Energize Alachua! Energy Justice and Savings Fair 

by Michelle Rutledge & David Hastings

What does a Just Clean Energy Transformation look like in Florida?

Climate change is the defining crisis of our age. Each day brings more news about sea-level rise, extreme heat, and climate change-fueled disasters. 

“The unprecedented scale of climate impacts means that we must quickly transition to a clean energy economy. But this transition must be just.”  – Rep. Yvonne Hayes Hinson, District 20 

There are solutions to the climate crisis. “Amid crisis, there is opportunity,” said Albert Einstein. Reduced manufacturing costs for solar and wind power means that new renewables are now cheaper than burning fossil fuels. It does not take a genius to realize that solutions are clear: switch to solar and wind energy. 

The principles of environmental justice include that one or some communities should not endure most of the burden of industrial or energy infrastructure, through policies and practice. The Justice40 initiative is an effort to make good on President Biden’s promise to deliver at least 40 percent of the benefits from federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities. 

Environmental racism is a form of systemic racism where communities of color are disproportionately burdened with the hazards of nearby sources of pollution and toxic waste. As a result, these communities suffer more economic, social, and health problems. Historically, polluting industrial facilities have been placed disproportionally in or near communities of color making race a leading indicator of the negative impacts. 

In practice, environmental racism can take many forms. Recent examples of environmental racism can be found in Alachua County. 

Two different sites proposed for large-scale utility solar power plants in the heart of historically Black areas failed to consult or make accommodations with the affected communities. Both proposals were denied the Special Use Permit by the County but now these review provisions have been removed from the County’s authority by preemption at the Florida state legislature. 

While large solar or wind projects do not have the same harmful pollution as fossil energy generation, the construction and maintenance of these facilities still impacts those living nearby. 

Sierra Club has long been a leading advocate for the transition to clean, renewable energy. As part of this transition, it is essential that we listen to people living in communities where solar power plants are proposed, especially when these are historically disadvantaged. 

We need to put the well-being of people first as we shift to clean energy. Engaging meaningfully with potentially impacted communities early in the process is fundamental. Otherwise, there is no just transition. 

“The climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. 

We will win if we are all on the same team, collaborating and working together. We need everyone on our side to fight for climate justice, and for the transition to clean energy.

To learn more, join us at the Energy Justice and Savings Fair.


Energy Justice & Savings Fair

DATE: Sat., Nov 12   

TIME: 10:00am-2pm (time may change)

WHERE: Santa Fe College, Blount Ctr., 

401 NW 6th St., Gainesville (#5 bus line)


The Energy Justice and Savings Fair is a premier one-day event to engage energy-burdened households with energy saving information and activities that reduce energy costs and increase efficiency.

– Tips and training on how to reduce your energy costs.

– Demonstrations on how to best weatherize your home to save money and energy.

– Hands-on, interactive and creative presentation

– Rep Yvonne Hinson  speaking on the Energy Equity Task Force, and the Inflation Reduction Act.

– Catered complimentary lunch

– Drawing for energy rebates, gifts, cost saving gift bags, and door prizes

– Childcare and energy related activities provided for the kids

For more info contact: jyoti.parmar@sierraclub.org or at  908-720-6584.

The event is sponsored by the Sierra Club – Florida Chapter, Sierra Club Suwannee-St Johns Group, and Bailey Learning and Art Collective, Inc.

About the Sierra Club 

Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with over 225,000 members and supporters in Florida and 3.5 million nationwide. In addition to protecting every person›s right to get outdoors, we work to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. 

The Suwannee St Johns Group is one of 17 local entities of the national Sierra Club in Florida. 

Get In Touch 

Reach out to us! We are a volunteer-led and volunteer-run organization. An article is available as an educational document to encourage continued conversations about these important issues. Get in touch to learn about many volunteer opportunities:  ssjsierra@gmail.com 

Resources for Learning and Practice 

– Energy Justice Scorecard: IEJUSA.org/Scorecard 

– Energy Democracy Scorecard: SC.org/Scorecard 

– Sierra Club Shared Accountability 

Framework and Guide 

– A Transformative Climate Action Framework: Putting People at the Center of Our Nation’s Clean Energy Transition report: UCSUSA.org/Resources/Clean-Energy-Transformation  

– The Justice40 initiative 

– North Central Florida Indivisible

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