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Greenlink News

Building Bridges: The Power of Greenlink's Listening Tours

Woman cupping ear to listen
Image by Robin Higgins from Pixabay

At Greenlink, we believe in the power of direct engagement and active listening to guide our decisions on what projects to pursue or develop. As the Dalai Lama says, “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something.” We’ve found that the most impactful products and services we’ve created are built on listening to people, their work, strengths and needs. This allows us to stay nimble in the dynamic world of energy, especially during this pivotal time of the climate crisis. 


What we mean by “dynamic” is that the energy sector is rapidly changing. Wind and solar power are breaking records with renewables set to account for over 90% of global electricity expansion over the next five years. This means cities, community organizations, and companies are faced with the challenging task of figuring out how best to seize the moment as they go about overhauling on energy policies and infrastructure.

Listening tours are one of the most effective ways we learn about the most pressing needs of our partners and possible partners. It requires having numerous conversations and listening to many community members to see themes rise to the surface. We interview grassroots leaders, policy makers, and trailblazers across the country that inform our equitable processes, data development, and climate policies.

Indicators in the Greenlink Equity Map (GEM) came from our listening tours, including redlining, heat index, asthma rates, and energy burden.

To date, we’ve interviewed over 300 climate advocates across the country. These interviews are not merely consultations with our current partners, they are meaningful discussions aimed toward defining and iterating the direction of our efforts to ensure we meet city and community needs as context changes overtime. For example, every indicator within Greenlink’s Equity Map (GEM) — whether transportation burden, urban heat index, redlining, urban tree canopy, amongst others — came out of listening tours..

Simply, listening tours are a form of customer discovery and relationship building. It is a co-creation process where the input we receive plays an integrated role in our work . We listen. We understand. We direct our work based on what we’ve learned. Relationships, partnerships, and community also grow out of these discussions. These tours demonstrate Greenlink’s commitment to building our own work from the ground up so we can help implement a clean energy transition that allows all people the opportunities of a cleaner world.


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