Giving Compass' Take:

• Greg Dalton and his guests, including Gloria Walton, discuss the social justice problems posed by climate change and these two issues can be tackled together to create a sustainable, just world. 

• How can funders effectively engage in climate justice work? What role can impact investing play in this effort?

• Learn about funding coalitions for climate justice

Greg Dalton:  Gloria Walton, let’s begin with you.  How did you get into climate as your area that you are concerned about?

Gloria Walton: So I guess it was kind of in 2004 for people who don't know about SCOPE, we’re a social justice organization known for our community organizing, leadership development, civic and voter engagement work, but we’re also known for our job creation initiatives.  And so when we thought about the climate sector we were actually seeing it as an economic opportunity.  And in particular trying to think about how do we create jobs for low income African-American and Latino families that are poor in working-class like the ones who live in south-central Los Angeles.  And at that time it was billions of dollars that were being invested coming down the pipe and so we were doing our research we figured out that the top polluters at that time are our buildings.  And if you’re familiar with L.A. infrastructure we have a pretty old infrastructure and so we saw this as a great opportunity to create good paying unionized jobs, and that was in 2004.

And if I fast forward to today, I think about one of our members Miss Olivia Barber in south-central Los Angeles. And then we have stuff like the Imperial Highway running through community, which means that diesel trucks also love to come to our community heading to the ports, the ports of Los Angeles. And Ms. Olivia Barber has COPD she's been living with it. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and essentially it's a respiratory disease.  And so on these extreme heat days that we've all been experiencing 117°, 111°, 115° South L.A. being a highly concretize community that has minimal shade trees.  So on these days her COPD is exacerbated which means that her costs for medication goes up because she has to buy more.  She’s not able to go to work some days, and the air conditioner that she bought, one that, you know, that you just put in the window she ran it one day and it actually made her electric bill, her power bill go upwards of $20 which actually matters to her.  It may not matter to some of us in this room, but it was actually pretty major for her.

So when I think about climate and climate solutions I believe that we have to have an intersectional approach that's both about economic resilience that's also about environmental resilience at the community level.  And I believe that I want to believe anyways, that all of us in this room and definitely all of us on this panel I know don't want to have a new clean green economy that still has the same structural inequities and racism and income inequality that exist today.  And so when I think about climate solutions I believe that I wanted to have my mother at the table, workers, Ms. Barber, folks who can actually tell their story and share their solutions so that we actually have solutions that don't just benefit the few but benefit many.

Read the full conversation about climate and justice solutions at Climate One.