Here & Real is an ESI project dedicated to direct engagement with U.S. regions most affected by climate change and an emerging low-carbon economy. Partnering with regional organizations and institutions, we combine world-class research with attention to local values and economic realities in order to support decision-makers and residents as they work to understand—and help create—a more resilient future.
Here & Real’s approach is to listen thoughtfully to real and perceived roadblocks to taking local action on climate change; respect communities’ deep-seated values; and pursue shared, science-based goals across political lines.
In Greene County, PA, coal mining companies hold a significant presence and are major contributors to the local tax base. Under the direction of ESI, MIT students have spent time in the region analyzing the hydrocarbon industry’s local tax contributions and conducting scenarios to model how the nation’s changing energy market will impact the county. In partnership with a local community organization, these findings will be embedded into summer workshops and county fairs to help residents more clearly understand their economic prospects and create a future consistent with both their values and the realities of climate change. Our engagement with Greene County will provide a template for other fossil fuel-producing regions to understand the risks they might face, so that they can work now to prioritize community stability and economic justice for workers and residents.