There is growing consensus that we need to take steps not just to stop the flow of carbon into the atmosphere or pollution into our waterways, but to transition our economy and society to be in line with principles of social and ecological wellbeing. This is the work of Just Transition, and it is no small task.
The scale of change needed, paired with our perceived distance from the halls of power where big decisions are made, leaves us to reflect on what the role of place-based organizations should be in addressing a global crisis. With such major transformations needed, how do we connect the desire for a large-scale transition with grassroots, place-based work?
While preventing and managing the greatest effects of climate change will require action from the top, we believe that true resilience and wellbeing is built from the bottom-up. A Just Transition will therefore require the leadership and sustained engagement of organized communities. This means anchoring the principles of this transition in real community context and understanding of place.
Remember: resilience doesn’t mean just “doing a better job” of planning for our watershed, foodshed, or energyshed. It also means creating a culture of problem-solving that trusts people as the experts of their own lives and can hold the complex and diverse needs of a community and their environment. This complexity will require including those beyond whom you are already strongly aligned or directly engaged. Because a Just Transition is about undertaking this process - of listening and responding to local, place-based knowledge and deliberation - we encourage you to begin your exploration into these practices by engaging people in your community in conversation about these very things.
This Summer & Fall we are developing the Guiding Practices by defining specific actions and protocols alongside grassroots organizers. Make sure to sign up to our newsletter below to stay tuned for updates. It is our goal to have a framework that you can bring to your community, to consider what unique and universal challenges your community faces, and articulate what opportunities exist for place-based solutions that affirm racial, economic and environmental justice.