For over one hundred years, the fossil fuels we’ve spewed into the sky have wreaked havoc on the planet. We can say with equal certitude that for over four hundred years, institutional racism has wreaked havoc on people of color.
Our organization works to mitigate the first issue – climate change. But we acknowledge the second issue and join a long overdue chorus to say:
The murder of George Floyd was not an aberration. His death is just one of the latest resulting from a failure of society to see racism clearly and to dismantle the structures that have enabled it to continue.
In our work to speed the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, we have always seen how institutional racism has permeated the energy world. Why wouldn’t it? It permeates everything. So we are not going to ignore that which is in our sphere of influence. In our field, the imperative of centering diversity, equity, and inclusion is beginning to take hold. And none too soon. We must all do better. As a private non-profit, we will exercise whatever influence we have to break down the old structures in the energy field, and to help create new ones that serve people equitably.
Because we have to turn the spigots down on fossil fuels for planetary and public health, let’s make sure that we move even faster to turn off the spigots that poison the communities in Massachusetts and Rhode Island that have suffered for so long.
And as we bring clean energy to the mainstream, we must intentionally choose policies, programs, and projects that benefit the communities that would easily be ignored by market forces unguided by considerations of morality.
In this century, there is no workplace that can choose to avoid taking on climate change and racism. We are no different. Together, we will walk the walk to confront these inconvenient truths.