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Some Miss. organizations join regional coalition to combat climate change
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K.D. Randles (forefront) and Myelle Turner, apprentices with gardening program in Utica. 
Courtesy: Carlton Turner, Miss. Center for Cultural Production

Some Mississippi groups are joining other organizations across the south to educate the public about climate change and push for policy changes.

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Some 200 organizations including ones in Mississippi have signed on with the Gulf South for a Green New Deal.  The goal of the initiative is to develop local, state and regional strategies to combat climate change in five states, including Alabama, Florida and Texas.  Jennifer Crosslin is with the Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy in Louisiana, which began the coalition.  She says priorities may differ from state to state but a number of issues intersect with climate change.

"In Mississippi I can tell you the priorities are housing, water and sewer infrastructure and energy justice and that transition from dirty fossil fuel to clean energy renewal energy such as solar and wind," said Crosslin.

Carlton Turner is with the Mississippi Center for Cultural Production in Utica, and joined Gulf South for a Green New Deal.   After the town's only grocery store closed in 2014, he says they developed a 17-acre garden for a farmer apprenticeship program focused on sustainable agriculture. Turner says access to fresh foods and the changes in growing seasons are climate change issues.  

"We're recognizing that the seasons are changing.  It's getting warmer.  The storms are coming more frequent and are more powerful. There's just so many different environmental and climate issues.   And we are creating a space in which we can talk about those issues both the fall out and creating solutions to those problems," said Turner 

Turner says they have been participating in policy discussions with state legislators which he thinks is essential in promoting awareness and solutions.  

The Steps Coalition and the People's Advocacy Institute also joined the Gulf South for a Green New Deal.