Anthropocene Alliance (A2) has 125 member-communities in 35 U.S. states and territories. They are impacted by flooding, toxic waste, wildfires, and drought and heat — all compounded by reckless development and climate change. The consequence is broken lives and a ravaged environment.
The goal of A2 is to help communities fight back. We do that by providing them organizing support, scientific and technical guidance, and better access to foundation and government funding. Most of all, our work consists of listening to our frontline leaders. Their experience, research, and solidarity guide everything we do, and offer a path toward environmental and social justice.
Supported by outstanding partner organizations with expertise in engineering, hydrology, public health, planning, and the law, A2 leaders have successfully halted developments in climate-vulnerable areas; implemented nature-based hazard mitigation strategies; organized home buyouts; and pushed for clean-ups at superfund sites, toxic landfills, and petrochemical plants.
We support everyone we can, but our special priority is people who have suffered the worst environmental impacts for the longest time; that usually means low-income, Black, Latinx, Native American and other underserved communities.
Here are some of our achievements:
In the five years since our founding, we’ve grown to more than 125 members, three quarters of which are priority communities. 78% are led by women.
74 communities have now been matched with pro bono scientists, lawyers, policy and technical experts and artists. The value of that support is $4.4 million dollars.
Nineteen of our grassroots leaders met with their members of congress; many have attended multiple meetings (we’ve organized 43 meetings in total.)
We’ve helped distribute funds for 50% of our members to a value of $17.7 million dollars — including $13 million for Rosewood Strong (Horry County, SC) to pay for the buy-out of 60 flooded homes.
Seven A2 communities and their cities have been matched with U.S. Army Corps Silver Jacket engineers to receive floodplain management assistance. Five more have been matched with planners and engineers from the National College Sea Grant program.
In the last 12 months, we have made 108 introductions between our members and the media. In October 2021, we connected the Gullah-Geechee Sea Island Coalition to ABC’s Nightline program. The 40 minute broadcast was beautiful and powerful and seen by about 900,000 viewers. In the same month, six A2 members were featured by Science Friday, which has 1.8 million listeners.
And we are still growing! We expect to have more than 200 grassroots leaders by 2025.
Our newest initiative, Vision/Action 2025, will direct more than $60 million of federal, state and foundation support to 30 low-income, Black, Latinx, and Native American communities to buttress climate change resilience. Our initiative is also intended to highlight the need to change federal, state and municipal programs to make them more equitable and effective.
*What’s in a name?
“Anthropocene” is the name of the epoch in geologic history when earth systems no longer follow their natural course but are directed by humans. Its geologic markers, found across the globe, consist of technofossils (industrial litter deposited by rivers and streams) and radionuclides (from atomic blasts). Before it is officially part of the geologic time scale, the name must be adopted by the International Union of Geological Sciences.
But regardless of its official acceptance, Anthropocene has entered our vocabulary. The reason is it summarizes what so many people have understood for two generations: that humans have changed for the worse the physical and biological nature of the planet. The degradation of air, water and soil, the disappearance of habitats and extinction of species, and the growing threat to human civilization itself, combine to make ours a perilous time.
The solution to the crisis is not obscure. It is simply humans acting in concert – in alliance – to protect vital air, water and land, and end the use of fossil fuels and other sources of global warming. Anthropocene Alliance was formed to advance this essential work of self and community transformation.
Illustration top: Giuseppe Pelizza da Volpedo, The Fourth Estate. Click to Learn more about this artwork.