Climate Justice Alliance / Our Power Campaign

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THE OUR POWER CAMPAIGN

The Climate Justice Alliance has launched the national Our Power Campaign to win real solutions to the climate crisis – solutions that will foster quality jobs that meet people’s needs while caring for  the natural resources and ecosystems we depend on. We are flexing Our Power at the local, regional, and state levels and building towards affecting national policy to bring about a just transition. We launched the campaign in June 2013 in three pilot sites: Black Mesa, Arizona; Detroit, Michigan; Richmond, California. In August 2014 we added three more: Jackson, Mississippi; San Antonio Texas; and the state of Kentucky. The pilot sites are a racially and ethnically diverse mix of rural and urban communities, and are home to key grassroots groups poised to take on the extreme energy economy driving climate change.

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Photo credit: Farhad Ebrahimi

OUR LONG TERM GOALS ARE:

End the Era of Extreme Energy. We are creating transition pathways to end the era of extreme energy like fossil fuels, nuclear power, waste and biomass incineration, landfill gas, mega-hydro, and agrofuels, which pose extreme risks to human and ecosystem health, community resilience, economic equity and climate stability. This would reduce carbon emissions in line with what science says is necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change while preserving healthy local ecosystems and communities. Mitigation and adaptation must be practiced in tandem, and aligned to address the root causes of the problem.

Implement a Just Transition to Local Living Economies in which good, green, and family-supporting jobs are created for unemployed, and underemployed people, and workers formerly employed by extreme energy industries. Our re-localized economies will be ecologically grounded, produce community wellbeing, democratize decision-making, and promote local control of resources (including land, water, and food systems). See more on what a “just transition” means below.

The Our Power Campaign will achieve a just transition through:

Building Local Living Economies.
The “local living economies” model for our communities centers on:

• Zero Waste
• Public Transportation
• Clean Community Energy • Regional Food & Water Systems
• Efficient, Affordable, Durable Housing
• Ecosystem Restoration & Stewardship

We will reduce pollution and heavy reliance on extreme energy by transforming each of these economic sectors and, in collaboration with key research allies, will quantify the potential for jobs creation. Our goal is to create living examples of how such community pathways can put people to work transforming their communities, while reducing both cost and pollution burden for present and future generations.

Building Community Resilience.
The creation of climate jobs and strengthening of community resilience will build more equitable, local economic infrastructure through:

Grassroots Economies – The best way to ensure that local economies are built in the best interests of local communities is to create economic structures that workers and local communities collectively control, and make democratic decisions on how to run them. Cooperatives provide an important model to meet community needs and strengthen worker/community governance.
Rights to Land, Water, and Food Sovereignty – With a deepening climate crisis, community rights to land, water and food sovereignty are increasingly necessary to both adapt to climate impacts and mitigate the causes of climate change. Resource rights are an effective solution for a just transition.

Building Movement.
From local to national to global, people recognize that real change comes when large numbers of people unite around common aims. Communities are building a vibrant movement to change the political landscape by opposing harmful practices and policies, while demonstrating that real solutions to climate change will improve the health and well-being of our communities.



WHAT IS THE CLIMATE JUSTICE ALLIANCE?

The Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) is a collaborative of over 35 community-based and movement support organizations uniting frontline communities to forge a scalable, and socio-economically just transition away from an extractive economy towards local living economies to address the root causes of climate change.

We are rooted in Indigenous, African American, Latino, Asian Pacific Islander, and working-class white communities throughout the U.S. We are applying the power of deep grassroots organizing to win local, regional, statewide, and national shifts. These communities comprise more than 100 million people, often living near toxic, climate polluting energy infrastructure or other facilities. As racially oppressed and/or economically marginalized groups, these communities have suffered disproportionately from the impacts of pollution and the ecological crisis, and share deep histories of struggle in every arena, including organizing, mass direct action, electoral work, cultural revival, and policy advocacy.

Together we are strengthening relationships between community-based organizations, environmentalists, labor unions, food sovereignty/sustainable agriculture groups and other sectors of society.

As CJA we are coalescing our power to reshape the economy and governance in the coming decades – we are communities united for a just transition.

CJA’s steering committee currently includes Movement GenerationGrassroots Global Justice AllianceEast Michigan Environmental Action CouncilGlobal Alliance for Incinerator AlternativesInstitute for Policy Studies,Jobs with JusticeCommunities for a Better Environment,Asian Pacific Environmental NetworkBlack Mesa Water CoalitionIndigenous Environmental NetworkCenter for Earth, Energy and Democracy and Movement Strategy Center.

The CJA is currently co-anchored by MG and the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance.

To see a list of current CJA Leadership Body organizations, visit here.

 


WHAT IS A JUST TRANSITION?

We must immediately begin to transition out of an extractive economy – an economy dependent on fossil fuels, incineration, agrofuels, nuclear energy and other risky industries causing ecological disruption, public health crises and economic impoverishment due to their industrialized extraction, production, pollution and waste practices.  But to do this we must create new jobs and a safety net for workers who will transition out of those specific industries as well as the broader communities impacted by extreme energy.  The Our Power Campaign addresses both the need to shut down the extractive economy as well as put in place new systems for truly sustainable work and livelihoods in frontline communities.  These new sources of livelihood include recycling plants, local food production, ecological remediation, community owned energy systems, and more.  We envision that these new systems will serve as the seeds for a new economy based on local self-determination, resilience, and harmony with the Earth.

The Our Power Campaign is building momentum through pilot sites that will build replicable place-based models of just transitions, and a series of Our Power convenings that will bring together groups to jointly strategize around resisting extreme energy and implementing new sources of jobs and livelihoods in their localities.  The three initial pilot sites are Black Mesa (BMWC) Detroit, MI (EMEAC), and Richmond, CA (APEN and CBE).

To see what a just transition looks like, watch this video about the 2013 Our Power Camp, hosted by Black Mesa Water Coalition in Arizona:


To learn more about the Our Power Campaign and the Climate Justice Alliance, visit www.ourpowercampaign.org.