Recent News

SustainUS Stands with Ferguson

This is a different type of post than anything we've posted before. But we think it's a critical one in our work to build a better world. 

Two weeks ago, unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Since then, a movement has grown calling for #JusticeForMikeBrown and an end to police violence inflicted upon communities of color. 

We ask SustainUS members to stand in solidarity with the #Ferguson movement and call for racial justice in the United States. We believe truly sustainable development is impossible if communities of color in the United States continue to face police violence and systemic oppression. 

Sustainable development is about more than stabilizing the climate or preserving biological diversity. At its core, sustainable development is a vision of a just world where all people, present and future, can meet their needs. The shooting of Michael Brown shows how far we are from achieving this vision. 

Hands Up United and organizations in St. Louis are calling for two solidarity actions to stand with #Ferguson this week: 

We ask you to join these solidarity actions and to talk with your friends and family about the #Ferguson movement and why it's so important. We also encourage you to listen and learn. This blog post by organizer Deirdre Smith explains why racial justice is integral to confronting the climate crisis. And the Don't Shoot Project puts faces on the many potential victims of further police violence in communities of color. 

In addition to joining a rally, you can take action by donating to support Mike Brown's family and continued organizing on the ground in St. Louis. Hands Up United and the Organization for Black Struggle have created an excellent guide on ways you can give money to stand in solidarity with the fight in Ferguson. Please consider donating if you are able. 

SustainUS still has a lot to learn about allyship, and we welcome your suggestions on how we can become a better organization working toward anti-oppression and collective liberation. For now, we are grateful to be part of the "movement of movements" working for a just and sustainable world.

-The SustainUS Steering Committee

You're Invited: SustainUS Happy Hour

Are you a SustainUS alum living in New York City? Then come to a SustainUS Alumni Happy Hour Fundraiser on Thursday, June 26 in New York City. Join fellow SustainUS alumni and members of the SustainUS Board of Directors Alumni Engagement Committee for an evening of drinks and networking!
Where: Jimmy's 43's Private Back Room. 43 East 7th St. between 2nd and 3rd Ave. NYC
When: June 26, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Suggested Donation: $10. 
Special Guests: Sarah Konner (a 2013 LeadNow Fellow) and Marcie Smith (2010-2011 SustainUS Steering Committee Co-Chair) will discuss their involvement with SustainUS and how it has impacted their work.
For more details and to RSVP, please click here. If you can't join us, please consider making a donation. All proceeds will benefit the SustainUS LeadNow Fellowship Program. 
Hope to see you on June 26th!

Response to Michael Bloomberg's Appointment as UN Special Envoy

SustainUS is pleased to recognize the recent appointment of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as the UN Special Envoy for Climate and Cities. We appreciate and support the United Nations’ continuing recognition of the importance of urban spaces in the fight against climate change. With over 50% of the world’s population living in cities and that number rising every day, urban policy offers an important and effective way to address issues of sustainability, development, resilience, and social justice. 

Read more: Response to Michael Bloomberg's Appointment as UN Special Envoy

SustainUS Statement on the EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan

Yesterday the Obama Administration took its largest step yet to curb dangerous carbon pollution and act on climate change. We acknowledge the President's action as a critical first step, but the Clean Power Plan is far from sufficient. The basic reality is simple: To avoid catastrophic climate impacts, we must limit global warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius and keep over 80% of fossil fuel reserves in the ground. 

The Clean Power Plan needs more ambition, particularly in its 2030 goals. SustainUS Co-Chair Matt Maiorana said: "The Administration's Climate Action Plan claims the U.S. will 'lead international efforts to combat global climate change and prepare for its impacts,' but these weak 2030 targets fall far short of what the science says is necessary. We need real aggressive action to catalyze meaningful contributions and an acceptable outcome at COP 21."

The U.S. must show leadership by working with China, India, the European Union, and other countries to forge a bold and ambitious global agreement in 2015. This agreement should stabilize the climate and ensure a just transition for all countries, especially those most vulnerable to climate disasters.

Real action demands an energy sector with 100% decarbonized power by 2030, not policy that incentivizes shifting from coal to natural gas. SustainUS Co-Chair Leslye Penticoff stated: "We oppose the President's misleading 'all-of-the-above' energy strategy, which in reality prioritizes fossil fuel extraction and export over meaningful investment in alternative energy. For President Obama to secure a strong climate legacy, much more action is needed to reduce fossil fuel subsidies and expand renewable energy capacity. We will continue building a powerful movement for climate justice until our future on this planet is secure."

Announcing a New SustainUS Initiative: Climate Action Lab!

We're launching a new initiative called Climate Action Lab to incubate youth-driven campaigns that push for ambitious domestic action on climate change. We’ll take groups of 8 to 10 committed young activists, put them together in a house (with expenses covered!) for three months, and help them run campaigns pushing for tangible policy change on climate. Climate Action Lab will be inaugurated with one house this spring, followed by a national expansion this summer.

Right now, we’re looking for skilled young organizers to form the inaugural class of Climate Action Lab Fellows this spring in Washington, DC. These Fellows will live together in a group climate activist house from March 3rd - May 25th and run a campaign focused on securing ambitious EPA carbon standards. Fellows will engage in direct action, media work, lobbying, canvassing, grassroots organizing, and a variety of other tactics. In addition, the Spring Fellows will help develop the full Climate Action Lab model for summer expansion. 

If you’re interested in joining Climate Action Lab in March as a Spring Fellow, fill out our Online Application by February 10. For more information check out the Spring Fellow Job Description or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  with any questions. 

Read more: Announcing a New SustainUS Initiative: Climate Action Lab!