About Us

We know a partisan approach will fail to meet the climate challenge requiring broad human cooperation, so Higher Ground’s programs resonate with conservative, moderate and progressive sectors of our community and bridge traditional race and class divides.

The 2018 Higher Ground Campaign Plan

Higher Ground’s Leadership Team is comprised of spiritual and thought leaders, scientists, non-profit professionals, filmmakers, students, artists, and policy-makers. Program partners include area churches, temples, mosques, businesses, non-profits, and community groups. The Empowerment Institute developed our model of social change (it was decades in the making).

In the wake of Hurricanes Joaquin, Matthew and Irma, Higher Ground fills a critical gap in the care of the Lowcountry’s landscape and people. We support groups that prioritize protective measures (i.e. sea walls, pumps, drainage systems). But, sunny day flooding and more intense storms are symptomatic of a deeper problem. Our leadership team is working to:

  • Address the root cause of environmental damage, preventing harm before it happens

  • Inspire and educate local residents who want to be part of the solution

  • Offer lifestyle alternatives–those that are good for both people and the planet

Our Methods

At Higher Ground we know a lucid, compassionate minority can help humankind reclaim its environmental integrity and cultivate a healthy relationship with the natural world. Our power does not come from force; our power arises from our humanity–a profound gratitude for life; the determination to listen deeply; curiosity, research, and understanding; a personal willingness to release old habits; courage to speak out in ways that inspire confidence and hope; and a commitment to ethical and peaceful civic engagement. By reclaiming and exercising the power of our humanity, we will give rise to the world we hope for some day in the here and now.

Higher Ground programs:

  • Elicit values inherent to lives of faith, connection and meaning

  • Illuminate links between common actions and unintended consequences

  • Empower individuals and small groups with a menu of doable steps that all of us can implement right away


Higher Ground knows Charleston’s shifting climate is not just a political, economic or scientific challenge, it’s also a crisis of the spirit. In this video (recorded at Charleston’s Unitarian Church on Earth Day, 2018) Higher Ground’s co-founder, Heather Lyn Mann, explains.

Gus Speth, US adviser on climate change: “I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that thirty years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.”


Photo courtesy of John Gaulden