoing with other grassroots climate change efforts to mobilize residents, including Healthy City/Healthy Climate Challenge (invites organizations and residents to take specific steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20% and improve public health), and the Climate Arts Collective, which uses social marketing and public art to promote awareness of the threat of climate change and encourage action. The outreach work related to the development of the CAP will also invite residents and organizations to use Healthy City/Healthy Climate Challenge resources to take immediate action in their organizations and at home to reduce carbon emissions.
Whom does your group need to make this project happen?:
Mayor Toni Harp
New Haven Mayor
What does your group propose to do with a Grow grant?:
Over the next 9 months NHCM will: • Work with the City to update the New Haven Climate Action Plan (CAP) including drafting a plan this spring and organizing community stakeholder consultation meetings. The CAP will also prioritize GHG reduction actions that have co-benefits like cutting energy costs for families i.e., through home energy efficiency) and improving public health (i.e., using more active transportation or better diets), etc. NHCM will work with lead organizations involved in transportation, housing, waste reduction, schools, business, parks, water, etc., to form working groups to draft sections of the plan, and then bring these drafts to broader stakeholder meetings for feedback and then work with the City for inclusion in the CAP. We see this process as essential to engaging a broader cross segment of New Haven in climate change work and in mobilizing these groups to support implementation. The Roosevelt Institute at Yale (a student lead policy think tank) has committed to help NHCM draft the plan and pull together draft sections from the various lead organizations mentioned above. Engaging local organizations and faith institutions in this CAP drafting effort as they will need to be key players in supporting policy development, project implementation, and behavior change campaigns. • Educate elected leaders and the public about the need for increased City support for greenhouse gas emission reductions, which will be needed to implement projects in the CAP. This will include mobilizing citizens and organizations, meeting with Alders and City officials, public outreach events, and media work. • Organize public educational actions to build energy and awareness of the climate change threat. NHCM efforts will be participatory, fun, creative (using art and theater), and encourage people and institutions to learn more about climate change and take action. They will also invite people to join NHCM.
Describe the group's strategy to engage neighbors/community in your work:
The NHCM will organize an inclusive process that will engage community residents, City officials, nonprofit organizations, and people with expertise in needed CAP areas (housing, transportation, greenspaces, etc) to draft the new climate action plan for New Haven. This planning process will also engage new people and organizations who so far have been on the margins of climate change responses and help build a collective able to move the CAP to passage by the City and to help to implement it. Timeline: March/April: Develop CAP framework and decide with City process to complete plan. Coordinate process with CT DEEP as they set up community consultations on the State climate plan. April – September – Organize public events/tabling to educate public about the need for climate action at City, organizational and household level. April-June- Involve 40 leaders/organizations in working groups to draft different sections of the Plan ( home energy, building, land use, etc). Have begun recruiting masters students and others to support drafting sections with community working groups. May to July - Pull in groups of stakeholders and residents to give feedback to draft sections. April to July - NHCM will meet with City throughout to review sections and move process ahead, and organize broader community discussions where needed. May to July: NHCM will work community based groups for passage of strong CAP that will cut GHG emissions significantly and also improve public health and create local jobs. Ongoing - working groups and organizations continue to support implementation of CAP and advocate for needed resources. We are aware that this is an ambitious timeline, but some areas (like home energy and transportation) have already received attention, and other cities have done groundwork that can be modified for New Haven. The real challenge will come later in finding CAP project funding and in implementation throughout the City.
What relevant skills and lived experiences/perspectives do core group members offer that will help with the work?:
NHCM leadership includes members with experience in community organizing, communications strategies, media and reporting, energy policy development, campus organizing experience, negotiating, research, and one member has done a study analyzing climate action plans from around the US. Also, almost all have experience working at the grassroots and engaging the public in community improvement projects, and as such, are able to reach out to a broad network of potential allies and neighborhood networks in New Haven. It’s also a group comfortable both in negotiating complex plans and in getting involved in community based public art projects.
What type of trainings/resources will help the group implement the work?:
We continue to be challenged by a distracted population. While we see some exciting successes, the scale of climate change demands a much more robust response by organizations and individuals. Communication strategies might be a helpful training. Also creative grassroots fundraising tools would be helpful.
How much money does your group need to fully implement the proposed work?:
Please break-down/categorize the program expenses:
|$ Amount||Item||Covered by Grassroots Fund Grant?||Type Of Expense|
Part time stipends
Printing, posters, brochures, ads
Events, food, space, rental.
Are any materials being donated or is your group receiving any services at a reduced rate?:
Please list these materials or services:
In kind staff time; graphic design, space, printing.
What did the group spend during the last calendar year?:
Change vs. Charity
Does the group plan to measure the impact of its work towards addressing this root cause?:
What measures does the group use to track?:
WE measure through NHCM meeting participation and volunteer time outside of meetings; attendance at events; media coverage, and the response from those we're asking to do something, like the City/Mayor Harp. We will also evaluate the involvement of new groups and individuals and whether they stay engaged over the long term. Ultimately, for this project, the measure will be implementation of a strong CAP.
Community Based Fundraising
Does the group have a (long-term) fundraising plan?: