HARC is committed to developing and implementing policies and programs that support ecological, societal, and economic health and vitality that will meet the needs of the present generation without compromising those of the future. With a focus on the sustainability pillars of environment, people, and the economy, HARC will use diverse investments and science-based strategies, in partnership with under-resourced communities, to:
Climate equity involves ensuring the just distribution of the benefits of climate protection efforts and alleviating unequal burdens created by climate change. It means working to balance access to key resources, while protecting under-resourced communities and populations from environmental hazards, regardless of race, income, or other characteristics.
Climate equity solutions can be complex and must stem from strong relationships with local communities. Solutions should be developed with those communities, not simply for them. Getting to those solutions requires ongoing research and policy analysis to ensure that the final result is credible, cost-effective, and addresses community needs.
Our Community Benefits Hub framework aims to:
An equitable transition to a clean energy future requires that the communities affected by industrial development and operations have the opportunity to participate in and influence the design and implementation of the energy systems that are intended to serve them.
As part of our climate equity strategy, HARC has joined the HyVelocity Gulf Coast Hydrogen Hub (HyVelocity), a collaborative of successful global energy partners working to advance clean hydrogen in the region. Through this DOE-funded program, HARC will work with HyVelocity partners to engage communities in planning for benefits programs that meet their needs and bring investment and good jobs to fenceline and disadvantaged communities.
THRIVE is working Towards a Healthy, Resilient, Inclusive Vision for Everyone in Port Arthur.
THRIVE is a multi-stakeholder community environmental justice initiative aimed at clean air, water, and energy, flood and climate resilience, and improved housing, jobs, and health. Programs in this initiative include equity-informed climate and disaster planning; supporting increased access to solar and battery storage in low-income neighborhoods, particularly on emergency shelters; clean energy job training; and planning, development, and evaluation of a green infrastructure pilot incorporating a rain garden and permeable pavement to reduce low-level flooding. All programs have been developed with input and feedback from Port Arthur residents and community leaders directing goals and priorities.
HARC’s commitment to climate equity is a discernible and integral part of all our work. Our programs and initiatives focus on providing science-based solutions for the impacts of climate change to all communities, particularly those that have been systematically denied a full opportunity to participate in economic or social benefits, or who have limited or no access to resources, or who live in close proximity to a source of pollution.
Specific programs and initiatives include:
Powered for Good – This project, funded by the DOE’s Solar Energy Technology Office, focused on delivering clean, affordable, 100% renewable electricity options for low-income households in Texas who can choose their electricity provider. Alongside Harris County Longterm Recovery and United Way, Powered for Good helped deliver 250 micro solar + storage units to organizations in the Houston area focused on keeping residents safe during extreme events.
ForUsTree – This USDA Forest Service funded project allows HARC, in partnership with several organizations, to use an equitable and inclusive community-based approach to plant trees, foster community resilience, implement reforestation projects and education activities, and improve access to employment in the most vulnerable and underserved communities in Houston and Harris County.
A Case for Cool Trees – This report, funded by the Mitsubishi Corporation, provides guidance on how to plan and conduct urban tree plantings equitably in order to reduce climate and health risks, and makes the evidence-based case for increasing tree canopy and improving tree equity in cities, especially for urban heat mitigation. The report highlights the importance of community-driven approaches to align planning, design, and implementation with the goals and vision of community members.
Solar for All – HARC has joined a coalition of municipalities and nonprofits in Texas led by Harris County in an application for an EPA grant that would provide low-income communities with access to solar energy. If funded, the project will result in lower energy costs for over 46,000 low-income households across Texas.