The communities most overburdened by pollution and climate change often lack access to the legal resources they need to push for systemic change.
This can leave them locked out of critical conversations about both the burdens and solutions that affect their communities every day. To achieve meaningful change, communities must be able to define their own grievances and the path forward to remedy them.
Through community lawyering, CLF helps meet these needs while also building our connections to and trust with communities living on the front lines of climate and environmental harms. We recognize that these kinds of collaborations are critical if we are to effectively carry out our New England-wide work.
Community lawyering allows our legal advocates to contribute skills, knowledge, and strategy to support initiatives identified by and with community members. Our environmental and climate justice partners contribute their local expertise, including on-the-ground, lived experience, to guide decision making. They also bring an understanding of community organizing and deep knowledge of local conditions and historical context.
Together, we work to change the balance of power and decision-making on environmental, climate, and public health issues that impact communities.
As a result, community lawyering builds on our existing relationships and creates new collaborations between CLF and community-based partners. It also creates a shared opportunity to change systems that, for decades, have excluded and overburdened low-income, immigrant, refugee, Indigenous, and other communities of color.