What do we need? Like, yesterday? New grassroots organizers and leaders, from communities most impacted by climate change, building power, developing community resilience, defending their/our communities, and creating a just path forward for our state
So that's what we did this weekend! (Okay, it's been in the works for years). Together with NC WARN, we launched EDLI, the Energy Democracy Leadership Institute, with a first (virtual) gathering this past Saturday, June 27th.
We are working with twenty emerging leaders – all of whom are Black and/or Indigenous people, half of whom are youth – offering hands-on training to combat projects that are perpetuating slow violence and detrimental health effects against their communities. All twenty leaders live and organize in counties where chronic disinvestment, climate disasters and pollution from energy corporations are pervasive issues. Connie Leeper, NCCJC Co-Convener, reflects that "as a popular educator, it is exciting to finally launch with so many truly grassroots participants from rural eastern NC who will be teachers as well as learners in this project. They bear the brunt of the energy burden and will help shape the community organizing already happening in their organizations located in ‘sacrifice zones’. EDLI will help amplify their voices in their work for energy democracy."
Shiva Patel, who we are thrilled is working with us as an EDLI trainer, and Connie Leeper, share more about the six-month long training and leadership project over at Medium, where they write:
The folks behind EDLI believe that local communities should be able to own and make decisions about electricity; no community should be treated as a “sacrifice zone” where corporations are allowed to pollute our environment and exploit our people. In this spirit, EDLI is creating opportunities for people in the community to speak up and speak out about the problems they are facing from Duke Energy’s coal ash and its proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the forest destruction from Enviva wood pellet facilities.
Essentially, EDLI is an energy and climate justice grassroots organizing and leadership program to:
Stop the bad and
Build the new energy economy.
Please check out the whole article (or share the press release!) and join us in wishing this dynamic, intergenerational group of folks a powerful experience of building community, learning with each other, and shaking things up for good in their counties and the state.