Meet Jade Wiles: EDF Action’s Organizer Building Grassroots Power for Climate Action in Georgia
On an August afternoon in Atlanta, sixty people gathered for a discussion on electric vehicles, clean energy, and climate justice. Participants came from all different walks of life; they were grassroots activists, elected officials, industry professionals, teachers, parents, and youth leaders. With a shared passion for environmental advocacy, they united to express their support for federal investments in clean energy.
In partnership with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, EDF Action hosted this event to highlight the urgent need for Congress to address the climate crisis and accelerate the transition to clean transportation. Jade Wiles, EDF Action’s Georgia organizer, left the event feeling inspired; “it was so incredible to see people so eager to be a part of this conversation… building relationships with leaders in this community is empowering.”
Surrounded by the buzz of politics in Washington, D.C., Jade began engaging in advocacy work three years ago. Since then, he’s worked with a labor union, served in the Mayor’s office, and registered voters for the 2020 presidential election and the Georgia Senate run-off. Now, as a climate organizer in Georgia, Jade has developed a passion for climate justice and equity. When asked what he loves about organizing, he mentioned the diversity of the climate community; “People from all different backgrounds support this work… We’re fighting against climate change, and that impacts all of us.”
From his years of experience, Jade has cultivated an organizing philosophy centered on leadership development, partnership, and connection. Jade believes that organizing is – at its core – empowerment. He aims to give volunteers the tools they need to develop skills, become leaders, and serve as organizers in their own communities. As Jade said, “I want to inspire people to make their voices heard… As an organizer, I want my volunteers to be the leaders of this movement.”
One volunteer leader in Georgia, Opal Baker, joined EDF Action as an Ambassador during the 2020 election cycle. Growing up in Jamaica, Opal developed an affinity for oceans, forests, and wildlife; she’s always had a passion for engaging with the natural world. Now, Opal experiences the severe impacts of pollution in her own small town – as a nearby industrial site has been emitting toxic chemicals on the border of East Point for 5+ years. Given her experience, Opal is inspired to take action on a local level; as she says, “this work starts where you live… we need to link arms from one town to the next and work together to see sustainable change.” As a volunteer leader, Opal organizes local activist meetings, plans neighborhood events, and coordinates partnerships with community organizations. She recognizes that now is a vital moment to advocate for bold change; “We’re not waiting for climate change to get here. It’s here, and a lot of people are suffering because of the effects of it.”
With Congress considering once-in-a-generation investments in clean energy infrastructure, EDF Action’s Georgia team is more motivated than ever to mobilize, advocate, and urge lawmakers to take bold action. Join us.
We will be running a series of posts on EDF Action’s grassroots work and the organizers leading the charge in key states and congressional districts! Check back on Wednesday for our next installment in this series. To learn more about how to take action in Georgia, contact Jade at email@example.com or join our EDF Action Georgia Facebook group.