At Earth Advantage, we understand that climate change does not affect everyone in the same way. Frontline communities, including Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC), are disproportionately impacted due to systemic racism. The results are dismal: unhealthy housing, unequal energy cost burden (higher energy bills), a healthcare system that discriminates against BIPOC leading to more illnesses and a shorter lifespan, fewer job opportunities, and more exposure to pollution as more neighborhoods have gentrified and displaced communities to areas with fewer environmental protections.
We are working to fight this injustice and be part of the solution. Our expert instructors are expanding green workforce training opportunities and diversifying the construction industry so we can create the world we want to see - by helping historically underserved communities access skills, credentials, and scholarships that will allow them to secure better career opportunities in green construction. Since 2018, we’ve trained over 250 students through our valued partnerships with Oregon Tradeswomen, Constructing Hope, Heart of Oregon Corps, Portland Community College, and the Blueprint Foundation, and in 2020 we will begin to support Portland Youth Builders, Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, and the Green Workforce Academy.
Earth Advantage is dedicated to ensuring that affordable housing is healthy, sustainable, and durable, and offers no-cost green home certifications to affordable housing providers for their single-family housing projects. In these uncertain times of climate change, we are focused on the adoption of resilient sustainable homes to lower frontline communities’ energy burden while helping these communities gain access to healthier homes. We also know green construction can drastically reduce carbon emissions and avert the catastrophic effects of climate change and its disproportionate effects on these communities.
We actively support and value diversity in our company culture, the recruitment of staff and board members, and partnerships with organizations and individuals in order to propel the building industry toward a socially, economically, and environmentally just future.
Since 2015, Earth Advantage has been engaged in anti-racism and anti-discrimination efforts and training and we will continue to prioritize this important work. Part of this is understanding the role we can play in recognizing the historical injustices that have led to a lack of safe and healthy housing options for BIPOC. We aim to honor the differences that make us human by collaborating with partners who represent these communities and working to elevate their voices and amplify their work.
Lastly and most importantly, we understand that sometimes our role is to pause our action and instead listen deeply to the priorities and experiences of frontline communities.