Climate change affects everyone, and Citizens’ Climate Lobby endeavors to engage people from all backgrounds and sectors of our society in advocating for climate solutions.
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are natural outgrowths of our values of relationships, integrity, personal power, and being nonpartisan. Diversity helps us develop the best solutions to climate change and broadens the base of support needed for passing legislation.
Our core value about diversity states: “We empower everyone in exercising their personal and political power regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, religion, ability, socioeconomic factors or political affiliation. We seek out, support, and elevate people whose voices may not have been fully heard.” Read all our core values.
Enacting these values is an ongoing process. We have been internally reviewing our processes for several years to ensure that we are living our values and that we are committed to continuous improvement. We are presently working in the following areas:
Education and training: We are working to build our cultural competency and ability to create an inclusive culture, where people of diverse backgrounds are respected, valued, and integrated into our work at all levels. This includes regular and ongoing training for staff. For supporters and volunteer leadership, we will integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion concepts and values into our conferences, national calls, online material, and general training, as well as provide more focused and in-depth diversity and inclusion training for those who are interested.
Diversifying our organization: We are working to increase the diversity of our organization at all levels, including our supporter base, volunteer leaders, regional coordinators, staff and governing boards. Additionally, we are supporting our volunteers as they work on diversity and inclusion in their local chapters.
Partnerships and alliances: We are also working on building diverse support for climate solutions by building strong relationships with other organizations, both nationally and locally.
Citizens’ Climate Moving Forward
We want CCL to be a welcoming and inclusive environment for anyone concerned about climate change and invite anyone who wants to join us in advocating for fair, effective, and sustainable climate change solutions.
We recognize that climate change has and will disproportionately affect those who have fewer resources and less political influence. We work toward climate solutions that are effective, while not doing harm to those who are most vulnerable or under-resourced. Climate change will also disrupt our economy, so we advocate for solutions that support our economic prosperity, health, and the well-being of all communities – especially Indigenous peoples, Black, Latinx, and other communities of color that are most impacted by climate change.
As an organization, we have made a clear and strong commitment to advocating for policies that will significantly reduce emissions and therefore the risks from climate change, while protecting people from undue economic burden from the policy.
Citizens’ Climate understands and values the concept of environmental justice and its definition of equity. We recognize that the policy we advocate for, by itself, will not fulfill the goal of environmental justice. We believe that a diversity of approaches is valuable in the climate movement, and we encourage our supporters to work with and support environmental justice and other groups in addressing equity.
For many, equity also includes meaningful involvement in the process of developing and refining both policy and strategy. We are working to increase our diversity and inclusivity in part so that all voices can be part of that process moving forward.
Citizens’ Climate programs
Some of our current initiatives include:
Volunteer support, outreach, and leadership development
One way we support our volunteers is through Action Teams organized around shared interest and affinities. Some of these teams support our DEI efforts by providing community spaces, engagement with peers, and cultivation of leadership. DEI-related teams include Latinos, Climate and Culture, LGBTQA+Allies, People of the Global Majority, Asian Pacific, Youth, Higher Education, Conservative Caucus, and Environmental Justice, as well as many teams organized around religious affiliation. See our CCL Community website for a list of all of our action teams. Our Spanish-Language outreach includes a website (climavivible.org), translated materials to Spanish and outreach to Spanish-language media. On a regional level, we work with Community Representatives to help our regions and chapters conduct educational programs, training, and BIPOC outreach and support.
Those of us who are alarmed about climate change come from all walks of life, political perspectives, and cultural backgrounds, but historically some people have been less included in the discussion. To widen the circle and ensure that more people participate in CCL, we offer scholarship opportunities for volunteers to attend our annual conference: the Diversity Scholarship (application), designed to diversify the cultural representation of communities in our lobby teams, and the Conservative Scholarship (application), designed to provide political diversity in our lobby teams.
Youth Outreach and Engagement
Historically, the average age of CCL supporters was quite high but, through active outreach efforts, we are now moving much closer to our country’s age demographics.
Our higher education program focuses on students, educators, and non-student allies. For students, we have developed the Campus Leaders Program, which trains and supports them in starting a climate campaign or CCL chapter at their school. Students are also engaged through internships with CCL staff and volunteer leaders. We currently fund seven regional fellows to support higher education outreach. We conduct regular outreach to educators, educational institutions, and other organizations working with youth on climate for our national conferences, regional conferences, Earth Week, and more. For more about our higher education efforts, see citizensclimatehighered.org.
Our Youth Action Team supports volunteers of high school age and younger and encourages them to be active, engaged, and empowered in building political will for climate solutions. Youth involvement in our local chapters and at our regional and national conferences and lobby days is growing each year.
Reaching across the aisle
In line with CCL’s commitment to bipartisanship and nonpartisanship, CCL works to unite people from across the political spectrum in building support for climate legislation. Because conservatives and other right of center volunteers are a minority within our organization, we provide some extra programming to ensure that people who are right of center also find a home in CCL.
The work continues
After commissioning two diversity studies, we created a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan and hired a Diversity Outreach Manager to help us implement the plan. We will continue to work with the diversity committee to set and achieve our goals and objectives.