Our Story

Through robust research and engagement, the Rhode Island Green New Deal Research Council seeks to determine what a Rhode Island Green New Deal looks like in policy and practice.

Climate change, surging costs of living, and growing inequality are leading to uncertainty in the years to come. Forced to grapple with these crises, young people are mobilizing and leading the call for bold solutions to safeguard the future. The proposed Green New Deal resolution in Congress has injected an important dialogue about the need for creative solutions that adequately respond to today’s challenges. Integrating these solutions into a systemic approach to how we think about our economy, our environment, and equity, the Green New Deal is based on the narrative that our challenges are inextricably linked - you cannot adequately solve one problem without the other.

Rhode Island’s three main vulnerabilities call for creative solutions:

  1. Rhode Island is particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts. The longer we wait to take action, the greater our challenge will be.

  2. Rhode Island’s economy is experiencing a prolonged stretch of economic stagnation. The state is usually among the first to fall into recession and the last to climb out. For the last few decades, proposed fixes have not worked.

  3. Basic living expenses are surging and inequality is holding back communities. Rhode Island’s poverty rate is the highest in New England. Our state has structurally become a place of haves and have-nots.

A Rhode Island Green New Deal, created by all Rhode Islanders who come to the table, could be the answer.

With modest funding from private donations and Brown University’s Climate & Development Lab, the Rhode Island Green New Deal Research Council was formed in January 2019 to develop a framework for a statewide Green New Deal that appropriately meets Rhode Island’s unique economic and social needs. The Research Council is currently advised by an Advisory Council of members who bring a breadth of expertise and experience in the areas of education; fisheries; agriculture; workforce training; public health; academia; small business; environmental justice; policymaking; and organized labor.

The Climate & Development Lab serves as the technical hub for the data-driven research within this effort. Research undertakings are advised by the project management team in collaboration with members of the Advisory Council. Analysis is currently carried out and written by experts and Brown students with assistance from community volunteers.

Because of the broad scope of this endeavor - which touches every Rhode Islander and all sectors of the economy - ongoing public engagement is critical. Further engagement of communities and stakeholders is ongoing and will continue. The Research Council's guiding principle is to ensure that its work is driven by Rhode Island's communities. By merging research, engagement, and policy, it is the goal of the Research Council to produce well-informed analysis of creative solutions that ensure Rhode Island's future. Any Rhode Islander who brings expertise, an experience, and a shared concern is invited to join the conversation.