Activists rally
(Photo credit: Mark Dixon / Flickr)

Richard Mabion is an environmental activist and president of the Kansas City, Kansas, branch of the NAACP. He says it’s important to engage low-income communities in climate action.

“If we don’t have a total effort in this country to deal with the reduction in our greenhouse gas, we’re just spinning our wheels in mud,” he says.

But a lack of trust can be a barrier. He says too often, strangers come to a community to do outreach, but then they leave just as people are getting to know them. And in environmental groups, Mabion frequently finds he’s the only Black person in the room.

“So that means that we still have people that are non-persons of color feeling they are capable of going into those neighborhoods where there’s a lack of trust and making the difference.”

So he suggests finding community partners.

For example, he worked with the Sierra Club on an energy efficiency campaign in Kansas City. The group gave him background materials. Then he gave presentations to the community.

Mabion says this “train the trainer” approach builds trust and a more effective climate movement.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.