Voices for Action

Summer of Action Advocates Come Advocate for Climate Progress

Members of the Summer of Action Advocates Network on Capitol Hill

In late February, EDF hosted a group of environmental allies in Washington, DC to strengthen and build partnerships, share climate priorities for 2020, and voice environmental concerns to elected officials on Capitol Hill. I had the pleasure of welcoming this group and getting to know them during their stay. The participants—members of EDF’s Summer of Action Advocates Network—represented organizations focused on local business, environmental conservation, faith, and civic engagement. This network originates from our annual summer grants program, which issued a total of 57 grants to 47 partner groups nationwide over the past 3 years.

The largest contingent of partners hailed from Arizona, including Arizona Forward, an organization that facilitates community conversations and promotes sustainable economic growth while also striving to mitigate environmental concerns that impact the quality of life for Arizonans. Participants also traveled from Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, North Carolina, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington. During the program, everyone had an opportunity to share their organization’s priorities and the details about their work back home.

For example, The Western Leaders Network is comprised of local officials working throughout the interior West advocating for community resilience and policies that protect environmental resources, public health, and public lands, while the CLEO Institute is educating Floridians about climate change and the devastating impacts that extreme weather, sea level rise, and food insecurity impose on their communities. In South Carolina, the New Alpha Development Corporation is seeking to improves the lives of low income residents both economically and environmentally through the South Carolina State Energy Plan and also through federal policies.

The diversity of perspectives, missions, and experiences was inspiring, not just to me but to all of the individuals present, many of whom were meeting each other for the first time. Not only did we strengthen existing relationships, but we were also able to share ideas while creating new partnerships. I look forward to working with members of this network (and to growing the network!) in the coming years to accomplish our common goal of solving the climate crisis.

Derrick Toledo, representing the Western Leaders Network, briefing environmental allies about his work
Derrick Toledo, representing the Western Leaders Network, briefing environmental allies about his work