We prioritize a shared understanding of social, economic and environmental outcomes through the terms and movements on this page. Our staff has compiled this vocabulary list to advocate alongside our communities.
Our energy system is exclusionary and overly technical. Some terms that come up in discussions are only referred to by acronyms and translation services are not always present or accessible when needed. In order to achieve a just transition, it’s key that climate-impacted communities lead and influence these new programs and policy.
- Climate-impacted communities
Communities that experience disproportionate climate burdens and hazards due to infrastructural, social, or historical factors; including, but not limited to: utility and government neglect, redlining, and income.
- Climate Justice
A movement that addresses the disproportionate social, economic, public health, and other adverse impacts climate change has on climate-impacted communities.
- Community Advisory Board (CAB)
A collective group of paid community members and organization representatives that participate in gatherings to identify community insights and vote on decision-making for local solutions.
- Community solar
A solar power installation that accepts capital from and provides output credit and tax benefits to multiple customers, including individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and other investors.
A jointly owned and democratically controlled business or organization. Cooperatives can be owned and controlled by the people they provide service to, the workers employed by the entity, or (in the case of a housing co-op) the people who live there.
- Community-led solar
A form of community solar that aims to center the voice of the community who is benefitting from the array by prioritizing its needs. Each community-led solar project is inherently different given the variability of the communities which they serve. Input on the projects is ideally gathered through a community advisory board.
- Credit unscored
Community members with insufficient data to obtain a credit score.
- Environmental justice
A set of social, economic, and environmental principles established at the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit held on October 24-27, 1991 to realign the environmental movement through prioritizing justice for the racial, health, economic and social inequities that resulted from colonization, industrial facility siting and industrial development.
- Economic justice
A set of moral principles for building economic institutions, the ultimate goal of which is to create an opportunity for each person to create a sufficient material foundation upon which to have a dignified, productive, and creative life beyond economics.
- Energy Burden
The portion of household income which is spent on energy costs.
- Energy Equity
The empirical and qualitative measurement of access to the energy system to prioritize the inclusion of climate-impacted communities. This inclusion builds access to clean energy and participation in the public and private energy sector.
- Energy insecurity
When living expenses exceed income to generate the circumstances in which families and neighbors lack the funds to pay household energy expenses.
- Energy Democracy
A movement to decentralize the energy system by centering communities in the ownership and access of clean, affordable local energy.
- Energy Justice
The goal of achieving equity in both the social and economic participation in the energy system, while also remediating social, economic, and health burdens on climate-impacted communities. The principles of energy justice explicitly center the concerns of climate-impacted communities and aims to make clean energy more accessible and affordable for all communities. The practitioner and academic approaches to energy justice emphasize procedural (determining how fairly people are treated), retributive (based on punishment for wrong-doing) and restorative justice.
- Environmental Racism
The international historic and current racist, discriminatory and prejudicial governments, practices and policies which created a landscape of racial disparities and were perpetuated over time through environmental pollution, dilapidated infrastructure, and limited economic opportunities.
- Queer ecology
A movement demanding that we meet the climate crisis collectively with ideas that remake our relationships with nature through acknowledging that queer communities are uniquely positioned to lead on climate adaptation through embodied strategies already inherent or familiar to queer experiences.
- Racial Justice
The systemically equitable treatment of people of all races, resulting in equitable opportunities and outcomes for all. Racial justice encompasses racial equity and anti-racism. Racial justice requires more than the absence of discrimination and inequities. The principles of racial justice require the presence of deliberate systems and supports to achieve and sustain racial equity through proactive and preventative measures.
- Restorative Justice
A community-based approach to justice leveraging adaptable techniques, such as group meetings, to reconcile crimes, victims and support community members
- Social Justice
A commitment to building a fair and equal society in which each person and all groups are valued and affirmed. Social justice encompasses efforts to end systemic violence, racism, and all systems that devalue the dignity and humanity of any person. Social justice recognizes the legacy of past injustices around us, and promotes efforts to empower individual and communal action in support of restorative justice and the full implementation of human and civil rights. The principles of social justice push humanity to create a civic space defined by universal education and reason and dedicated to increasing democratic participation.