The Sustainable Environments Program works from a sustainable development perspective to demonstrate that a healthy environment is the backbone of a healthy economy and a democratic society. We fund three key related lines of work – Climate Change, Green Economy, and Transportation and Smart Growth – that aim to transform how Americans work, consume and move. Together these will help make the theory of a carbon-free society a practical and achievable reality for communities across the United States.

Climate Change

Global climate change remains one of the greatest challenges we face, jeopardizing the livability of communities, the economic prosperity of our nation and the ecological balance of our planet. The Surdna Foundation supports domestic efforts to inform the public and policymakers about why climate change occurs, how economic and equity issues are linked to its environmental impacts, and what solutions can be implemented now. Surdna favors building support for programs that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create economically competitive, sustainable and equitable communities.

Green Economy

For too long, we have been making small tweaks at the margins to show that environmental protection is not at odds with jobs or economic development. The development of a green economy is increasingly being recognized as central to long-term economic prosperity and the future of our planet. The Surdna Foundation is focused on demonstrating that climate change measures will not harm the economy and that jobs and businesses can be created that will revitalize communities and our manufacturing sector and create pathways out of poverty for low-income communities. We support local and regional models across the United States and play a bridge-building role between those places of innovation and national policymakers.

Transportation & Smart Growth

Transportation and land use investments are key drivers of development. For two decades, the Foundation has been dedicated to smart growth, supporting paradigm-shifting transportation policy and land use reforms at the local, state and federal levels. Those gains, however, have only been partly realized in practice. Today, the window of opportunity for catalyzing deeper reform in transportation policy and scaling up innovative models has never been more open. We support policy and planning that foster sustainable and equitable development while also addressing climate change and discouraging investments that would “lock in” decades of future emissions and require a much heavier lift than is feasible from other reduction strategies.