On Tuesday February 19th we at Community to Community Development took part in a National Day of Action called by the Climate Justice Alliance (CJA). We presented our solutions to climate change by delivering the Our Power Plan (OPP) to our regional EPA office in Seattle. The purpose for this action was to show solidarity from communities on the frontlines of climate change. We have solutions that the Clean Power Plan needs to include, which should prioritize our voices instead of the fossil fuel industry and lobbyists.
Currently the Obama administration is pushing the Clean Power Plan (CPP) as the answer to mitigate climate change. Among other targets, the CPP requires states to reduce carbon emission 32 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.
GOALS OF THE OUR POWER PLAN
The goal of CJA’s Our Power Plan is to empower communities working for a Just Transition to a clean energy future by organizing to protect the integrity of the CPP and ensuring Federal and State Implementation Plans adhere to principles of environmental justice. According to the Our Power Campaign a “Just Transition requires the creation of mechanisms for moving money through democratically-governed funding vehicles. The criteria for reinvestment should be based on principles of democratic & cooperative economics and non-extractive & regenerative finance”.
Specifically we seek to:
- Strengthen organizing efforts of frontline, environmental justice communities for building grassroots power and promoting Just Transition strategies
- Assure that EJ provisions are in Federal and State Implementation Plans and multi-state processes
- Assure that carbon emissions are reduced and regulated at the source of pollution to protect frontline communities
- Urge reduction of co-pollutant emissions as well as greenhouse gases
- Eliminate loopholes that incentivize other extractive, dirty energy options such as natural gas, biomass, waste incineration, nuclear, etc.
- Assure that energy conservation, efficiency, solar, wind and energy storage, zero waste, public transportation, ecosystem restoration, and regenerative plant-based organic agriculture are prioritized as carbon reduction strategies.
- Assure that the CPP maximizes the creation of quality, good-paying jobs and that communities of color and people in poverty have access to the jobs created through CPP implementation
[trx_quote title=”Ramon Torres, Familias Unidas por la Justicia”]Nothing About Us Without us”[/trx_quote]
At this moment, Washington State is in a position to take bold steps in creating an equitable climate policy. A policy that takes into consideration the disproportionate harms that people of color and indigenous communities are facing because of big polluters. With so many discussions about how climate affects us all, this is the opportunity to enact real solutions that are coming from the most impacted communities, not the false solutions that the fossil fuel lobby and its supporters are banking on. This is why we felt that it was necessary to deliver the Our Power Plan to the EPA office in Seattle.
As landless U.S. based farm workers, we have a say on environmental issues. Our delegation includes the President of Familias Unidas por la Justicia, Ramon Torres. Familias Unidas por la Justicia is an independent union for farm workers. Ramon and the union have been at the forefront of fighting for worker rights in Washington State which he says also includes fighting for [trx_image url=”https://frontandcentered.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/IMAG0174-e1454611506688.jpg” title=”Ramon Torres” align=”right” shape=”square” width=”300″ height=”376″]Climate Justice. “We are immigrants and workers and every day we fight for justice. At this point we also have to fight for climate justice and people need to know that when decisions that impact our families are made then we need to be included. Nothing about us without us.”
“That the last shall be first and the first shall be last.”-Matthew 20-16
The Our Power Plan lifts up the voices of marginalized communities like farm workers and immigrants. It also proposes a shift in the discussion around climate change. It is not enough to talk about solving the climate crisis, we also need to talk about the system that has caused it in the first place. That is why frontline communities are calling for a Just Transition and rejecting the false solutions of carbon markets.
The Our Power Plan is participatory process that brings in different ideas and various solutions that fit the diverse communities within the US that diverges from the “one size fits all” model of the CPP. System change has to come from the bottom up and led by the most impacted from the climate crisis and bad environmental policies and practices. We are moved by the national day of action because this is what is needed for workers from coast to coast. The grassroots communities are seizing this moment and will not be silenced.