Spring has Sprung!
"It is time now, and what a time to be alive
In this Great Turning we shall learn to lead in love"

We Shall Be Known by MaMuse
Year after year, springtime brings a fresh dose of bright colors, blossoming plants and regeneration to the earth. This year, those qualities hold added significance as people across the United States get the COVID-19 vaccine and begin creating a post-pandemic world. However, we must keep in mind the suffering that continues in many places around the globe even as we celebrate new beginnings in this country.

Our co-founders Paloma Pavel and Carl Anthony had the privilege of meeting in-person last month after more than a year apart. As Paloma donned her bright new shoes for the visit, she could not help but beam and break out into a dance.

The two spent a lovely afternoon chatting in Carl's backyard and admiring the sprouting datura. They even took a few business calls together!

Here's to new beginnings and old reunions. As we return to some semblance of normal life, keep up your positive work and keep striving to make the planet a better place. We only have one chance at a just and equitable recovery, so let's do our best to make this spring a truly regenerative time.
Gaia Leadership Academy Graduation
June 26th @ 11 am PDT
We warmly welcome you to the graduation ceremony for our spring Gaia interns: Sydney Merrill, Matthew Krivan, Zachary Spicer and Katya Pronichenko. Gaia is the Greek, female embodiment of Earth; the concept of Earth as a living being supporting all of us inspired our intergenerational internship program to grow and empower emerging leaders. The graduates will be sharing their experiences and growth from the past several months. It will be a joyous occasion and we hope to see you there!
Breakthrough Communities is searching for the next group of Gaia interns to continue our work into the summer and fall. If you or someone you know is interested in this opportunity, please consider applying!

At What Point Managed Retreat? Resilience, Relocation and Climate Justice
Earth Institute at Columbia University
Panel Featuring Carl Anthony
June 24th, 3:30-5 PDT

The Earth Institute at the Columbia University Climate School is hosting an entirely virtual managed retreat conference from June 22-25. Our colleague Jacqui Patterson from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will kick off the event with a keynote address. It will feature presentations and discussions about the scientific, social and political challenges surrounding managed retreat -- also known as strategic realignment and planned relocation -- from stakeholders in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.
Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Design National Award Series
June 25th, 8-10:30 AM PDT
The Breakthrough Communities team invites you to attend the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) in Design webinar series, organized by the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Centering Equity in the Sustainable Building Sector Program, and the Social Economic Environmental Design (SEED) Network. At each of the five webinars, project design teams present case studies in design and architecture. Our co-founders Carl Anthony and Paloma Pavel were honored to participate as jurors in choosing award winners, including the Chicago Mobile Makerspace and the Pathways to Equity project located here in Oakland, CA. The next webinar -- on June 25th from 8-10:30 AM PDT -- will examine the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia. Carl and Paloma are excited to act as responders alongside Jacqui Patterson of the NAACP; come learn with us!
Local Youth Leaders Contribute to Global UN Climate Justice Effort
This summer, the United Nations’ (UN) Special Rapporteur is holding a consultation on youth and climate justice for the United States, Canada and Mexico as part of a series of regional consultations with young people across the world. This will guide the UN’s policies and programs focused on youth and children’s right to a healthy environment. As part of this larger effort, the UC Davis Center for Regional Change facilitated an online gathering Friday, May 21, 2021 with youth and youth- serving organizations across California working in environmental justice and climate justice. Youth leaders from the Central Valley, the Bay Area and other regions in the United States were in attendance representing Breakthrough Communities, Central California Environmental Justice Network, and Father & Families of San Joaquin. This was a unique opportunity for local youth climate activists to have critical conversations and share findings that will inform a key report to the UN and impact its global efforts. Youth and adult allies participated in this gathering, building relationships with each other and sharing their work, concerns and recommendations on the environmental rights of children and youth. They articulated their visions for the environment and explored supports that are needed to make that vision a reality. Participants also contributed to the development of a network and framework for further joint advocacy initiatives and outlined plans for further collaborative action.
This event uplifted the powerful movement building work being conducted by youth leaders throughout California and across the country. It also allowed their work to be recognized on a broader scale and helped connect their local efforts to global climate justice initiatives.
Centering Equity and Anti-Racism
The Breakthrough Communities team has undergone several enlightening training sessions about centering equity and anti-racism in our organization and beyond. We are excited to share this knowledge with our peers. On June 8th, the Gaia interns instructed the Environmental Quality Committee of El Cerrito, CA on the topics of equity by design, white supremacy culture and the spectrum of community engagement. This was a fantastic learning opportunity for all involved, including our BC team. Please reach out if you would be interested in conducting a similar training for your organization or simply want to know more!
Our Work with the Bay Area Climate Adaptation Network (BayCAN)
BayCAN held its quarterly all-region meeting on May 5th, bringing together representatives from dozens of California environmental justice organizations. The focus of this meeting was disaster preparedness; in particular, we discussed what we are currently doing and how we hope to equip ourselves to deal with heat, fire and drought. The importance of equity in this process was foregrounded, especially pertaining to a just COVID recovery. Daniel Swain bolstered our discussions with a presentation detailing how the threats of wildfires, droughts and floods will evolve in the coming years. Although this future can be frightening, it was encouraging to connect with so many wonderful people who are tackling these problems. If your organization is interested in these challenges, or simply hopes to connect with like-minded groups, then please consider becoming a BayCAN member!
BayCAN partnered with the Resilient Infrastructure as Seas Rise (RISER) San Francisco Bay project to offer a webinar about sea level rise on May 26th. Three presentations were given, each providing a unique perspective on this dire threat. Michelle Hummel used scenario-based modeling to demonstrate physical and economic feedbacks resulting from shoreline armoring in San Francisco Bay. Jiayun Sun mapped the distribution of the benefits or burdens from sea level rise protection across different communities, giving special attention to Communities of Concern. Mark Lubell elucidated the key governance challenges facing collective action and climate adaptation in the Bay Area, while highlighting progress being made. All in all, the webinar presentations offered a holistic overview of the interactions between natural, built and social infrastructure in addressing sea level rise.
The National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative
For the last year, members of the California Environmental Literacy Initiative (CAELI), have been involved in the launch of the National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative—a large collective impact project focused on creating free resources for districts to support taking learning outdoors during COVID-19 and beyond. The founding partners of the Initiative are Green Schoolyards America, the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley, San Mateo County Office of Education, and Ten Strands. Many members of CAELI’s leadership council are involved in the Initiative. 
We chose to focus on outdoor learning because we knew—and everyone saw last spring—that distance learning massively exacerbates the inequities in our education system. Our resulting National Outdoor Learning Library, written by hundreds of subject matter experts from around the country, from many different fields, who volunteered thousands of hours over the last seven months of 2020, provides guidance for education stakeholders as they consider options for safely returning students to in-person schooling. 

The Green Schools National Network and the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) have recognized the National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative as a Finalist in the Best of Green Schools Michele Curreri Collaborator Award category. The winner of each category will be announced at the virtual Green School Conference on June 29, 2021. We are honored to be nominated for this award. 
Dr. Paloma Pavel & Carl Anthony receive the 2021 Thomas Berry Award
Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker and Dr. John Allen Grim, co-founders and co-directors of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology, presented the 2021 Thomas Berry Award to Carl Anthony and Dr. M. Paloma Pavel in March. On the FORE Spotlights Podcast, Dr. Sam Mickey interviewed Carl and Paloma for their work at the intersection of religion, spirituality, and environmental justice. Access the recordings of Paloma's and Carl's interviews through the links below!
Paloma Pavel's Interview:
Carl Anthony's Interview:
Random Kindness Community Resilience Award Announcement
We are accepting nominations for the Annual Random Kindness Community Resilience Leadership Award! This award is given to members of the community who embody the principles of Random Kindness and are working actively to develop change at the regional scale. Archbishop Desmond Tutu was the first recipient of the Random Kindness Award series. The award is given to honor the values and vision that his life and leadership embody. Recent awardees include:
  • Vandana Shiva, scientist-activist, educator, and founder of Navdanya
  • Tamio Nakano, professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • Jacqui Patterson, director NAACP Environmental & Climate Justice Program
  • Jonathan London, director of the UC Davis Center for Regional Change
  • Rachel Bagby, groundbreaking artivist and founder of Singing Farm
Seed + Spark
The Breakthrough Communities team has had the pleasure of attending several recent installations of the Spark Series. Janine Benyus taught us lessons about biomimicry and Peter Senge elucidated the systems that hold us prisoner. There are many more exciting speakers on the horizon, so make sure to be on the lookout!

We are also thrilled to let you know about Seed + Spark's recent publication "Seed + Spark: Using Nature as a Model to Reimagine How We Learn and Live". The book examines the future of learning and offers recommendations for remodeling our schools, workspaces and social structures using design principles of the natural world. You can buy a paperback version of the book at Amazon or download a free digital copy at the link below.
All-In! Learning Action Guide Update
The Breakthrough Communities team is hard at work on our learning action guide and hope to have it available within the month. The publication will feature exercises and discussion prompts that foster internal growth and global understanding. It is centered around our Breakthrough Compass and the Story of Me, We and the World We Share. Stay tuned for updates!
White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC)
In March, the White House announced the members of the WHEJAC as part of President Biden's Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. We are thrilled that three of the 26 seats have been filled by California activists: Miya Yoshitani, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network; Rachel Morello-Frosch, Professor of Environmental Health Science at the University of California, Berkeley; and Angelo Logan, Campaign Director of the Moving Forward Network. We are also honored to see our partner Peggy Shepard, Co-Founder and Executive Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice, take a leading role as the Co-Chair of the WHEJAC.

The Breakthrough Communities team is closely monitoring this development and others from the executive order, including the Justice40 Initiative. This program encourages the federal government to deliver 40% of its relevant climate investments to disadvantaged communities. The creation of a Climate and Environmental Justice Screening Tool -- building off of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) EJSCREEN -- is another exciting aspect of the plan. Accordingly, the Breakthrough Communities team has been in discussion with the EPA and Angelo Logan, who we expect to conduct a portrait interview with in the near future. We look forward to continuing work with these partners and expanding our nationwide network.
Urgent Matters Book
We are proud to announce that Carl and Paloma have each submitted a chapter for the upcoming book Urgent Matters: Philosophy as Practice in the Ecological Crisis edited by Dr. Lucy Weir. Carl's chapter, 2050: Justice, Sustainability, and the Search for the Common Good, explores how the concept of the common good can address systemic injustices against African Americans and help build a society grounded in racial equity, clean energy, and sustainable technologies. Paloma's chapter, Breakthrough Compass: Navigating Our Climate Justice Crises, introduces the Breakthrough Compass navigational tool which assists frontline activists in growing from protest to agency and includes the story of a coalition of disadvantaged San Francisco Bay Area communities fighting for equity in transportation. Both of these chapters have been in the making for many months and we are thrilled that the publication process is advancing. Stay tuned for more information about the Urgent Matters release!
Climate Justice Portrait: Abby Bresler
Our series of interviews with global climate justice leaders is progressing rapidly and we are thrilled to share another installment with you! Abby Bresler is a climate and disability justice organizer from Lexington, Massachusetts. She is currently taking a year off from her studies at Dartmouth College, where she co-founded the local chapter of the Sunrise Movement as well as the Access Dartmouth club which fosters disability community and advocates for accessibility improvements on campus. In her year off from school, Abby has been a coordinator for the Jewish Youth Climate Movement. Read the full portrait to learn more about Abby and her organizing expertise!
More climate justice portraits coming soon!
Thank you for reading! We love the opportunity to share our experiences with you. Stay tuned for future newsletters as we update you on our collaborations with the California Environmental Literacy Initiative (CAELI), the Bay Area Climate Adaptation Network (BayCAN), and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
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