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Center for Sustainable Communities – Featured Community Partner

The Center for Sustainable Communities (CSC) collaborates with cities and counties, special districts, state, and state governments to develop policy and implementation strategies for climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, healthy community planning, land use, and water nexus, and other sustainability and fault tolerance issues. CSC brings together faculty, students, and professionals (recently retired environmental leaders) to provide students with mentorship and professional development opportunities and help our government partners address a variety of environmental, economic, and social issues.

Since the climate catastrophe is caused by large-scale systemic human activity, big solutions and big initiatives are required to address its consequences. Resisting grassroots systemic pressure is critical to stopping what is destroying us - entrenched, toxic practices prioritizing profit over people. But it is also vital that we visualize the actions that we will need to perform. We must apply scientific, technological, and engineering knowledge to address practical issues related to the impact of climate change on the world's most vulnerable communities. Garry Harris is perfect for this position.

According to Harris,

“VEJC sets the standard for similar EJ organizations across the country.”

He said further “VEJC brings comfort as well as genuine engagement and resources to frontline and fenceline communities who need it most.”

Harris describes himself as a "scientist, engineer, activist, religious leader, educator, and advocate" with a background in the energy industry, and his experience, knowledge, and beliefs give him a unique perspective on the scale of technology and infrastructure. Transformations are needed to ensure a sustainable future. Harris believes that a sustainable future must prioritize the population most susceptible to the effects of climate change. We cannot achieve sustainability without equity if sustainability means building institutions that secure a future for future generations.

Harris founded the Center for Sustainable Communities (CSC) in 2015 to help communities become healthier, cleaner, and safer using his understanding of science, engineering, and technology from environmental justice and equity perspective. While many of CSC's projects are local, the company operates throughout the United States, making it one of the few Joint Work Plan partners with a national presence. "Give me the theme of sustainability, and we either did it, we are doing it, or we are going to do it," adds Harris.

To achieve its goals in 2021, CSC has implemented around 70 community-based solutions. Partnering with higher education institutions and government agencies to develop computer technology to assess environmental hazards in vulnerable communities; developing a workforce app to help recruit jobs with a sustainable living wage; developing an agreement on social benefits to ensure stable paid work and career growth, and increasing both the rate and a total number of COVID shots through effective grassroots campaigning.

For more information about the CSC, contact us.

Garry Harris

Managing Director Center for Sustainable Communities

phone: 757 492 0678

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