November has brought some cold temperatures to much of the Midwest, but the work of the Network just keeps heating up! In the Connections section, get caught up on Ohio’s fierce fight for clean energy, watch a new video recapping the Academics and Advocates Convening from earlier this year, and learn about a just published climate book featuring a chapter from RE-AMP member, Huda Alkaff. Read about the work that was done at last week’s Access to Clean Energy Is a Human Right Summit, see the latest from the Steering Committee, and look at how RE-AMP is trending on Twitter in Collective Strategy. Then, in the Capacity Building section, view the recorded Strategic Resources Planning webinar, hear about updates coming to our Online Collaborative Platform, and get involved in RE-AMP’s ongoing Book Club. Be sure to check out the latest job postings and upcoming events from around the Network!
Have a story to share? Connect with Network Coordinator, Abby Lerner today at email@example.com.
HB6 – An Update on Ohio’s Fight for Clean Energy from Rachael Belz, Ohio Citizen Action
You’ve probably at least heard a little bit about HB6 in Ohio – the bill signed into law in late July 2019 that bails out Ohio’s two nuclear plants, two coal plants (one in Indiana), and guts the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards.
This fight had it all. There were Republicans who voted for the bill, and some who voted against, and there were Democrats who voted for it, and some who voted against it. FirstEnergy Solutions and their associated dark money groups spent $50 million to get the bill passed, including heavy advertising throughout the state for months. They also spent an estimated $50 million to stop a referendum effort to get the bill on the November 2020 ballot. RE-AMP groups in our Ohio Energy Table and our allies fought hard, and creatively, and were able to hold up the bill much longer than anyone expected. In the end we lost by only one vote.
The good news is that we are not throwing in the towel! We are instead planning to pivot and work to change the conversation, if you will. We’re now making plans to decentralize our efforts and focus on the very local – large and medium-sized cities in our state in particular. That’s where the largest carbon and greenhouse gas emission reductions can come from in Ohio. It’s also where politicians in Ohio’s legislature, secure in their jobs until at least 2020, have little influence. We’ll be focusing on mayors first, and working within the grassroots and grasstops in Ohio to lead the way. Thanks to support from allies like RE-AMP, we are a stronger coalition and table than ever.
We’ve been building power throughout our state for years now. This new effort will help us amplify our message in locations that want to start taking local climate change actions, but don’t always know how to get started. We’re planning this work out now – so stay tuned for more updates to come! If you want to help or get involved, please reach out to me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Academics and Advocates Convening Video Recap
Check out the Organizing Hub (Trainings section) for a video recap from this past summer’s Translating Across Boundaries: A Convening of Academics and Advocates on Climate Change. This two day convening included RE-AMP members, college and university professors, environmental justice leaders, community activists, graduate researchers, and health professionals from eight states.
Coming out of the convening, participants have begun collaborating on at least four topics: bringing solar and community-owned energy to indigenous lands; creating partnerships with communities and universities to conduct collaborative research; climate solutions in rural communities; and utility shut off policy reform.
Contact Sean Carroll, RE-AMP’s Organizing Hub Director, at email@example.com if you’d like to connect with any of the people involved.
The convening was hosted by: The RE-AMP Network Organizing Hub, the Energy Transition Lab, Brian Smith from the CURES Center at Wayne State University and Jodi Slick with Ecolibrium3.
RE-AMP Members Help Connect Faith & Climate in New Book, Rooted and Rising
Rooted and Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis, a new book from authors Leah D. Schade and Margaret Bullitt-Joans, is for everyone who worries about the climate crisis and seeks spiritual practices and perspectives to renew their capacity for compassionate, purposeful, and joyful action.
Huda Alkaff, RE-AMP member and Founder and Director of Wisconsin Green Muslims is one of twenty-one faith leaders, scientists, community organizers, theologians, and grassroots climate activists to offer wisdom for fellow pilgrims grappling with the weight of climate change. With a foreword by Mary Evelyn Tucker and a special introduction by Bill McKibben, the book presents an interfaith perspective that welcomes and challenges readers of all backgrounds. Read more about this newly published work and get details on how to purchase here: https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781538127759/Rooted-and-Rising-Voices-of-Courage-in-a-Time-of-Climate-Crisis
Access to Clean Energy Is a Human Right
That’s what the thirty five RE-AMP members who gathered in Chaska, Minnesota decided at our summit last week, and they started building plans to make it happen!
Members came from six RE-AMP states as well as from Washington, D.C. and Kansas to learn about a human rights framework and apply it to their work in the power sector. We began the meeting by grounding ourselves in the RE-AMP mission, vision, values, and statement on equity. We spent some time aligning around a shared purpose and exploring the connection between climate change and injustice. Several members stepped up to facilitate small group conversations.
We then learned about fundamental human rights principles, and especially those enshrined in the Aarhus Convention: right to information, participation in decisions, and redress. Members of the Task Force on Equitably Decarbonizing Utilities led us through those conversations. As one evaluation response read, “The whole concept of the human rights framework really helped us focus and think differently about things.”
We heard from three members who gave examples of how a rights-based framework changes their approach. Nathan Shepherd spoke of the Iowa Clean Energy Table’s work to develop a ratepayer bill of rights. Yesenia Rivera described Solar United Neighbor’s focus on solar as a way to build wealth. Duane Ninneman talked about Clean Up Our River Environment’s work on “an ethic for water” that includes the rights of water itself.
On the second day, we dove deeply into strategies that can do the most to drive paradigm shifts towards clean energy as a human right. Five key themes emerged: 1) some level of free energy available to all; 2) a carbon tax dedicated to ending fossil fuel use; 3) building out a rights-based framework that speaks to the rights of humans and nature; 4) local control; and 5) inclusive financing that shifts financial risk from everyday people to investors.
Over the course of the day, these ideas were developed as people shared their expertise, their questions, and their passion. Already one action team proposal has come out of those groups, and more are expected in the coming days.
Perhaps the best summary came from the person who wrote this on their evaluation, “It was a demonstration of high capacity thinkers to do complex work.”
Update from the Steering Committee
The RE-AMP Steering Committee convened for our regular monthly conference call on October 15th. Much of the business of this meeting was reported through individual sections of October’s Newsletter such as the State Table’s approved 2019-2020 work for the Global Warming Strategic Action Fund and the Summit on Access to Clean Energy as a Human Right. Be sure to check that out on the Commons if you missed it!
Additionally, the Steering Committee discussed RE-AMP’s proposed 2020 budget and voted to unanimously adopt the operating budget. Sean Carroll, RE-AMP’s Organizing Hub Director, also updated the Steering Committee on the ongoing work surrounding 2020 elections. The group is currently compiling information on 2020 Democratic presidential candidates’ climate platforms and plan to present their views and potential administration’s plans to the Network in an upcoming webinar.
RE-AMP on Twitter
RE-AMP’s on Twitter! Follow us @reamp. Have thoughts on how we can use our Twitter account to further our Network goals? Reach out to Organizing Hub Director, Sean Carroll (firstname.lastname@example.org). Check out some of our recent Tweets!
Strategic Planning Resources from The RE-AMP Network Webinar Recap
This webinar focused on capacity-building and Strategic Planning Resources from the RE-AMP Network. Strategic planning is less about “writing a plan,” and more about engaging in a process that uncovers new ideas and creates goals that are shared by a group of people. This webinar shares key concepts to effective strategic planning, describes the consultation and facilitation services offered through the RE-AMP Network, and shares specific strategic planning tools and exercises.
Go to the Organizing Hub webpage, to watch the recording posted in the Webinars section or to download the how-to guides on strategic planning exercises such as Purpose-mapping and Implementation guidelines under the Written Resources section.
Reach out to Sean Carroll, Organizing Hub Director for the RE-AMP Network for more information.
Online Collaborative Platform Update
We want to remind you that we have some changes coming up for our Online Collaborative Platform, the Commons. While things will look a little different, let me tell you that it will be worth it! Our goal is to continue to improve our platform so it’s easy for you to connect, share information, and access the resources you need.
Groups that work for Action Teams and State Tables
One of the challenges that we’ve had is that our platform is accessible to members only, which hasn’t allowed our Action Teams and State Tables, who are collaborating with members and non-members, to utilize our platform. As a result they’ve had to create their own lists and spaces to connect and share information. Our new platform will allow us to expand access by adding additional tiers of logged in users. So, we’ll be able to give our collaborative partners (non-members) access to the State Table or Action Teams groups they are part of without giving them access to the full platform. We also have created a new user request form to make it easier to request an account.
Improved forum posting so it’s easier to share information and photos
Our forum posting is currently in HTML formatting which means when you copy and paste a drafted message you lose all your formatting and links. As you go in to refine your message and re-add those links or formatting you also see all the coding that takes place which makes it really hard to read a message you’re trying to draft. In the next generation of our platform, we’ve developed something that looks and feels more like a word or google doc that we’re accustomed to working from. You’ll be able to easily copy and paste drafted messages and/or insert photos in the forum posts.
An expanded archives section
We’ve designed a way to archive groups, documents, and other materials from the platform to streamline the spaces we have on the Commons and to give you a place to easily search for any past materials you may be looking for.
We’re continuing to work with our partners to build it out and test it. Our goal is to go live early next year! If you have any questions, contact Sarah Ann Shanahan at email@example.com
This past month, over a dozen RE-AMP members met for a book club discussion on Dr. Robin DiAgelo’s White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism. The discussion was an opportunity to dive more deeply into each of our own personal analysis around racism, as well as developing a sense of a shared political analysis with other network members.
Our first groups got so into talking about the book, we only covered the first half! We’ll be hosting a second book club call in December to talk about the second half of the book. If you’re interested in joining the discussion, you can contact Sean Carroll, firstname.lastname@example.org.
RE-AMP Lunch & Learn Webinar: Transit | December 12
RE-AMP Steering Committee Meeting | December 17
Level Two and Level Three Action Team Applications Due | November 29
Network Thinking Academies | December 3-5