Climate Justice Alliance

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 unsustainable energy 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.

Background

CJA emerged out of a 3-year process of grassroots groups and movement support organizations from racial, environmental, and economic justice movements working to cohere our vision and strategy as a US-based movement for global climate justice. Participating organizations saw the need for the people most severely impacted by both the economic and environmental crises to lead efforts to confront and transform them. Milestones include:

  • convening a climate justice assembly at the 2nd US Social Forum in Detroit (2010) attended by 400 people representing over 118 organizations from every region of the country
  • sending movement delegations to the recent UN climate accord conferences (Copenhagen in 2010, Cancun in 2011, Durban in 2012), the climate summit in Bolivia which produced the Cochabamba Protocol, and the UN Rio+20 Earth Summit (2012).

Co-convened by Grassroots Global Justice Alliance and Movement Generation since January 2012, CJA has been developing a unified campaign – the Our Power Campaign. A national convening of 33 member organizations took place in September 2012 in Detroit, during which campaign goals were defined and the first local as well as regional campaigns identified. A Steering Committee and Leadership Body were established to coordinate the campaign.

Our Power Campaign:
Communities United for a Just Transition

The Our Power Campaign will move local and state governments to create millions of climate jobs – jobs that meet people’s needs while caring for natural resources and ecosystems.

The world is confronting two fundamentally interrelated crises today: economic and ecological. In the U.S. alone, over 17 million people are officially unemployed, and despite a recent measure of stability in the financial markets, economists across the political spectrum recognize that global capitalism is in a deep crisis. Meanwhile the most destructive impacts of climate change–such as extreme storms and the disappearance of water sources–are threatening communities world-wide (particularly Indigenous Peoples) who have the least responsibility for climate change and the least resources to adapt to and survive it.

We believe that we can address the root causes of the climate crisis while creating meaningful work and livelihoods for a majority of the 17 million unemployed people in the US. This will require a radical transformation of the economy. AND communities are already beginning to implement real solutions to climate change that chart a path towards a more democratic, ecologically rooted economies. The Our Power Campaign will harness and amplify these community-led solutions while continuing to push for national leadership, especially in regions where “extreme energy” interests have disproportionately impacted communities as the crisis has continued to deepen.

We see our work as part of a global struggle for climate justice. The Our Power Campaign can be a powerful force to help stop catastrophic climate change because the US has the greatest historical responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions as well as the largest per capita emissions foot print.

Our Long Term Goals Are To:

  1. 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.
  2. Implement a Just Transition to Local Living Economies in which 10 million good, green, and family-supporting jobs are created for unemployed, and underemployed people, and workers formerly employed by extreme energy industries. The goal is to build a national “climate jobs” program in 5-10 years. 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).

The Our Power Campaign will achieve a just transition through:

BUILDING LOCAL LIVING ECONOMIES.

We will build a “local living economy” model that centers on:

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

Our goal is to create living examples of how communities can put people to work transforming their localities, while reducing both cost and pollution burden for present and future generations. These local living economy models are being built through just transition Our Power Communities.

BUILDING COMMUNITY RESILIENCE.

We will create climate jobs that will build stronger, resilient, more equitable communities through:

  • Grassroots Economies – The best way to ensure that local economies are built in the best interests of local communities is to create structures that workers and local communities collectively control, and allow them to 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. From Indigenous Peoples’ struggles to retain ancestral water rights, to the creation of local seed banks, to burgeoning urban and rural struggles for local land reform – resource rights are an effective solution for a just transition.

OUR POWER COMMUNITIES: Local Living Economies

In the first phase, CJA will focus on supporting and highlighting a dozen Pilot “Our Power Communities” that are home to key grassroots groups who are poised to take on the extreme energy interests while leading real models of grassroots solutions for a just transition. Over time, they will provide diverse examples of urban and rural areas transitioning to local living economies in ways that address each localities unique challenges and builds on its strengths, culture, and history.

Highlighted Our Power Communities

We are excited to announce the addition of 3 new Pilot sites:

They join the first 3 Our Power Community Pilots:

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