Working for environmental justice? You want to add public banking to your platform. Mass Public Banking organizer Paige Curtis has detailed how public banks can offer necessary financing for community based renewable energy programs, small farms, and local food.

These sectors are vital to public health, resiliency, and equitably meeting climate goals, but face profound financing gaps that the private sector, municipal and state budgets, and private philanthropy won’t or can’t consistently fill. Yet in other countries, where public banks have a long history, financing for climate-related projects is common, and those projects have been successes.

“Public banks are legally obligated to prioritize social benefit over profit, so unlike conventional banks, they tolerate the long-term horizon that climate-related projects require to demonstrate benefit,” she writes.

Another way that public banks can promote environmental justice is through redressing long-term inequities in lending to Black family farmers. The number of Black farmers in Massachusetts is small, but growing, supported by a land trust and other programs that could in turn be supported financially by a public bank.

As Paige points out, our Massachusetts public bank bill makes lending for climate and local food a priority. With good projects sitting on the shelves and the pace of climate disruption accelerating yearly, there is no time to waste in bring the public’s money home to work for the public good. With support from lawmakers, community development professionals, and the public, we can make a public bank a reality.

You can read the full article, featured as part of Grist’s Fix Solutions Lab, here.