Climate Justice Initiative

people holding sign that says 'climate justice initiative'

Happening Now

In April 2020 The Office of Sustainability entered into a contract with Marisol Jiménez of Tepeyac Consulting to develop and conduct listening and learning sessions with Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) leaders and community members. In collaboration with these voices the Office seeks to begin shaping a locally relevant definition of Climate Equity.

Following the listening and learning sessions Tepeyac will expand community engagement around climate justice and equity with story circles and a youth photo voice project in collaboration with Word on the Street.

The objective of this project is to define Climate Equity with the City’s frontline community members; those most directly affected by climate change impacts identified in the City’s Climate Resilience Assessment.

In an effort to identify communities within the city that are exposed to climate risks the City has developed a map, the Climate Justice Data Map, layering different demographics and climate threats.


In January 2020 Asheville City Council declared a Climate Emergency. Resolution 20-25 states that a Climate Justice Plan be created to consolidate the various separate sustainability goals and department initiatives. The adopted resolution acknowledges the urgent need to combat climate change, the many existing relevant resolutions and goals, and the disproportionate impact of the climate crisis on low income communities and communities of color.

The effects of climate change burden those that contribute the least to climate change and yet are those most socially vulnerable to climate threats. Within the resolution the City committed to keeping the concerns of vulnerable communities central to all climate program planning processes and to invite and encourage such communities to actively participate in the development and implementation of the City’s climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.

The Climate Justice Initiative seeks to identify and support BIPOC  leadership and communities to define Climate Equity within the City of Asheville and inform the direction of climate resilience action.  Climate Justice Plan development will help ensure that frontline communities play a central role in the just transformation of the systems that have established, and continue to perpetuate, the unequal burden of climate impacts.



June- August 2020

  • Individual listening and learning sessions with frontline community members and stakeholders

September-October 2020

November-December 2020

  • Interpret and expand Climate Justice Data Map
  • Develop graphic illustration interpretation
  • Engage community members to plan community story circles
  • Establish and launch Youth PhotoVoice project in partnership with Tepeyac Consulting and Word on the Street youth artists


  • Community report out & next steps:
    • Neighborhood PhotoVoice and project visual installation
    • Determine next steps in partnership with frontline communities
  • Develop Climate Justice story map
  • Convene community story circles in 4 Asheville neighborhoods
  • Neighborhood PhotoVoice finalization and project visual installation
  • Community report out & next steps:
    • Determine next steps in partnership with frontline communities


Supporting Documents

Resolution 20-25 Climate Emergency Declaration

Climate Resilience Assessment

Resolution 11-77 Establishing 4% CO2 Reduction Goal

Resolution 14-27 Waste Reduction Goal and Benchmarks

Resolution 18-279 100% Renewable Energy Goal for Municipal Operations by 2030

Resolution 17-257 Food Policy Action Plan


Contact Information

Amber Weaver, Sustainability Officer



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Climate Justice Initiative News

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