Climate Justice, Y'all! is a podcast dedicated to lifting up and centering the climate and environmental justice movement in the South. Despite the South being the most biodiverse, diverse, and one of the largest economic engines in the world, we are underfunded and often barred from the decision-making table. So we decided to pull up a chair and amplify the stories of communities in the South hit the hardest by the climate crisis. We’re using good ol’ fashion storytelling to shine a spotlight on these Southern leaders from all walks of life putting in their blood, sweat, and tears to transform the region. The usage of "y'all" in the title is on purpose — we are honoring our Southern heritage of creativity, resilience and ingenuity.
S1E5: Democracy & Climate Change with Nsombi Lambright-Haynes, Bee Moorehead, and Andrea Miller
In this episode, Abigail and Marésha chat with Nsombi Lambright-Haynes (One Voice), Bee Moorehead (Texas Impact), and Andrea Miller (People Demanding Action). We're talking about the importance of protecting our democratic institutions in the context of bold, ambitious climate action. Nsombi, Bee, and Andrea are three of the leading Southern voices when it comes to democracy, voting rights, and why it matters.
S1E13: Dr. Holmes Hummel and Tamara Jones
Buckle up, because this week's episode features some heavy hitters in the world of renewable energy advocacy. Seriously, these two are brilliant. Sit back and enjoy!
Dr. Holmes Hummel founded Clean Energy Works to accelerate investments in cost-effective distributed energy solutions to open the clean energy economy to all. As a champion for inclusive financing, Dr. Hummel led Clean Energy Works to win four international searches for breakthrough climate strategies, including the FiRe Award for high-impact innovation at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance "Future of Energy Summit" and the Keeling Curve Prize for Finance in 2019. Previously, Dr. Hummel served as the Senior Policy Advisor in the Department of Energy’s Office of Policy & International Affairs from 2009-2013, and among other responsibilities, led the agency's finance working group. Dr. Hummel holds a doctorate degree from Stanford University for interdisciplinary research on energy technology scenarios that achieve 100% clean energy for all.
Tamara Jones is the Managing Director of Clean Energy Works. She brings more than fifteen years of managerial experience in the nonprofit and public sectors, including serving as Director of programs and policy in two mayoral administrations in Atlanta and as City Council Chief of Staff in Houston. She also served as Director of Programs and Services for the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance where she administered regional energy efficiency building retrofit programs and for which she was designated a White House Champion of Change in 2011. Ms. Jones holds a Masters degree in Political Science from Yale University.
Dr. Holmes Hummel
S1E12: Bri Knisley and Willie Dodson
This week's episode features a pair of amazing Appalachians in conversation with our hosts:
Bri Knisley is the Tennessee Campaign Manager for Appalachian Voices, where she organizes campaigns for energy democracy and justice in the Tennessee Valley Authority Footprint. Over the last several years, the fight for coal ash worker safety and expanding union jobs at TVA has been central to realizing a grassroots vision for clean, equitable and publicly controlled power in the TVA region.
A Virginia native who now splits his time between Johnson City, Tenn., and Wise County, Va., Willie Dodson has organized with environmental and social justice campaigns in the region for more than a decade. He is Appalachian Voices' Central Appalachian Field Coordinator.
S1E11: Rev. Leo Woodberry and Daniel Joranko
This week, we're talking with two faith leaders from the South, Rev. Leo Woodberry from South Carolina and Dr. Daniel Joranko from Tennessee.
Rev. Leo Woodberry was born and raised in New York City. There he became involved with community organizing at an early age, as a student organizer. Reverend Woodberry is the pastor of Kingdom Living Temple, Executive Director of New Alpha Community Development Corporation in Florence, SC, and a member of the SC Environmental Justice Network. He became involved in environmental work in the 1990s with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, around the issue of mercury emissions and advisories. He joined the newly formed African American Environmental Justice Action Network (AAEJAN) in 1994. AAEJAN was instrumental in uniting people of color across America, and in influencing the Ford Foundation and other philanthropic entities to support people of color communities disproportionately impacted by environmental hazards. Reverend Woodberry has also worked with a host of other organizations such as the; Southern Organizing Committee (SOC), The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Xavier University of Louisiana, The Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University, The Environmental Protection Agency NEJAC (Region Four), SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, The National Wildlife Federation, SC Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, Coastal Carolina League, South East Climate Network, Green Faith, Clemson Education and Research Center, Francis Marion University, WEACT, Advancing Equity and Opportunities, Agricultural Missions, Inc. and a host of other organizations. He has and continues to work in the areas of; water, air, as well as renewable and sustainable energy issues with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control and the US Environmental Protection Agency. Reverend Woodberry attended Francis Marion University and The University of South Carolina. He retired from AT&T after 20 years of service and received three Vice Presidential Corporate awards. The SC State Senate also presented him with an award in recognition of his community service.
Dr. Daniel Joranko is a longtime community organizer focusing on Climate and Energy Justice. He coordinates the Climate Project for Tennessee Alliance for Progress. He convened the Southeast New Green Economy Conference this past year. He serves as the coordinator of both the Creation Care Ministry of the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church and Tennessee Interfaith Power and Light. He was a founder of the national Earthkeepers Program hosted through United Methodist Global Ministries. He served as the coordinator of the prison program at Vanderbilt Divinity School from 2007 -2020 – through which he taught courses composed of VDS students and residents at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution. He has a Ph.D. in Resource Development form Michigan State University. He also has a Master of Divinity Degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological School.
Rev. Leo Woodberry
Dr. Daniel Joranko
S1E10: Dr. Mikhiela Sherrod and Susan Diane Mitchell
In this episode, we chat with two visionary leaders in Alabama and Georgia: Dr. Mikhiela Sherrod and Susan Diane Mitchell.
Dr. Mikhiela Sherrod is the Executive Director of Agricultural Missions, Inc., an 85 year old ecumenical organization that supports rural people in the US, Africa, Caribbean, Latin America in using advocacy and agriculture to address the structural causes of poverty and injustice. She has over 17 years of experience working as a community organizer with Black farmers and rural communities of color in the U.S. and developing countries.
Dr. Sherrod leads a long-term development and capacity restoration agricultural program in Liberia and Sierra Leone that uses regenerative agricultural practices that reinforce adaptation and mitigation of climate change. She is also experienced leading research and evaluation projects that use a racial equity lens to assess and address disparities in health, access to food, and economic opportunities. Dr. Sherrod is vice president of the US Climate Action Network board of directors. She earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Tuskegee University and a PhD in Genetics from the University of Iowa.
Susan Diane Mitchell was born in Washington, DC, the first child of student parents attending Howard University in the 1960s. Growing up for her formative years in the nation’’s capital, surrounded by a culturally rich and excellent education, Susan continued her path in Oakland, California, matriculating in both the finest public and private schools in the area. Ecology, community service, and creative thinking were key principles of her education. The love and sacrifice of her mother and family for her education prepared her well, and upon receiving an Honors Program scholarship, Susan graduated Bishop O’Dowd Catholic High School and left the Bay Area to study at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1985.
She founded the Dynamite Hill-Smithfield Community Land Trust in 2016, and currently serves as their Co-Executive Director. In 2017 she became a Co-Founder of SWEET Alabama, where she still serves as a member of the Advisory Board. As a three year member of the AmeriCorp, she served with Urban Ministries, the YWCA Central Alabama, and The Literacy Council.
S1E9: The Barbaras
Barbara Weckesser and Barbara Nelson are local residents of Pascagoula, Miss. Barbara Weckesser is originally from coal country in Kentucky and retired with her husband in Pascagoula in 2010. Barbara Nelson grew up here in Moss Point and Pascagoula. Both of their fathers worked for local industries. They are the founding members of Cherokee Concerned Citizens, an industrial fenceline neighborhood organization formed in 2013 to demand a buyout for their community because of the health impacts related to industrial pollution. Their homes are located within a mile of seven large polluting facilities, including Chevron Refinery, MS Phosphates Superfund, VT Halter Shipbuilding, BP Enterprise gas processing plant, and more.
An Essential Perspective
The South has for so long been overlooked and even ignored. It’s time to highlight the radical work being done in the environmental, climate, and social justice movements across this diverse region!