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Overview


Our current racial capitalist system is powered by an extractive energy model - one that sacrifices the health and wellbeing of people and ecosystems for the sake of profit and growth. Cheap nonrenewable energy and minerals, that took millions of years to form, have been fueling the economy of growth for the past 150 years and their extraction is becoming exponentially more destructive. The global demand for energy continues to grow at around 2% annually and all forms of energy use are growing together: gas, coal, oil, nuclear and renewables. 

While the awareness around planetary destruction caused by fossil fuels has grown, many solutions do not adequately address the systemic causes for the energy crisis, and are simply looking for alternative - seemingly “greener” - ways to fuel capitalism. Reversing this growth and expansion of the energy sector is an urgent and essential step in building an alternative energy system. Climate and environmental justice groups have been calling for a shift from a corporate centralized energy system to one that is localized - produced, owned and governed by communities. Energy justice calls to end market-based mechanisms that impair efforts to truly end fossil fuel pollution disproportionately affecting low income and communities of color, and to stop false solutions that seek corporate industrialized “green” alternatives instead of systemic change of the energy system.

Working towards an alternative energy system comes in tandem with transforming the economy. We must step away from the fuel-dependent extractivist and growth-based system we currently live in towards a localized, community-driven, and regenerative one (read more about that on our Economy page). Without a comprehensive plan to transform how and why we use fuel and stepping away from extractivist economy, no alternative methods of energy production and distribution would provide the kind of transformation communities and the planet require. Thus, the alternatives proposed in this section are rooted in a collective and systemic overhaul of how dependent capitalist lifestyles are on a constant consumption of energy (whether it is “renewable” or fossil fuel-based). 

Way Forward


Way forward 1: 

Energy Democracy


As defined by Climate Justice Alliance, “Energy Democracy frames the international struggle of working people, low-income communities, Asian and Pacific Islander, Black, Brown, and Indigenous nations and their communities to take control of energy resources from the energy establishment and use those resources to empower their communities literally (by providing energy), economically, and politically. It means bringing energy resources under public or community ownership and/or governance.”



Organizations leading the way in Energy Democracy: 

Climate Justice Alliance’s Energy Democracy working group (EnDEM)

The Our Power Plan: Charting a Path to Climate Justice - The plan urges federal and state decision-makers to assure that frontline environmental justice communities and workers be primary stakeholders in the implementation process of the Clean Power Plan


"Uprose" by 350.org is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 - 2017

UPROSE

Uprose works in the interest of a Just Transition, a move away from the extraction economy and towards climate solutions that put frontline communities in positions of leadership.
  • Sunset Park Solar is New York City’s first community solar project owned and operated by a cooperative for the benefit of local residents and businesses. It is a 685 kilowatt solar project that will be built on the Brooklyn Army Terminal rooftop.

Institute for Local Self-Reliance

ILSR provides technical assistance to communities about local solutions for sustainable community development in areas such as banking, broadband, energy, and waste through local purchasing.

ESKOM Research Reference Group: Achieving a Just Transition for South Africa.

  • Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC), Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED), and South Africa's National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA), Transnational Institute (TNI) and National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) are developing a road map to establish a new public electricity system based on a progressive energy transition and restructuring of Eskom, the South Africa’s state-owned power company.
  • What Is Energy Democracy? Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung



Instituto de Ecología Política (IEP) / Institute of Political Ecology (IPE) - Chile

IEP’s work has been carried out through education for sustainability, research, strengthening civil society, education and reporting campaigns, and legal actions in the defense of the environment and people; through the creation of strategic alliances and the development of public policies the right to live in a healthy environment can be guaranteed. 
  • Camino Solar: An initiative by IEP to promote citizen participation in the generation of photovoltaic energy, in order to contribute to the decentralization and democratization of the transition towards an energy model based on renewable energies. [Video]

Centre for Environment and Energy Development - India

CEED is a solution-driven organization that works towards creating inspiring solutions to maintain a healthy, clean and sustainable environment

More Resources on Energy Democracy


Books, Articles, and Reports  Campaigns & Manifestos: Websites: Videos and Webinars:




Way forward 2: 

Renewable Energy 


While renewable energy has been rapidly growing in popularity as the only viable alternative source of energy for a sustainable future, conversations around renewable energy tend to leave an impression that it can fully substitute our current reliance on fossil fuels. But that is neither possible (due to physical and technical obstacles of renewable energy production) nor sustainable (as producing renewable energy still requires non-renewable resources, such as minerals). A just and equitable energy transition for the people and the planet, requires us to think beyond the realm of industrial capitalism, as no “planet-friendly” energy system can sustain the current need for exponential growth. The implementation of and advocacy for renewable energy by organizations presented in this section goes in tandem with the principles of Energy Democracy highlighted in the first Solution.

Organizations & campaigns leading the way in Renewable Energy:

Sacred Earth Solar

Sacred Earth Solar empowers front line Indigenous communities in Canada with renewable energy.

Post Carbon Institute

Post Carbon Institute’s work in relation to Energy focuses on growing a collective understanding of our energy reality, and the need for both conservation and appropriate, community-centric renewable energy.





Green New Deal

The Green New Deal is a congressional resolution that lays out a grand plan for tackling climate change, calling for state- based solutions. While throughout each sector presented by Climate Resource Hub, we highly encourage to step away from state-based solution, due to complexity of the global energy network, some level of state intervention is required to not only leave fossil fuels in the ground and halt any further expansion, but also to lift up highly resource intensive alternative energy projects.


8th Fire Solar

8th Fire Solar is building a better future for our Native American communities by creating and assembling a sustainable and renewable energy product: solar thermal panels.




Solar Bear

Solar Bear is the only Native American owned full service solar installation company in the state of Minnesota that builds renewable energy projects for the future generations of Turtle Island and Mother Earth.

Kara Solar

Kara Solar is a solar-powered river transportation, energy, and community enterprise initiative in the Ecuadorian Amazon. This sort of initiative is important as it strengthens indigenous sovereignty and land rights, thereby funding these types of projects enhances the resiliency of the Amazonia rainforest and lowers dependency on fossil fuels in that region.

More Renewable Energy Resources: 


Books, Articles, and Reports Campaigns: Videos:

Who’s In The Way


Obstacle 1:

Fossil fuel Industry


The Fossil fuel industry is the bedrock of capitalism. Big Oil companies have known about the destruction that burning fossil fuels wrecks on the planet for decades, but hid the truth for as long as possible. Now, that the planetary devastation caused by fossil fuels has become common knowledge, the energy sector continues to act despite that truth because they can. Transitioning away from fossil fuels requires a fundamental change in society, so the global political forces that are comfortable within the capitalist status quo are letting the fossil fuel industry continue the planetary destruction, while quickly and effectively enriching themselves and those who allow the extraction to continue. Analysis by Oil Change International demonstrated that G20 countries spend $444 billion per year in subsidies to oil, gas, and coal production - government backing of the fossil fuel sector around the world is one the main reason the industry survives to this day. Keeping fossil fuels in the ground, particularly given how increasingly destructive the methods of extraction have become as we continue to exhaust the resources, is a fundamental step of energy justice work.

"Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Site" by Green Fire Productions is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Who’s Working on Dismantling the Fossil Fuel Industry:

Oilwatch

Oilwatch is a network of resistance to the impacts of fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal) industries on people’s and their environments.

Oil Change International

OCI works to expose the true costs of fossil fuels and facilitate the ongoing transition to clean energy.
  • Stop Funding Fossil Fuels Program uses critical analysis and strategic organizing to end the vast quantities of government support flowing to the fossil fuel industry and accelerate the clean energy transition.
  • Still Digging: G20 Governments Continue to Finance the Climate Crisis: The report finds that since the Paris Agreement, G20 countries have acted directly counter to it by providing at least USD 77 billion a year in finance for oil, gas, and coal projects through their public finance institutions. 

Treaty Alliance to Stop Tar Sands Expansion

This Treaty is an expression of Indigenous Law prohibiting the piplines/trains/tankers that will fuel the expansion of the Alberta Tar Sands

"Alberta Tar Sands NWF Flight Oct 2010 #1-5" by NWFblogs is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Stop the Money Pipeline

Stop the Money Pipeline is a campaign targeting the financial sector’s support of the cliamte crisis


More resources on dismantling the fossil fuel industry: 


Reports:
Guide:
Campaign:


Obstacle 2 

Mineral Extractivism

"The Mine... Another Look" by Storm Crypt is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Mining for minerals has a similar record to fossil fuel extraction in terms of the egregious human rights violations and environmental devastation. Minerals are used in everything from our smartphones and jewelry to electrical wiring and fertilizers - and, similarly to oil, the more we deprive this nonrenewable resource, the more destructive the methods of extraction become. 

It is crucial to draw attention to mineral extractivism when discussing a Just Energy Transition. An important element to consider in fighting for a transition towards renewable energy are the non-renewable inputs required to produce that energy. Minerals, particularly rare earth elements, are essential to the production of renewable energy, from solar panels to wind turbines and batteries. Many of the key minerals critical to renewable energy production are already scarce and have a history of violence and even slave labor associated with their production. Besides, as analysis by EarthWorks shows “The skyrocketing demand for these minerals is driving the expansion of mining in geographic “hotspots” throughout the world – and even to the depths of the ocean – with disproportionately negative impacts in the Global South.”

The necessity of nonrenewable resources - commonly devastating to both communities and the planet, especially when produced at a large industrial scale - in renewable energy against points to the dire need to actually decrease and localize energy and mineral demand.



Below are examples of communities successfully transitioning out of extractivist mining economy, as well as organizations advocating for people and places affected by skyrocketing mineral demands.

Yes to Life, No To Mining (YLNM)

YLNM is a global solidarity network of and for communities, organisations and networks who are standing up for their Right to Say No to mining and advancing life-sustaining, post-extractive alternatives. In collaboration with the Gaia Foundation, YNLM launched a series of Emblematic Case studies from communities around the world that have been successfully resisting destructive mining.
  • Myanmar Case Study: A collective from the Karen Environment and Social Action Network (KESAN) describe the Indigenous Karen People’s connection to their ancestral territory, and how they created the Salween Peace Park to assert their right to self-determination and protect their lands from militarism, mining and mega-dams.
  • Cajamarca, Colombia Case Study: A study of how farmers, youth and other environmental defenders from Cajamarca, Colombia, have stopped a vast gold mine, re-valued the ‘true treasures’ in their territory and begun to develop regenerative alternatives to mining ‘development’.
  • Galiza Case Study (Regenerating the Commons): Joám Evans Pim, villager in the Frojám Community Conserved Area and activist in Galician anti-mining network ContraMINAcción, explains how small communities like Frojám are confronting destructive mining by regenerating community governance and traditional territories.

Environmental Justice Organisations, Liabilities and Trade (EJOLT)

EJOLT looks at mining conflicts and waste disposal conflicts to study the links between increased metabolism of the economy and environmental damage.

EJOLT notes following organizations working against mineral extractivism:

Mines and Communities (MAC)

The MAC website seeks to exposes the social, economic, and environmental impacts of mining, particularly as they affect Indigenous and land-based peoples.

Mines, Minerals and People

MM&P is a growing alliance of individuals, institutions and communities who are concerned and affected by mining. The isolated struggles of different groups have led us to form into broad a national alliance for combating the destructive nature of mining.

Mining Justice Alliance

MJA is a coalition of activists, civil society organizations, students, and community members who initially formed to mobilize around Gorldcorp’s 2011 Annual General Meeting. Our focus has expanded in response to widespread concerns about endemic injustice within Canada’s state-supported mining industry. 

MiningWatch Canda:

MiningWatch Canada works in solidarity with Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous communities who are dealing with potential or actual industrial mining operations that affect their lives and territories, or with the legacy of closed mines, as well as with mineworkers and former workers seeking safe working conditions and fair treatment.

Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros en América Latina (OCMAL) [ES]

OCMAL’s main objective is the defense of the communities and peoples that are impacted by the effects of mining in the region.

More Reading Materials:


False Solutions


False Solution 1: 

False “Renewables”


What gets listed under the “renewable energy” umbrella can vary greatly depending on the politics of who’s presenting. For instance, the majority of the “green” corporate sector highlights that energy transition is not possible without the use of nuclear energy, biofuels, and mega-dams. While that point is not entirely untrue, the necessity of these alternatives are entirely based on the desire to hold on to the extractive neoliberal capitalist system that brought us to this crisis in the first place. What proponents of such large scale industrial energy alternatives focus on is their “carbon neutral” footprint while failing to mention just how dangerous and destructive mega dams, nuclear energy, biofuels and incinerators are to planetary and community health. Such high-cost large scale projects also go in opposition to the principles of Energy Democracy and are not meant to benefit communities directly but rather serve as a substitute for profits currently made in the fossil fuel industry,

Below is a short list of false “renewables” and cooresponding organizations working to resist their negative impacts on their communities:

Nuclear Energy

As pointed out by Friends of the Earth International, “Nuclear power is a highly dangerous, high-cost energy source which poses the threat of nuclear proliferation and a severe risk to human life and the environment. Its potential as a major source of destruction has been clearly and repeatedly demonstrated.”

Friends of the Earth International:
FoE’s nuclear campaign works to reduce risks for people and the environment by supporting efforts to close existing nuclear reactors and fighting proposals to design and build new ones.


Mega-dams

Large-scale hydroelectric dam projects (aka mega-dams) drive extinction of species, massive displacements of entire villages, flood forests and wetlands, and are thus not a viable strategy for a Just energy Transition. (Read more about the injustices perpetrated by mega-dam projects on our Water page)

International Rivers is part of the global struggle to protect rivers and the rights of communities that depend on them.
"Three Gorges dam" by hughrocks is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0


Biofuels

Growing biomass requires vast amounts of precious farm and forest land in order to produce a tiny fraction of energy (read more on why monocrops and the industrial agriculture system are deeply damaging to the soil and entire ecosystems on our Food page).

Biofuel Watch provides information, advocacy and campaigning in relation to the climate, environmental, human rights and public health impacts of large-scale industrial bioenergy. 



Incineration

There is nothing “renewable” about burning waste that took many precious resources to produce in the first place. Moreover, incineration is incredibly dangerous as it releases high quantities of toxic air and water pollutants and threatens public health of communities living in proximity to incinerators, which are disproportionately low income and communities of color. 

Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives: GAIA aims to catalyze a global shift towards environmental justice by strengthening grassroots social movements that advance solutions to waste and pollution. GAIA envisions a just, zero waste world built on respect for ecological limits and community rights, where people are free from the burden of toxic pollution, and resources are sustainably conserved, not burned or dumped.

More reading resources:


False Solution 2:

Carbon Pricing


Carbon Pricing privatizes the air we breathe, turning our atmosphere into something that can be traded on the private market, allowing polluters to continue polluting and poisoning fenceline environmental justice communities.

Who’s Working on Dismantling/Resisting Carbon Pricing:

Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN)

IEN is an alliance of Indigenous peoples whose mission it is to protect the sacredness of Earth Mother from contamination and exploitation by strengthening, maintaining and respecting Indigenous teachings and natural laws.

"Indigenous Environmental Network leaders interrupt President Obama - Oct. 27, 2011" by350.org is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


Climate Justice Alliance (CJA)

CJA is an alliance of over 70 community organizations, movement networks, and support organizations on the frontlines of the climate crisis in North America.


More resources on Carbon Pricing:


Books, Articles, and Papers:

Campaigns & Statements:

Videos:

Overview


Food and agriculture are often at the center of struggles regarding climate change, capitalism, poverty, and Indigenous struggles. The Indigenous and peasant communities are leading the way in sustainable, just, and equitable paths to food and agriculture.

Despite the industrial food web using up the most resources and producing the most emissions, they only actually produce ~30% of the world's food. Indigenous and peasant communities keep the world fed sustainably by only using a fraction of the resources to produce ~70% of the world's food.

Ensuring an equitable future for our food systems requires a global paradigm shift, away from industrialized agriculture towards  regenerative, resilient, and just food systems grounded in Food Sovereignty.

Food sovereignty goes far beyond just providing food for everyone. It values cultural diversity, biodiversity, traditional knowledge, and addresses social justice and environmental degradation. Food sovereignty uses social mobilization to address massive widespread rural disintegration while also addressing the pressing issue of climate change. It aims to focus social and political actions on communities to promote local mobilization and cooperation on a regional, as well as on a much broader, geographic scale.

As a concept, food sovereignty was put forward at an international level by La Via Campesina at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s World Food Summit in 1996. In this summit LVC presented a set of mutually supportive principles that can ground local and global transitions towards an alternative just food system: 


Source: Altieri, M. A., Nicholls, C. I., Henao, A., & Lana, M. A. (2015). Agroecology and the design of climate change-resilient farming systems. Agronomy for sustainable development. Design and edit by Christian Tandazo.

This section will provide resources to understand the role that capitalism and industrial agricultural actors have in exacerbating climate change, world hunger, Indigenous oppression, and exploitation of labor, as well as resources from frontline communities that fight against the injustices surrounding food and agriculture by either direct action or by serving as models of alternatives.

Way Forward


Way Forward 1:

Agroecology: 


Agroecology centers the regeneration of the land while providing food, medicine, and other community needs. It is simultaneously focused on biodiversity and cultural diversity, as the two are inextricably linked. There are a vast range of agroecology projects, as each are localized to the needs of their community, human, water, animal, plant, and geological communities included. 

Agroecology is the opposite of industrial agriculture. It is a holistic land-based approach to farming practices, knowledge that has been produced and conserved by peasant, Indigenous, and small-scale family farmers around the world.

Source: Altieri, M. A., Nicholls, C. I., Henao, A., & Lana, M. A. (2015). Agroecology and the design of climate change-resilient farming systems. Agronomy for sustainable development. Design and edit by Christian Tandazo.

The knowledge of Peasant and Indigenous farmers is the key component in the design of agroecological farming practices. This knowledge is place-based, locally-adapted, and culturally-relevant, which has been passed down through generations. Industrial agriculture poses a threat to this knowledge. Farm land expropriation by agribusiness and transnational corporations continue to displace peasant and Indigenous farmers from their traditional territories, through this process incredible ancestral agricultural knowledge is lost.

(For more on Peasant Right’s please see “Way Forward 5”)

Agroecology small-scale family farming in Catacocha, Loja, Ecuador. Photo Credit: Christian Tandazo

As farm management practice, agroecology would: drastically reduce the use of fossil fuels for chemical and synthetic fertilizers, and pesticide production used in conventional agriculture; potential to mitigate through soil and plant rejuvenation for carbon sequestration; stormwater filtration; has the flexibility and diversity required to allow adaptation for changing climate conditions; and ensure food security.

Some of the multiple benefits of Agroecology include:
  • Provide stable yields and tackle hunger: agroecological systems chieve more stable levels of total yield per unit area.
  • Linking food to territories
  • Nutrition, health and sustainable livelihoods
  • Preservation and sharing of cultural diversity and knowledge
  • Transparency and access to information
  • Central role of rural women
  • Restoring ecosystems, soil health, and preserving biodiversity
  • Preservation and renewal of genetic resources.
  • Harnessing food systems to stop climate change
  • Resilience to conflict and environmental disasters.

Agroecology requires we partake in a global paradigm change in our social, political, economic, and cultural relations and structures, but most importantly a change in the relationship between nature and society

As the climate crisis increases the uncertainty of raising temperatures, intense storm patterns, droughts, and recently the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative we transition from industrial agriculture towards agroecology and food sovereignty. Agroecology is the only model capable of feeding millions of people and addressing the climate crisis, however, this can only be achieved under the leadership of its protagonists: Indigenous, peasant, and small-scale family farmers.

Organizations leading the way in Agroecology:

Black Earth Farms Collective (USA)

Black Earch Farms Collective is composed of skilled Pan-African and Pan-Indigenous peoples who study and spread ancestral knowledge and contemporary agroecological practices to train community members to build collectivized, autonomous, and chemical free food systems in urban and peri-urban environments throughout the Occupied Karkin Ohlone & Chochenyo Territory.

Asociación ANDES (Peru):

A Quechua organization that promotes the rights of Indigenous peoples and the biodiversity of food and agricultural systems. ANDES works to support Indigenous peoples through independent research and analysis, strategies based on the development of collective biocultural heritage, networking at the local, regional and international levels, and the promotion of new forms of cooperation and alliances.

Soul Fire Farm Inc. (USA):

A BIPOC-centered community farm committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system. With deep reverence for the land and wisdom of our ancestors, we work to reclaim our collective right to belong to the earth and to have agency in the food system.

Universidad Ixil (Guatemala)

This University challenges western educational models. The university prioritises oral tradition over written and within its curriculum, promotes the ancestral knowledge born of that same land. Students engage in extensive fieldwork and research in their own communities, with the elders and Indigenous authorities as their principal sources of information.

Focus on the Global South (Global)

Focus on the Global South is an activist think tank in Asia providing analysis and building alternatives for just social, economic and political change. One of the issues they cover is Food Sovereignty and Agroecology. 

Organización Boricuá de Agricultura Ecológica de Puerto Rico

Organización Boricuá, a member organization of La Via Campesina is a grassroots organization that was founded 30 years ago and is one of the leaders of the agroecology movement in Puerto Rico working to connect, teach, and support farmers and spread the use of agroecology across the country.

Proyecto Agroecológico El Josco Bravo

Josco Bravo is an agro-ecological production and education project located in the foothills of the town of Toa Alta, Puerto Rico.


More Resources on Agroecology: 

Books, Articles, and Reports:


Way Forward 2:

Indigenous Forest Gardens


Indigenous Forest Gardens, Forest Garden Systems, and Sacred Forests are highly biodiverse and sustainable agroforestry systems which have been cultivated and nurtured by indigenous peoples.

Forest Gardens are based in polyculture, symbiotic plant relationships, cycles of forest and plant growth, a cosmology of the land as sacred, and traditional ecological knowledge and practices that have been passed down through generations.

The Mayan Milpa system is practiced by most rainforest populations close to the equator, the most densely biodiverse areas in the world today and the locations at highest risk for biopiracy and extractivism. Milpa systems run over cycles of time, not singular farming seasons. Traditionally the cycle might be anywhere from 30 to 50 years, with over 1300 species throughout a given cycle.

These systems include agroecological methods such as partial burns to enhance plant growth followed by the introduction of small crops such as maize. Indigenous forest gardens not only have been proven to increase forest biodiversity, but give communities and towns food sovereignty.

Forest garden systems are used around the world; in India, over 100,000 sacred forests exist. Forest gardens and sacred forests have a high number of medicinal plants and higher species diversity than surrounding forests and even government-protected forestland. Nowadays, the Milpa exists in addition to the home garden and a middle distance garden.

Forest gardens are but one example of agroecology and are based in indigenous cosmologies that surround the sacredness of the land. As many of these practices have been decimated over time through settler colonialism, indigenous led initiatives such as the Zapatista Food Forest, are working on ways to recover, teach, and preserve indigenous knowledge and practices. 

Organizations leading the way in Indigenous Forest Gardens:

MesoAmerican Research Center:

The MesoAmerican Research Center seeks to develop a broad understanding of the people, cultures, and environment of the greater Mesoamerican region of Mexico and Central America. Research of the center has emerged in the context of Anthropology and Archaeology, yet is wholly interdisciplinary in focus. The MesoAmerican Research Center continues to maintain its focus on the Maya forest and the broad fields of study in the region.

El Pilar Forest Garden Network (Guatemala)

The El Pilar Forest Garden Network is a group of Maya farmers who are keeping alive Maya cultural traditions, promoting sustainable agriculture, conserving biodiversity in the Maya Forest, and educating the public on the value of their time-honored strategies.

Forest Peoples Programme:

The Forest Peoples Programme is a human rights based organization that works with forest peoples globally to secure their rights to land and livelihoods. FPP works to support indigenous organizations and forest peoples in advocating for indigenous forest management and assists with handling outside powers that threaten indigenous land rights. 



More Resorces on Indigenous Forest Gardens:




Way Forward 3:

Queer & Trans Liberation / Gender Justice




“Mainstream understandings of botany and ecology have been used to justify violence against queer, trans, indigenous, and people of color; female, disabled, and marginalized bodies. The field of queer ecology seeks to reimagine the natural world in a way that values and affirms all life.” - Moretta Browne, Clare Riesman, and Edgar Xochitl

Queer and Trans Liberation, along side Gender Justice has been put forth as a solution for climate justice by many BIPOC women, trans people, and two spirit leaders because an analysis of gender and the violences it inflicts through patriarchy, homophobia, and transphobia, directly underpins the roots of the climate crisis. As shown in the sections above, food sciences have been deeply influenced by capitalism. Queer ecology rejects hetero-patriarchal science norms and forms of linear understanding.

It’s clear that women, trans people, and two spirit people are disproportionately left on the front lines and bear the brunt of climate change as a convergence of crises. As such, attention and efforts need to be focused on securing their safety, autonomy, and futures – these must be pursued through gender self-determination, and redistribution of resources, not a top down approach.

Furthermore, many BIPOC women, queer people, trans people, and two spirit people have been, and are already building resilient futures out of necessity. Mutual aid efforts around food security, healthcare access, diaster relief, harm reduction and more, are all efforts born from BIPOC queer communities because the system today has never worked for them. When looking towards solutions to building community resiliency that prioritizes agency of us that are most vulnerable, the BIPOC queer community is leading the way.

Organizations leading the way:

Our Climate Voices

Our Climate Voices seeks to make climate change personal through localized and community based storytelling and organizing. They put together a great listening series on the relationship between Climate Justice and Queer and Trans Liberation.

La Via Campesina

La Via Campesina, the largest international member based peasant’s movement, prioritizes the needs of women because they see “Food Sovereignty as a feminist issue.” Practices such as Agroecology and food sovereignty promote women’s autonomy as when capitalism and the norms of domination of women by men and men of the earth are abolished, all life becomes safer.

More Resources on Queer & Trans Liberation / Gender Justice:




Way Forward 4:

Peasant Rights


Peasants, small scale farmers and fishers, family farmers, pastoralists, hunters and gatherers, have been at the forefront of the fight for food sovereignty against agribusiness and transnational corporations. Unfortunately, taking a stand against corporations has propelled violence agaisnt peasants and workers, as more people continue to be displaced from their traditional farming lands at the hands of agribusinesses and transnational corporations. They have been criminalized or even killed for the simple act of saving seeds to feed their families.

Peasants are safeguards of agrobiodiversity, biocultural diversity, and traditional agricultural knowledge that foster a relationship of reciprocity, with the land, water, soils, non-human kin, and microbial diversity. Peasants also care for seeds, contributing to global seed diversity by protecting and sometimes interbreeding 50,00 - 60,000 wild relatives of cultivated species at no cost.

Through these practices, peasants have become the main or sole food providers to more than 70% of the world’s population, while Industrial Agriculture only feeds 30%. Peasants produce this amount of food with less than 25% of the resources the industrial food system uses - including land, waste, fossil fuels - used to get all of the world’s food to the consumer’s table.

The ancestral knowledge and practices that peasants hold are vital to global food security, provide an opportunity to drastically reduce emissions from the agriculture sector, revitalize depleted soils, preserve biodiversity, and produce healthy and culturally relevant foods.

However, peasants alone won’t be able to solve the world’s crises and threats to food security, therefore, it is imperative to show support for peasants in the fight and struggle for their rights, whether at the policy level or on the ground. 

Organizations leading the fight for Peasant’s Rights:

La Via Campesina (LVC)

LVC is the largest transnational agrarian movement today. LVC actively builds alliances with other social movements, bringing together millions of peasants, small and medium size farmers, landless people, rural women and youth, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from around the world; trying to respond to the impacts of capitalist development in food, agriculture and land-use. LVC is mainly recognized for championing and developing the Food Sovereignty paradigm

LVC is built on a strong sense of unity, solidarity, it defends peasant, Indigneous and small-scale family farmers for food sovereignty as a way to promote social justice and dignity and strongly opposes corporate driven agriculture that destroys social relations and nature.



Movimiento Campesino a Campesino (MCAC) - (Central America and Cuba)

MCAC, or Farmer to Farmer, is a grassroots movement that originated in the early 1970s in Guatemala and expanded to Mexico, Nicaragua, and Cuba. It was pioneered by Mayan campesinos who applied methods of soil and water conservation in their farming practices. They later proceeded to share this knowledge with other peasant farmers in Mexico. This was has been described as peasant pedagogy, which generates effective site-specific agroecological solutions, encourages forms of non-hierarchical communication and leadership structures. This for of pedagogy was later spread throughout Central America and the Caribbean.


The peasant seeds network (France)

The Peasant Seeds Network leads a movement of collectives rooted in the territories which renew, disseminate and defend peasant seeds, as well as the associated know-how and knowledge.

These collectives are inventing new seed systems, a source of cultivated biodiversity and autonomy, in the face of the industry's monopoly on seeds and its patented GMOs.


More Resources on Peasant Right’s:


Who’s In The Way


Obstacle 1:

Industrial Agriculture


Industrial agriculture (IA) involves huge monoculture farms that prioritize crops for biofuel production rather than produce. These farms pollute local water supplies, erode the soil, and are less resilient to climate disasters due to their lack of crop diversity. This system uses more than 75% of the world’s agricultural land, a process that destroys 75 billion tons of topsoil annually.

It is a linear sequence of links running from production inputs: crop and livestock genomics, pesticides, fertilizers, farm machinery, veterinary medicine, to transportation and storage, then to milling processing and packaging, to consumption outcomes: wholesaling, retailing, restaurants, delivery of home, and food lost and wasted.

Monoculture farms are far less resilient to climate disasters than agroecological farms, leaving IA farmers with no income or produce after climate disasters, such as Hurricane Maria in 2017. They also disconnect consumers from peasants and land, altering our food customs and practices and accelerating the loss of agrodiversity.

Globalized IA is responsible for 50% of global greenhouse gas emissions, one third of which comes from livestock, and accounts for 85-90% of all agricultural emissions. IA requires intensive pesticide and fertilizer use which ruins the soil, chemicalizes the land, water, and crops, and exacerbates the impacts of climate change

In addition, IA uses 70% of all withdrawn water resources and most of it is used for irrigation, livestock – which accounts for 27% of water use, and processing. The use of massive amounts of drinking water in IA threatens the stability of water and food security throughout the globe as food is dependent on water availability. 

Over the last 50 years much of the world’s agriculture has been transformed from traditional peasant agriculture into IA from traditional peasant agriculture, simultaneously, in the last 50 years humans have tripled water extraction withdrawing about four thousand cubic kilometers of water globally each year.

The rapid expansion of Industrial Agriculture and globalization of food systems has narrowed the agrobiodiversity world’s food supply, increasing the likelihood of catastrophic crop failure in the event of drought, heavy rains, and outbreaks of pest and disease. We are currently witnessing these catastrophic climate events unfold, such as the wildfires in the worlds’ forests, droughts in farmland, locust swarms in Africa, and the COVID-19 pandemic  – all of which have been exacerbated by climate change.

Organizations working to dismantle Industrial Agriculture:

Timbaktu Collective

The Timbaktu Collective, an India-based NGO, aims to enable marginalised rural people, landless labourers, and small and marginal farmers particularly women, children, youth, Dalits and the people with disabilities, to enhance their livelihood resources, get organised and work towards social justice and gender equity and lead life in a meaningful and joyous manner.

Organic Farmers in the Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India in 2015 Photo credit: Laura Langner

Their vision is for rural communities to take control of their own lives, govern themselves and live in social, gender, and ecological harmony while maintaining a sustainable lifestyle.
  • Organic Farmer Cooperative Program - Assists farmers in switching from industrial agriculture to organic farming, re-empowering farmers strapped by loans (due to high costs of chemical inputs & monoculture) through the support of the cooperative & knowledge sharing through farmers
  • Dharani - Removes the middleman and allows organic cooperative farmers to directly profit from their crops & be economically protected through good/bad seasons. They attempt to engage with the market through a Cooperative model, with larger numbers being a source of strength and solidarity.

Navdanya

Vandana Shiva’s seed saving non-profit which has created 122 community seed banks in India to directly counteract industrial agriculture’s patenting of seeds and allow farmers to regain autonomy.

ETC Group

ETC Group addresses the socioeconomic and ecological issues surrounding new technology that impact the world’s marginalized people. They investigate the erosion of ecology, culture, and human rights; monitor global governance issues including corporate control and concentration of technologies; and the development of new technologies, in particularly agricultural but also other technologies.

They work closely with partner civil society organizations and social movements, especially in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

More Resources on dismantling Industrial Agriculture:


Books, Articles, and Reports:


Obstacle 2: 

Agribusiness, Transnational Corporations (TNCs), & Mega-Mergers



Agribusiness is the business of Industrial Agriculture and plays a role as a global hegemonic power pushing for land and water resource acquisition.

In the last couple of decades agribusiness corporations have been merging at an unprecedented rate. In 2001, six companies were the global leaders: Monsanto, Syngenta, Dupont, Dow Chemical, Bayer CropScience and BASF. These companies became known as the “the big six” and by 2013 they controlled 63% of comercial seed sales globally, and 75% of agricultural chemical sales around the world.

Back in 2016, there were The Big Six & ChemChina:
Source: Sandwell, Katie. “Mega-Mergers and the fight for our food system”.

Then, in 2017, there was a push for further consolidation of monopoly corporatist power with the announcement of three agribusiness mega-mergers: ChemChina-Syngenta, Bayer-Monsanto, and Dow-DuPont. These mergers were approved by industry regulators.

The Big Six were now The Big Four: Bayer-Monsanto, DowDupont/Corteva, ChemChina-Syngenta, BASF.

Later, Dow-Dupont split into three chemical corporations in 2019: Dow, DuPont, and Corteva Agriscience.

Dow focuses on performance chemicals, chemical additives, and packaging. Market cap: $33.5 billion

Dupon focuses on specialty material, high-growth materials, and nutrition. Market cap: $49.6 billion

Corteva Agriscience focuses on agricultural chemicals and seeds. Market cap: $21.8 billion. Derives more than half its revenue from North America.

TNCs are involved at multiple levels of natural resource acquisition and degradation. TNCs have displaced local food retailers and promoted worldwide convergence of urban diet on a narrow range of staple foods as well as meat, edible oils, fats, sugars, and cheap unhealthy processed foods, contributing to the global epidemic of obesity and diet-related diseases.

Some well-known TNCs are*: Sime Darby Bhd, Dole Food Company Inc, Fresh Del Monte Produce, Cargill, Deere & Company, Nestle SA, Unilever, Kraft Foods Inc., Mars Inc., Coca Cola, Suntory Ltd.



Agribusiness and TNCs have created monopolies to hold power and control of our food systems. The world can no longer sustain this.

Organizations leading the fight against Agribusiness, Transnational Corporations, and Mega-Mergers:

La Via Campesina (LVC)

As the largest transnational agrarian movement, LVC has been the leader in the fight against agribusiness, TNCs, and extractive industries. They have developed multiple international campaigns to prevent further consolidation of power from corporations.

Farmworker Association of Florida

The Farmworker Association of Florida, a member organization of La Via Campesina, focuses on protecting farmworkers and rural poor communities in Florida from the injustices and dangers of working on industrial agriculture farms including continual exposure to pesticides, extremely hot temperatures, and economic and physical exploitation as undocumented migrant workers and the surrounding community.

Coalition of Immokalee Workers

This is a worker-based human rights organization internationally recognized for its achievements in fighting human trafficking and gender-based violence at work.

More Resources on dismantling Agribusiness, TNCs, and Megamergers:


Books, Articles, and Reports:



Obstacle 3:

International Financial Institutions (IFIs)


World Trade Organization (WTO)

The WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) contained numerous ambiguities that enabled wealthy nations to subsidize and protect their domestic agricultural sector while constraining the ability for developing nations to utilize tariffs to protect their small farmers from economically devastating surges of cheap food (Gonzalez, 2011).

World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF)

In the 1970s the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) pushed developing countries to take out loans from global North banks to pay for imported fuel and petroleum-based agricultural inputs. In 1979-80 oil prices shook while agricultural commodities‘ interest rates soared and prices dropped, making debtor nations in the global South unable to repay their loans (Gonzalez, 2011).

The WB and IMF addressed this issue by imposing a structural adjustment (a standard receipt of free market reforms) on these indebted nations that eliminated subsidies to the agricultural sectors, it opened up their markets to foreign competition by reducing tariffs and other trade barriers (Gonzalez, 2011).Structural adjustment introduced a double standard in international agricultural trade that continues to the present day: open markets for the poor and protectionism for the wealthy (Gonzalez, 2011).


Organizations leading the fight against IFIs:

La Via Campesina

LVC is committed to fighting against the manipulation of international financial institutions over our food systems, peasant and land rights.


Obstacle 4: 

Extractive Industries

Extractive industries such as mining, drilling, and fracking are not only drivers of climate change, but they also have extreme detrimental effects on land and ecosystems, water sources, the air, local food systems and food sovereignty leading to serious repercussions on the livelihoods, health, culture, and economic well-being of local communities, predominantly rural, peasant, and indigenous communities worldwide.

Organizations leading the fight against Extractivism:

GRUFIDES (Peru)

Fighting against mining projects in Peru

Unist'ot'en camp

Leading the fight to protect unceded territory, rivers, and land from the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline

Amazon Frontlines

Defending Indigenous rights to land, life and cultural survival in the Amazon rainforest.

False Solutions


False Solutions 1:

Global Redesign Initiative


The Global Redesign Initiative (GRI), spearheaded by the World Economic Forum, is a system of multi-stakeholder governance (MSG) as a partial replacement for intergovernmental decision-making (La Via Campesina, 2016) which encourages the privatization of the governance of people’s food systems and nutrition. Other similar “no-go” solutions that follow the GRI logic are the Scaling-Up Nutrition (SUN), Coastal Fisheries Initiative (CFI) or the G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition for Africa (La Via Campesina, 2016).


False Solution 2:

Agricultural Biotechnology


As the global population grows, agricultural biotechnology, agritech or biotech is frequently seen as a solution to increase global food supply. Global food insecurity is due to lack of proper distribution rather than supply. We currently produce more than enough food to feed the world’s growing population. Biotechnology presents many problems including further corporate control of our food system, negative effects on ecosystems, land degradation, use of chemical inputs, idk if this makes sense my brain is fried genetically modifying crops, contamination of non-GM crops by GM crops, corporate ownership of land for biotech experimentation, and the patenting of seeds and knowledge. While debates exist in the realm of GM foods, the side effects of GMO are still up for debate.


False Solution 3:

Biofuel


Biofuel is fuel created by biomass, plant material, and is seen as an energy solution to climate change creating ethanol or biodiesel. To create biofuel, huge swaths of land are used to grow monoculture crops, meaning this land is not being used to grow food for local communities. The U.S. spends billions of dollars subsidizing biofuels and pouring money into companies such as Monsanto, Shell, Exxon, and Syngenta. Biofuels perpetuate global poverty and exacerbate food insecurity, food price increases, and climate change (Gonzalez, 2016). The EROEI, energy return on energy invested is far too low with biofuel, meaning that it almost takes as much energy to create the fuel that it then creates, making biofuel production an inefficient use of land and a
false climate solution. 

(For more inforamtion on Biofuels please refer to the Energy + Minerals section)


False Solution 4:

Climate-smart agriculture


The Global Alliance of Climate Smart Agriculture, launched at the UN in 2014, as a way to continue increasing “farming productivity, build resilience to climate change, and reduce/ remove greenhouse gas emissions.” Disturbingly, out of the 29 forming members of the Alliance, three were fertilizer lobby groups and two were the world’s largest fertilizer companies - groups whose goal is to advance the interest of the agribusiness sector and maintain goal profit-based extractivist food production. Thus, their corporate agenda is now deeply entrenched in Climate Smart Agriculture, making it another false solution bound to create further harms instead of repairing them. CSA is a clear continuation of colonial imperialism and does not offer any real system changes to the food system required in the age of the climate emergency. 

More Resources:






Overview


Land is the basis for all life. It is the ground from which our plants grow and water flows. Land shapes and is shaped by societies’ political, economic, and cultural dynamics. Power affects land access, and land access grants power. Given land’s central role to human society, it is unsurprising that land privitization has been central to profit accumulation in the expansion of global capitalism.


El Salvador, Photo credit: Génesis Abreu 

The ongoing legacy of European colonization commodified land as property that can be owned, privatized, and sold while dispossessing the original caretakers and inhabitants of the land. Colonization, capitalism, and the patriarchy have shaped, overused, destroyed, and pillaged the land, causing genocide and decimation of entire peoples and cultures globally, predominantly affecting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). For Indigenous peoples, land and nature are not merely resources that can be valued monetarily and exploited purely for production and extraction but rather as relatives within one ecosystem.

“Within Indigenous contexts land is not property, as in settler colonialism, but rather land is knowing and knowledge” (Arvin et. al, 2013)

Want to learn more about the history of colonization in the U.S.?
Check out this Interactive Time-Lapse Map that shows how the U.S. stole over 1.5 billion acres from Native Americans.



The Western ideal of land ownership and property rights stands in stark contrast with Indigenous cosmologies, rooted in the symbiotic relationship between humans, plants, animals, and the land. It’s telling that the places on Earth with the greatest biodiversity are the areas with the highest linguistic and cultural diversity, a term researchers have defined as biocultural diversity – through a worldview that is based in reciprocity rather than extractivism, many beings are possible. Indigenous territories make up ~20% of land on Earth; that land holds 80% of the Earth’s biodiversity. Through colonization, Western powers and norms have worked tirelessly to promote one way of relating to the land – dominance – which has proven to be impossibly unsustainable and destructive.

Thus, systemic climate solutions to land are based in decolonization, re-indigenization, land rematriation to BIPOC communities, re-commoning the land, shifting away from the extractive economy to a regenerative economy, and a re-localization of governance as we strengthen communities and move toward alternative and communal forms of caring for and relating to the land.


Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio, Photo credit: Génesis Abreu

Way Forward


Way Forward 1:

Decolonization


“Decolonization brings about the [rematriation] of Indigenous land and life; it is not a metaphor for other things we want to do to improve our societies and schools...the increasing number of calls to ‘decolonize our schools,’ or use ‘decolonizing methods,’ or, ‘decolonize student thinking’, turns decolonization into a metaphor.” 
 

Decolonization first and foremost means land back: the rematriation of land to its original caretakers. Decolonization is rooted in re-Indigenization. Decolonization must take place in conjunction with the transition away from the deadly systems of racial capitalism and patriarchy and toward a regenerative, place-based economy and way of relating to one another and the land. 
 
When discussing issues of decolonization, the true meaning of the word often gets diluted, manipulated, or redefined to avoid the discomfort of its reality. It is often easier for non-Indigenous people to speak metaphorically, whereas true decolonization means the return of land and resources which non-Indigenous folks have benefited from, thus becoming a material loss. In addition, there is usually the support from non-Indigenous allies of decolonization with a qualification included, settler futurity. Settler futurity continues the settler colonial project which burdens Indigenous people with the task of considering the settlers place during and after decolonization despite Indigenous people enduring centuries of violence from settlers. Decolonization is the ACTION of removing colonialism from all aspects of knowledge gathering, and prioritizes LAND.

Want to learn more about Land Back?
Checkout Regan De Loggans‘s Land Back Zine 


Contemporarily, the call for decolonization has taken many shapes, some more overtly militant than others. It can include the reclamation of Indigeneity through skill share of their precontact knowledge. But it is inherently tied to the LAND. Indigenous scholar and activist, Nick Estes notes “most people think that decolonization would mean getting kicked off the land, or that Indigenous people would do to them what they did to Indigenous people in the past.” Land back does not mean the colonial replication of exclusionary property ownership. Land back includes rematriation of land, the recognition of Indigenous peoples as land stewards and protectors of the Earth, and Indigenous self-governmence and sovereignty.

It is essential however, to also acknowledge that in decolonial rhetoric, we should not continue to perpetuate anti-Black sentiment and the erasure of Black communities' relationship to land and nature. Therefore, movements of decolonization must also repair or repay the harm, terror, and violence committed against Black people when they were stolen from their ancestral homes to be part of the settler colonial project. Land for Black people can provide autonomous self-determination that is rooted in healing and reconnection to Mother Earth. 

Want to learn more about how decolonization is tied to abolition and racial justice? 
Checkout this podcast by Nick Estes and Noname. 



Decolonization cannot happen overnight, but movements to decolonize have been long underway. Decolonization must be the initial step, but along with decolonization we must shift to localized & regenerative economies, based in systems of care, systems that acknowledge reproductive and domestic labor, systems that are rooted in anti-racism, communal wellness, public health, and connection to the land. Decolonization will not look the same everywhere. However, the future we are calling for is based in community rather than individuality. Without decolonization, we will not have climate justice.



Organizations leading the way:


Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Mexico)

The Zapatistas are an anti-globalization, social and political group and movement based in land sovereignty and autonomy from Chiapas, Mexico. The EZLN has inspired anti-globalization, anarchist, feminist, decolonial, and indigenous movements around the world.

Kanatsiohareke Mohawk Community (USA)

Promotes the development of a community based on the traditions, philosophy, and governance of the Haudenosaunee, and to contribute to the preservation of the culture of people as a framework for a blend of traditional native concerns with the best of the emerging new earth friendly, environmental ideologies that run parallel to these traditions.

Unist'ot'en Camp - Wet'suwet'en STRONG (Canada)

The Unist’ot’en Camp is a re-occupation of indigenous Wet’suwet’en land in so called B.C., Canada. Unist'ot'en have been taking action to protect unceded land from the RCMP and the Coastal Gas Link Pipeline. Their mission is decolonization and to heal and protect the land and people.

Universidad Ixil - Decolonizing Education for Land Sovereignty (Guatemala)

This University challenges western educational models. The university prioritises oral tradition over written and within its curriculum, promotes the ancestral knowledge born of that same land. Students engage in extensive fieldwork and research in their own communities, with the elders and Indigenous authorities as their principal sources of information.

Indigenous Environmental Network (USA & Canada)

An alliance of Indigenous peoples whose mission it is to protect the sacredness of Earth Mother from contamination and exploitation by strengthening, maintaining and respecting Indigenous teachings and natural laws.

The Ganienkeh Council Fire (USA & Canada)

Ganienkeh is a branch of the original sovereign Kanien’kehà:ka Nation located within the sovereign traditional territory of the Kanien’kehà:kaa independent from those entities of North America referred to as the United States of America and Canada

Indigenous Kinship Collective (USA)

A community of Indigenous womxn, femmes, and gender non conforming folx who gather on Lenni Lenape land to honor each other and our relatives through art, activism, education, and representation

Further Resources on Decolonization




Books, Articles, and Reports:

Websites & Media: 


Way Forward 2:

Land rematriation; Spatial Reparations for Black, Indigenous, and POC communities 


Land is power. Although it provides one of the main wealth accumulation tools, land is essential in the fight for self-determination and liberation for Black and Indigenous communities globally. Conversations about the future of sacred land foster opportunities for reconciliation and reparations with Black, Indigenous, and other historically oppressed communities. For Indigenous peoples, land is not merely a resource with monetary value to be exploited purely for production and/or extraction – but rather as territories for their reproduction as peoples. Although it is necessary to recognize Indigenous land rights and decolonize, we must also recognize that Black people were stolen from their ancestral homes to build settler-colonial wealth and therefore are owed for their labor. Black liberation cannot coexist with the current system of capitalism. At the same time, to live self-determining lives, Black people must control their labor and have access to land to create systems that are affirming and allow them to thrive. Collaborative ownership of land creates a space that heals land-based and racial trauma, contributes to economic sovereignty, and builds movements of justice to reclaim and revitalize cultural practices. This is essential in the fight for Black and Indigenous liberation. Land rematriation and reparations are an essential part of a Just Transition.  




Organizations leading the way:


The Sogorea Te Land Trust (USA)

An urban Indigenous women-led community organization that facilitates the return of Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone lands in the San Francisco Bay Area to Indigenous stewardship. Sogorea Te creates opportunities for all people living in Ohlone territory to work together to re-envision the Bay Area community and what it means to live on Ohlone land. Guided by the belief that land is the foundation that can bring us together, Sogorea Te calls on us all to heal from the legacies of colonialism and genocide, to remember different ways of living, and to do the work that our ancestors and future generations are calling us to do.

The Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust (USA)

Works to advance land and food sovereignty through securing permanent land tenure for POC farmers and land stewards who will honor the land through sustainable agriculture, native ecosystem preservation, and preservation of culture.

Finger Lakes Land Access Reconciliation & Reparations (USA)

Serves as an information and advisory hub for land reconciliation and reparations in the Finger Lakes region, through the strength and power of collaborating organizations and individuals. We acknowledge the historic meaning and legacy behind the words reconciliation and reparations. We are seeking to create loving and trusting relationships within our communities in the name of sovereignty”

A New Land Tenure System (USA)

The Schumacher Center for Economics has been working since its inception on creating non-profit community land trusts to manage natural resources. “A community land trust is a democratically governed, regionally based, open membership non-profit corporation.”

Land Trust Alliance (USA)

Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance works to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across the United States.

Further Resources:


Translocal Strategies for a Just Recovery: A Black-Led Session on Restoring Land, Labor, and Capital to Self-Determined Communities by Movement Generation

Books, Articles, and Reports:

Websites & Media:


Way Forward 3:

Recognizing and Strengthening Land Rights of Indigenous and rural communities  


Way forward 3 focuses on securing land tenure for indigenous peoples, community forest management, agroecology, agroforestry, reforestation, and direct action for land sovereignty.

These initiatives happen in conjunction with one another and are the necessary steps toward land rematriation and decolonization. The theory of biocultural diversity posits that cultural diversity and ecological diversity are interconnected. The places on Earth with the greatest biodiversity, generally are also the places with the greatest caultural diversity as indigenous peoples have been conserving and propagating the land for generations. Indigenous communities have been recognized as keystone societies due to their nurturance of biodiverse ecosystems.



The Amazon Rainforest is one of Earth’s most biodiverse ecosystems. Checkout this article “The Amazon Rainforest Was Profoundly Changed by Ancient Humans: The region’s ecology is a product of 8,000 years of indigenous agriculture” to learn how the Amazon is increasingly being understood as a large and complex indigenous forest garden.

Scholars Maffi and Woodley note “research has shown that major ecosystems such as tropical forests, commonly thought of as the quintessential ‘pristine’ environments, actually bear the mark of vast anthropogenic alterations brought about by resident indigenous populations over long periods of time” (2012;15).

Biodiversity is dependent on indigenous survival, the safeguarding of traditional ecological knowledge and ultimately, land rematriation. 

  • Securing land tenure for indigenous peoples has been proven to lead to slowed forest loss and increased biodiversity. Studies have shown that “indigenous titled lands managed through community governance frameworks are often more effective in sustaining healthy and intact forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, and other ecosystems than conventional government-run protected areas” (Forest Peoples Programme, 2018). Due to the market economy, there are few supported programs that are well-funded that focus on community land tenure rights. In Peru, Native Communities in Ucayali have received support for titling native land. This is due to continuous organizing through “local, national and global advocacy over more than five years led by the regional Amazonian indigenous peoples’ organisation AIDESEP” (Friends of the Earth, 2018). In addition to land titling, community forest management, community mapping, community based monitoring, strengthening internal governance systems, and co-management are all pathways toward addressing forest loss and biodiversity protection when environmental policy is not succeeding and on the road to decolonization.     
             

  • Community Forest Management- Community forest management systems view the land as the commons. Communities with community forest management systems in place have been found to have higher levels of biodiversity than those managed by the government or through conservation programs through non-profits or corporations. A study comparing 33 CFM cases in Mexico, South America, Africa, and Asia found that there was a lower deforestation rate in these community managed areas than areas monitored by conservation groups or the government (Friends of the Earth, 2018). CFM is often used to reforest and regenerate land that has been previously overused, chemicalized, or destroyed by extractive industries.       
 


  • Agroecology, agroforestry & regenerative agriculture - Agro-ecological methods of farming such as agroforestry, forest garden systems, milpa systems, sacred forests, chakras, terraced farming, intercropping, polyculture, and other regenerative agriculture practices are essential for food sovereignty, land sovereignty, and for the safeguarding of traditional knowledge and agricultural practices for primarily indigenous, rural, peasant and Black, and POC communities. Agroecological farms and forest gardens are also far more resilient to climate disasters such as storms, drought, pests, and disease, have healthier, stronger, and more nutrient rich soil.

Potato Harvest in Pampacorral, Lares, Peru Photo credit: Génesis Abreu

  • Direct Action for Land Sovereignty - Globally, communities have fought to protect their land from exploitation in the form of mining, drilling, logging, industrial agriculture, big dams, ecotourism and a variety of other land grabbing projects. The struggle for land sovereignty is ongoing. Groups have used tactics from civil disobedience, pursuing legal action, gaining international support to more violent tactics. It is important to keep in mind the extreme violence that extractivist projects have on local communities, from complete pollution of land & water bodies and therefore livelihoods, the mass displacement of communities, and the murders and sexual abuse of indigenous women coming from man camps.    
                        


Organizations leading the way:


Land Matrix (Global)

an independent land monitoring initiative that promotes transparency and accountability in decisions over LSLAs in low- and middle-income countries by capturing and sharing data about these deals at global, regional, and national level.

La Via Campesina (Global)

is an international movement which coordinates peasant organizations of small and middle-scale producers, agricultural workers, rural women, and indigenous communities from Asia, Africa, America, and Europe.

National Black Food and Justice Alliance (USA)

organizes for black food and land, by increasing the visibility of visionary Black leadership, advancing Black people’s struggle for just and sustainable communities, and building power in our food systems and land stewardship.

International Land Coalition (Global)

is a global alliance of civil society and farmers' organizations, United Nation's agencies, NGOs and research institutes with a collective goal to realize land governance for and with people at the country level, responding to the needs and protecting the rights of those who live on and from the land.

Forest Peoples Programme - Rights Based Solutions for Tackling Deforestation (Global)

Forest Peoples Programme works with indigenous forest peoples globally to ensure their rights, secure land tenure, and protect indigenous land.

AIDESEP (Peru)

The Inter-Ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Jungle is the leading organization for the indigenous peoples of the Amazon and works to defend and protect the collective rights of the people. AIDESEP’s mission is to “Claim the territorial integrity of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon. Establish and strengthen indigenous self-government based on the development of the country's multiculturalism. Establish, control and develop the development system of the indigenous economy.”

Global Forest Coalition (Global)

GFC is an international coalition of NGOs and Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations defending social justice and the rights of forest peoples in forest policies.

Friends of the MST Brazil (Brazil)

The Friends of the MST (FMST) is a network of individuals and organizations that support the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement (MST) in the struggle for social and economic justice while securing respect for human rights.

GRUFIDES (Peru)

Grufides fights for human, land, and water rights, specifically against gold mining projects in Peru.

Three Sisters Land Sovereignty Project (USA)

A Mohawk women-led project in Akwesasne, NY focused on reclaiming and healing the land which is surrounded by four superfund sites and teaching and preserving the Mohawk language, culture, and farming practices.

Kawsak Sacha - The Living Forest (Ecuador)

In Kawsak Sacha, Sarayaku puts forth a declaration for the international recognition of the Living Forest as a legally protected area in Ecuador.

Amazon Frontlines (Global)

An international organization defending indigenous rights to land, life and cultural survival in the Amazon rainforest.

Amazon Watch (Global)

A nonprofit organization founded to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of Indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin.

Friends of the Earth International (Global)

FOEI is the world’s largest grassroots environmental network that campaigns on urgent environmental and social issues, challenging the current model of economic and corporate globalization, and promoting solutions to create environmentally sustainable and socially just societies.

Gaia Foundation (Global)

A U.K. based organization that supports communities and movements in Africa, South America, Asia and Europe that works to revive bio-cultural diversity, to regenerate healthy ecosystems and to strengthen community self-governance for climate change resilience.

Terralingua (Global)

An organization working to educate people on the significance of biocultural diversity and protect linguistic and cultural diversity.

More Organizations working on Food & Land Sovereignty

Further Resources on Recognizing and Strengthening Land Rights:




Books, Articles, and Reports:

Media: 

Who’s In The Way


Obstacle 1:

Neoliberalism and Ecosystem Services

Inaction from the global North on climate change has brought us past ecological tipping points as global temperatures continue to rise. When tipping points are crossed, entire biomes rapidly and irreversibly change resulting in the conversion of rainforests to savannas, increasing wildfires, insect attacks, droughts and other drastic climate impacts (Steffen et al,. 2019). Deforestation, extractivism for minerals & oil, logging, fracking, biofuel production, and industrial agriculture all detrimentally affect the health of the land, plants, animals, and communities that live on the land. Current international policy is grounded in the neoliberal market economy and corporate profit rather than human, land, and water rights. Without dismantling and addressing the failures of capitalism, a system built on individualism, competition, and notions of scarcity, we are going to see little action on truly addressing climate change and climate justice. 

With the rise of neoliberalism in the 1980s, powerful international financial institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Global North  pushed for structural adjustment programs resulting in the defunding of public programs and a sweeping shift to run cities, states, and countries as for-profit businesses. Today, we continue to bear witness to the ongoing colonization of the Global South by the North, through war, land grabs, and overproduction and consumption on behalf of the North, primarily affecting Indigenous, Afro-descendant, rural, peasant, low-income and communities of color globally.

To learn more about international financial institutions, checkout our Food page, Obstacle 3

Global environmental policy is based in the neoliberal market economy. Environmental issues are only successfully written into policy through the quantification and commodification of nature, through carbon trading, programs like PES, REDD and REDD+, and through policies that reduce nature to ecosystem services. Nature becomes property, to be bought, sold, and valued through only a monetary value. In the field of Western environmental conservation, the predominant view exists that the natural world would be pristine without humans, i.e. true conservation requires the removal of humans from an area. This reductionist mindset sees humans and the natural world as separate and cannot fathom a world in which human communities live symbiotically with animals, plants, and the environment, rather than exploiting it. It is not human-nature to be exploitative and strip the Earth of its resources. It is a Western, colonial, patriarchal and capitalist economy that has committed these mass atrocities to local ecosystems through settler-colonial European agriculture and through extreme resource extraction.
 

Further Resources:




Obstacle 2:

Industrial Agriculture


→ for info on industrial agriculture visit our food and water page    

“Development of settler agriculture and urbanization removed perennial vegetation from 70% of an entire landscape in under three hundred years [1,25]. Agriculture has transformed ecosystems in….from a state of high species and structural diversity to a state of very low species diversity and structure [27]. This shift in ecological state has coincided with the removal of and harm to Indigenous peoples who still occupy this land; has resulted in polluted ecosystems; and, created agricultural lands that are heavily dependent on the use of external inputs including pesticides and fertilizers [20,28–30].” (Wartman, 2018)

Obstacle 3:

Green Grabbing and Sustainable Development 


Green grabbing is a land grab that is framed as necessary for environmental concerns, such as taking land for carbon markets, forest preservation, biofuel production, ecotourism, or conservation that displace the local and often indigenous people from the land. Often, national governments overrule the local peoples and sell indigenous, peasant, or rural land under the premise of “sustainable development.”

Further Resources:




Books, Articles, and Reports: 

Media:

Obstacle 4:

Patenting Nature


According to intellectual property rights law under the WTO’s Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights, corporations have the right to patent knowledge on nature and charge other businesses that want to use this knowledge. From an environmental economics perspective, privatizing land would lead to an increase in protection and conservation of the land. In environmental economics, publicly owned land results in the tragedy of the commons due to over-use by the people. TRIPS violates traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) of indigenous communities as it has allowed the stealing and commodification of indigenous knowledge resulting in a company profitting off TEK rather than the community itself. To accommodate this, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity under article 8j, the Nagoya Protocol calls for corporations to share equal benefits from use of this knowledge with the “original knowledge holders.” The Nagoya Protocol prioritizes corporate gain and ownership of biological species over the safeguarding of indigenous knowledge and rights. There is not a clear pathway for sharing benefits with an entire peoples, especially when TEK has been passed down through generations.

False Solutions


False Solution 1:

Carbon markets




Carbon offset programs such as UN-REDD and REDD+ were adopted in collaboration with three organizations from the United Nations: FAO, UNDP and UNEP in 2008. REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) grants the opportunity to countries and corporations of Global North to exceed their permitted greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by remunerating and using the forests in the Global South as Carbon Sinks. Such conservation programs have led to increased deforestation, GHG emissions, human rights violations and ecocides. The land management policies of REDD have resulted in local and indigenous peoples losing land and access to forests, often a main source of food, shelter, and livelihood. This displacement not only results in additional destruction of the ecosystems and the environment but also hinders the passing of traditional ecological knowledge that has allowed for the flourishing of forestland and a symbiotic relationship between indigenous peoples and the land. Under this framework, the land is privatized and the ownership is transferred to conservation based NGOs that permit industrial agriculture, “sustainable” logging and mining in previously protected zones, all while stripping local people of their livelihoods, cultures, and basic human rights.

Programs to offset biodiversity loss in one place by “conserving” land in another often are highly unsuccessful and lead to land grabbing, displacing communities, and infringing on human rights of local peoples (FOEI, 2019). A study completed of “558 offset projects between 1990-2011 found that despite offset attempts the net loss of habitats was 99%” (2019;2). Nature cannot be quantified. People over profit. There are highly lenient baselines for how much deforestation can continue to occur under these programs. REDD allows certain countries to continue polluting at the expense of others, a continuation of neo-colonialism. Often, money from the corporation or state will go to the national government rather than the local communities who live on the land. Programs such as REDD+ attempt to “save” the emissions to sell to corporations so they can continue polluting. It's a luring opportunity for a corporation to invest in forest conservation projects to offset their emissions. The REDD+ program has become a huge economic opportunity as the REDD+ permits are sold in voluntary Carbon Markets. However, as we have indicated above, offset programs actually lead to greater emissions, habitat loss, and greater biodiversity loss. To find out more about carbon markets and carbon trading, please visit our cooperative member’s website, Money or Mitigation on Carbon Markets and REDD+ and our Economy page.

More Resources:


False Solution 2: 

Institutional Approaches That do not Address Systemic Causes


In Forest Peoples Programme’s 2018 Report “Closing the Gap: Rights Based Solutions for Tackling Deforestation,” FPP addresses a variety of policies and approaches to mitigate deforestation. Commodity certification and voluntary standards, corporate social responsibility, and corporate commitments to zero deforestation are all top-down approaches which are self-regulating, do not address the colonial nature of the corporation’s existence, and do not address the businesses they partner with, the local laws. These approaches do not necessarily assist in changing national or international policy. Public policies and law enforcement to protect indigenous rights and land are necessary, but can often come at the price of pushing out indigenous communities. In 2004, the Zero Deforestation Law in Paraguay decreased forest loss but displaced local indigenous peoples and favored unsustainable industrial soy farmers needs instead.






Overview


Since the industrial revolution, the world, in particular the global North, has experienced an incredibly rapid growth of industrial production and urbanization, which has created a massive demand for raw materials and energy resources to create and sustain urban centers. This mass consumption of natural resources has brought forth serious consequences, such as climate change, the depletion of natural resources, and waste generation.

However, it is important to note that the consumption of natural resources looks different throughout the world. We’re currently in a situation where 20% of the world’s population, mostly from the Global North, consumes 80% of the world’s resources. In addition to this, global North nations ship their waste overseas to nations in the global South, which exposes communities to toxic chemicals that leach from electronic and solid waste, creating severe health and environmental impacts.



In the current global paradigm, “waste materials have no immediate use, need, value, are economically redundant and the users want its immediate disposal”.

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act defines the most common waste, solid waste, as any garbage or refuse, sludge from a wastewater treatment plant, water supply treatment plant, or air pollution control facility and other discarded material, resulting from industrial, commercial, mining, and agricultural operations, and from community activities. Solid waste is not limited to waste that is physically solid, it can also be liquid, semi-solid, or contain gaseous material.

Nearly everything we do leaves behind some kind of waste.

Waste sites like transfer stations, materials recovery facilities, incinerators, and landfills all adversely impact local and global communities and systems in land and food, energy and minerals, economics, health, migration, and security or governance leading to the further depletion of the earth.

Source/Credit: Laura Langner - “Landfill” Udaipur, India 2015

This process has been amplified during the anthropocene, where elitist, capitalist, and colonial systems are rapidly diminishing previously efficient and effective earth and Indgineous community symbiotic regenerative systems. Continuing a growth-based extractive economy will only exacerbate the problems we see today, thereby, it is essential to have a global paradigm shift in our approach to natural resource usage and waste.

Waste is nutrients. Waste is precious. We should learn from Nature: Nature doesn’t know ‘waste’. In Nature, one species’ waste is another species’ resource. We ought to begin to re-think of waste as a ‘mislocated resource’ that needs to be recovered. 

Way Forward

Way forward 1:

Zero Waste


Zero waste directly challenges the common assumption that waste is unavoidable and has no value by focusing on waste as a misallocated resource that has to be recovered. Zero waste also focuses on the avoidance of waste creation in the first place. This means that products, packaging, and materials are produced, consumed and recycled in a responsible manner. No waste is incinerated and toxic materials do not end up in the ground, in the water or the air. Zero Waste makes the current linear supply chain circular and regenerative.

‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of recycling’

Embedding zero waste policies requires strong industry leadership, new policies, and effective education curricula, as well as raising awareness (education) and refocusing research agendas to bring about attitudinal change and the reduction of wasteful consumption.



Organizations leading the way in Zero-Waste:

GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives)

GAIA is a worldwide alliance of more than 800 grassroots groups, non-governmental organizations, and individuals in over 90 countries. GAIA advances successful, community-driven waste solutions through systems change and policy advocacy. Their efforts focus on three initiatives: promoting zero waste, reducing problematic waste streams like plastic, and putting an end to the ineffective and hazardous practice of burning waste.

GAIA sees waste and its resulting pollution as a symptom of a larger, profit-driven extractive economy, and promote zero waste as a holistic solution and an economic shift toward justice and sustainability.



Break Free From Plastic

BFFP holds consumer-goods companies and plastic producers accountable for the waste they generate and champions zero waste communities and lifestyles

Zero Waste International Alliance 

ZWIA has been established to promote positive alternatives to landfill and incineration and to raise community awareness of the social and economic benefits to be gained when waste is regarded as a resource base upon which can be built both employment and business opportunity.

PreCycle

Precycle works with local farmers and distributors on a one-on-one basis. Customers know where their food originates and are given the choice of reusable instead of disposable packaging.

Californians Against Waste

The mission of Californians Against Waste is to conserve resources, prevent pollution and protect California’s environment through the development, promotion, and implementation of waste reduction and recycling policies and programs. Californians Against Waste is a non-profit environmental research and advocacy organization that identifies, develops, promotes and monitors policy solutions to pollution and conservation problems posing a threat to public health and the environment.

Zero Waste California

ZWC is about providing the best information available so our readers can make informed decisions about sustainable practices that work for their lifestyle. Whenever a plastic package is left on the store shelf in favor of loose produce or a bulk food, that’s a zero waste victory. Whenever a food scrap gets composted instead of ending up in landfill, that’s a zero waste victory, too.

More Resources on Zero Waste:

Books, Articles, and Reports:
Websites:
Videos:


Way Forward 2:

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)


EPR places responsibility on manufacturers for the entire life-cycle of their electronic products, including recyclability. This leads to the practice whereby an increasing number of manufacturers include in the sale of goods a service for the future recovery and the processing of the product at the end of its usefulI life. It also includes extending responsibilities to consumers to participate in recycling/reuse schemes. (Lehmann, 2011)


Organizations leading the way to implement Extended Producer Responsibility:
 

Basel Action Network (BAN)

BAN’s mission is to champion global environmental health and justice by ending toxic trade, catalyzing a toxics-free future, and campaigning for everyone’s right to a clean environment
  • Electronic Stewardship: BAN’s e-Stewards helps everyone – citizens and businesses alike – tackle the toxic footprint left behind by their old electronics. e-Stewards defines and promotes responsible electronics reuse and recycling worldwide. e-Stewards certification differentiates truly responsible recyclers from those who merely claim to be going green.
  • e-Trash Transparency Project: This project was designed to once and for all get real data to find out what really happens when you drop your old computer, monitor or printer at a charity or at an electronics recycler. Read their latest report. 

The Electronics TakeBack Coalition (ETBC) 

ETBC promotes green design and responsible recycling in the electronics industry. Our goal is to protect the health and well being of electronics users, workers, and the communities where electronics are produced and discarded by requiring consumer electronics manufacturers and brand owners to take full responsibility for the life cycle of their products, through effective public policy requirements or enforceable agreements.

Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC)

SVTC is a diverse organization engaged in research, advocacy and grassroots organizing to promote human health and environmental justice in response to the rapid growth of the high-tech industry. They envision a toxic-free future, where each new generation of technical improvements in electronic products includes parallel and proportionate advances in social and environmental justice. Their goal is environmental sustainability and clean production, improved health, and democratic decision-making for communities and workers most affected by the high-tech revolution.

International Campaign for Responsible Technology

ICRT is an international solidarity network that promotes corporate and government accountability in the global electronics industry. They are united by a mutual concern for the life-cycle impacts of this industry on health, the environment, and workers’ rights. By sharing resources, they seek to build the capacity of grassroots organizations, local communities, workers and consumers, to achieve social, environmental, and economic justice.

More Resources on Extended Producer Responsibility:





Way Forward 3:

Reduce Food Loss/Waste 


Reducing food waste is a critical component in tackling the issue of waste. It’s been shown that “of the 4 billion tonnes of food [industrial agriculture] produces per year, 33-50% is wasted along its processes.” There’s literally tons of food being “wasted” in the industrialized production of food – this waste is not a mistake, but rather a fundamental feature of capitalism and by extension industrial food production.

Abolition of capitalism, the industrial food system, and linear production must be front and center for ending waste. In the meantime, diverting as much food away from the trash and into the homes of families in need is a top priority.

Furthermore, community composting programs are critical as composting prevents anaerobic decomposition which produces methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas and a significant contributor to climate change. Instead, composting engages aerobic decomposition, which eliminates release of methane.

Organizations leading the way to reduce loss/waste:

Reclaimed Organics

Reclaimed Organics is a local, decentralized way for individuals to take an active role in recycling organics in their community. By providing convenient pickup by bicycle, with local consolidation and processing at community gardens, they further reduce the impact that trucking trash normally has on local communities and greater environment.

Food Not Bombs

Food Not Bombs is a global, all-volunteer organization dedicated to nonviolent social change. Food Not Bombs has no formal leaders and strives to include everyone in its decision making process. Each group recovers food that would otherwise be thrown out and makes fresh hot vegan and vegetarian meals that are served outside in public spaces to anyone without restriction. Many Food Not Bombs groups also share groceries and organize other efforts to support their communities. Each independent group also serves free meals at protests and other events.

Food Bank of the Southern Tier

Through partnerships and community, the Food Bank of the Southern Tier acquire and distribute over 10 million pounds of food and other grocery products to people in need through a network of more than 160 partner agencies including food pantries, meal programs, shelters and other hunger relief organizations in Broome, Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga and Tompkins Counties. The Food Bank also administers several direct service food distribution programs including the BackPack Program™ and Mobile Food Pantry Program

City Harvest

City Harvest is New York City’s largest food rescue organization, helping to feed the more than 1.5 million New Yorkers who are struggling to put meals on their tables. They rescue millions pounds of food each year and deliver it, free of charge, to hundreds of food pantries, soup kitchens and other community partners across the five boroughs. Their programs help food-insecure New Yorkers access nutritious food that fits their needs and desires; increase our partners’ capacity; and strengthen the local food system, building a path to a food-secure future for all New Yorkers.

COPIA

Copia™ makes healthy food more accessible to people in the community by helping businesses redistribute high-quality excess food to feed people in need. Businesses use our technology platform to feed the community, save money, and reduce waste.

Foodshare

Foodshare is the regional food bank serving Connecticut’s Hartford and Tolland counties, where 118,000 people struggle with hunger. Foodshare is a member of the national organization Feeding America, along with more than 200 other food banks nationally. In partnership with the food industry, donors, community leaders and volunteers, Foodshare works to maximize access to nutritious food and other resources that support food security

Food Forward

We collect fresh fruits and vegetables that would normally go to waste from backyard fruit trees, public orchards, farmers markets, and the downtown Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market. 100% of the produce we recover is donated to hunger relief agencies across 8 counties in Southern California.


Food Rescue US

Food Rescue US is a technology-based, volunteer-driven, direct-transfer platform that is simple, sustainable, and replicable. Volunteer food rescuers across the country deliver fresh food from businesses that have too much to social service agencies who serve people that have too little.

412 Food Rescue

412 Food rescue uses technology to match excess food to agencies in need. They partner with food retailers, volunteer drivers, and nonprofit organizations to connect surplus food with individuals and families who are experiencing food insecurity.


Boston Area Gleaners

Boston Area Gleaners organizes volunteer trips to local farms to harvest high-quality fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste. They distribute the nutritious produce to agencies serving families facing food insecurity.

Boulder Food Rescue

Boulder Food Rescue aims to create a more just and less wasteful food system. They facilitate the sustainable redistribution of healthy food that would otherwise be wasted to low-income communities, by bicycle. They work with communities to facilitate their own food redistribution and create decentralized systems to bypass barriers to food access. Their work envisions a world in which everyone has equitable access to healthy food

Second Bite

SecondBite is a leading food rescue organisation in Australia.They work with a range of food suppliers to rescue surplus fresh food from across the network, and redistribute it to local charities and non-profits around Australia. These groups run food programs to support people in need in their communities


More Resources on Food Loss/Waste


Way Forward 4:

Composting


Composting feeds the soil, prevents greenhouse gasses and reduces the impact of landfills by redirecting food waste to productive uses. Compost is an important source of plant nutrients and is a low-cost alternative to chemical fertilizers. It uses reverse supply chain principles, giving organic components back to the soil, thus improving the quality of the land for agriculture.

Compost is an important source of plant nutrients and is a low-cost alternative to chemical fertilizers. It uses reverse supply chain principles, giving organic components back to the soi, thus improving the quality of the land for agriculture.

Furthermore, community composting programs are critical as composting prevents anaerobic decomposition which produces methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas and a significant contributor to climate change. Instead, composting engages aerobic decomposition, which eliminates release of methane.

Organizations leading the way in composting:

Institute For Local Self-Reliance

ILSR is a national research and advocacy organization that partners with allies across the country to build an American economy driven by local priorities and accountable to people and the planet.
  • Composting for Community Initiative: This initiative works in diverse communities to create jobs, protect the climate, and reduce waste by advancing local, neighborhood-level composting programs

Common Ground Compost

CGC is an NYC organization dedicated to the reorganization of composting and waste management in NYC, providing zero waste consulting and events services to businesses, including education, program development, waste audits, and more.

BK Rot

BK ROT is New York City's first community-supported, bike-powered, fossil fuel free food waste hauling and composting service. Our project is staffed by young people of color who haul organic waste from small businesses and transform it into high quality compost. Our operations provide accessible jobs and sustained professional development for emerging environmental leaders.




Way Forward 5:

Design for Destruction/Disassembly 


Design for disassembly means the possibility of reusing entire building components in another future project, possible 20 or 30 years after construction. It aims to deliberately enable ‘chains of reuse’ in the design, and to use light-weight structures with less embodied energy, employing modular prefabrication. Through re-use, the energy embodied in waste products is retained.

Organizations leading the way in Design for Deconstruction/Disassembly

Phonebloks

Customizable tech-hardware to prevent upgrades, thus waste.

Moss Design

Moss is a full service architecture and urban design studio in the Chicago neighborhood of Logan Square. We’re LEED accredited and licensed in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and California. Our work is diverse by design, allowing us to explore the best design solutions across varied project types including residential, commercial, hospitality, breweries and wineries, interiors, urban planning, and custom furniture.

AutoDesk Sustainable Building Design

Autodesk Sustainable Design helps you imagine, design and make a better world by equipping you with knowledge to improve material and energy efficiency, enabling us all to live well and within planetary limits.

Cradle 2 Cradle

Cradle to Cradle Certified™ is a globally recognized measure of safer, more sustainable products made for the circular economy.   Product designers, manufacturers and brands around the world rely on the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard as a transformative pathway for designing and making products with a positive impact on people and planet. From fragrances to flooring, t-shirts and jeans to water bottles and window treatments, thousands of products are Cradle to Cradle Certified. What’s more, a growing number of brands, organizations and standards also recognize Cradle to Cradle Certified as a preferred product standard for responsible purchasing decisions.


More Resources on Design for Destruction/Disassembly:


Books, Articles, and Reports:

Websites:


Way Forward 6:

Biomimicry


Biomimicry takes its inspiration from natural processes. It is an approach to re-imagining the design and development process of sustainable materials, products, services by learning how nature already works. 

The design looks pleasing and resembles nature, however, a lot of the times the design doesn't have anything to do with the environmental impact. Biomimicry should also encompass social benefits. 

Disclaimer: We acknowledge that Indignenous biomimicry practices have been appropriated by the tech industry - derivative of regenerative culture.

Organizations leading the way in Biomimicry:

Biophilic Cities

Biophilic Cities partners with cities, scholars and advocates from across the globe to build an understanding of the value and contribution of nature in cities to the lives of urban residents. As a central element of its work, Biophilic Cities facilitates a global network of partner cities working collectively to pursue the vision of a natureful city within their unique and diverse environments and cultures

PAX Scientific

PAX Scientific is a fluid dynamics research and design firm. Their understanding of natural fluid flow allows us to design industrial equipment and other technologies that are highly efficient and innovative. We develop our own products or license our designs to manufacturers across a range of industries.

Biomimicry Institute

The purpose of the Biomimicry Institute is to naturalize biomimicry in the culture by promoting the transfer of ideas, designs, and strategies from biology to sustainable human systems design.
  • Youth Design Challenge: The Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge (YDC) is a free project-based learning experience created to introduce middle and high school students to nature-inspired design. The YDC offers tools and resources to make it easy for educators to build creative and engaging learning experiences that strengthen critical thinking skills for their students. We’re providing a clear framework that meets science standards and enables students to solve real-world and local sustainability problems.

  • Global Design Challenge: The Biomimicry Institute invites students and professionals worldwide to participate in the 2020 Biomimicry Global Design Challenge to create viable solutions inspired by nature that address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Challenge aims to mobilize thousands  to look to life on our planet as models, mentors, and as sustainable forms of measurement to help create peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.

  • Launchpad: The Biomimicry Launchpad accelerates the development and commercialization of biomimicry startup innovations and helps support the next generation of sustainability entrepreneurs. All teams have been selected as finalists from the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge.

Biomimicry 3.8

Biomimicry 3.8 is the world’s leading bio-inspired consultancy offering biological intelligence consulting, professional training, and inspiration.

Sharklet

A shark’s skin is composed of dermal denticles. The unique shape and pattern of the dermal denticles allows sharks to be more resistant to fouling organisms in the water, including algae and barnacles. The Sharklet surface is composed of millions of microscopic features arranged in a distinct diamond pattern. The structure of the pattern alone inhibits bacteria from attaching, colonizing and forming biofilms. Sharklet contains no toxic additives or chemicals, and uses no antibiotics or antimicrobials.

Calera

Calera found a way to mimic how marine organisms capture CO2 and turn it into calcium carbonate. Their process for CO2 reduction involves the capture of CO2 into a novel calcium carbonate cement system that is then used to make a variety of building material products. Using this technology, Calera is making it possible to produce “green” construction materials with added performance characteristics, such as weight and strength, all while actively reducing CO2 emissions in the atmosphere.

Glowee

Glowee is working to reinvent light production by using technology that already exists in nature. Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by certain living organisms (fireflies, glow-worms, and more than 80% of marine organisms). They are improving these bioluminescent microorganisms to make them more efficient in terms of light production (intensity, stability, efficiency).

The Shellworks

Lobster shells, among other seafood waste, contain chitin, an abundant biopolymer, which they’re hoping can be used as an alternative to single-use plastics. Behind the scenes at The Shellworks, a series of machines extract, form and recycle the material, which could be used to replace a significant amount of the single use plastic we use every day.

Aquaai

Fish farmers constantly face the challenges of unused feeds and fecal waste (among other things). Meanwhile, the use of antibiotics and pesticides that aquaculture sometimes uses can have adverse effects on the marine environment. But a startup called Aquaai is hoping to solve this pollution problem using a new kind of robotic fish. The company's invention uses predictive analytics, AI, VR, computer vision and biomimicry to surface precise data that can allow fish farmers to make smarter decisions while saving time, money, and the environment.

BioWave

Developed a renewable energy technology that harvests wave action energy with kelp motion.

Swarm Logic Technology

A holistic energy demand management system that communicates like a swarm.

AirCarbon

A high-performance plastic made with carbon captured from emissions.

Carbon Mix

Created carbonate rocks made from captured CO2 emissions, mimicking how coral builds.

Zelfo Techonology

Bio-material that leverages self-organizing fibers and stores carbon simultaneously.

More Resources on Biomimicry: 



Way Forward 5 (Approach with Caution):

Recycling


Recycling is recommended to be employed with caution. Although recycling has room for improvement it is one of the main sources of revenue for waste pickers around the world. Therefore, implementation of recycling facilities should be employed according to local context.

Recycling presents considerable economic and technical challenges, which is why only 10% of all discarded plastic has been recycled.

According to GAIA’s Zero Waste Master Plan, policies, education, and infrastructure for proper sorting should be improved. Policymakers should prioritize the implementation of policies for upstream waste reduction to reduce the volume of waste being created, increase usage of refill and reuse facilities, and phase out production of hard-to-recycle products and packages.



Who’s In The Way



Obstacle 1:

Petrochemical Industry


The petrochemical industry is dominated by a handful of giant corporations. As early as the 1950s, chemical corporations like Dow and petroleum producers like ExxonMobil held discussions about the negative impacts of plastic pollution, however, these same corporations have strongly resisted efforts to limit plastic output and the damage it causes.

Often the petrochemical industry pushes for the narrative that plastic litter is a problem of the consumer, diverting from their responsibility as producers of plastic.

Top plastic producers:



Organizations leading the fight against Plastic: 

Break Free From Plastics Movement

BFFP aims to bring systemic change through a holistic approach tackling plastic pollution across the whole plastics value chain, focusing on prevention rather than cure, and providing effective solutions. BFFP holds consumer-goods companies and plastic producers accountable for the waste they generate

In 2019, “brand audits” conducted by Break Free From Plastic collected a total of 476,423 pieces of plastic waste from locations around the world


Source: Plastic Atlas: Facts and figures about the world of synthetic polymers


Source: Plastic Atlas: Facts and figures about the world of synthetic polymers

Basel Action Network (BAN): Plastic Pollution Prevention

Basel Action Network is now engaged in policy challenges, market campaigns and trade investigations on Plastic Waste. Here you can follow a quick snapshot of their work.

More Resources on 



Obstacle 2:

Incinerator Industry 


When dumping waste in a landfill becomes impractical or politically unpopular, societies have typically burned that waste in machines called incinerators, most of which are usually located in communities that are culturally, economically, and politically marginalized. The location of incinerators in the United States is a clear issue of environmental inequality and environmental racism.

During the incinerator boom of the 1980s and 1990s in the US, the Environmental Justice movement and the Antitoxics movement rose up in resistance to meet the threat of this industry to local communities. They challenged and shut down multiple incinerator projects and proposals nationwide, however, this success gave industry an incentive to export waste beyond the United States and set up incineration facilities in the Global South and Eastern Europe.

Waste incineration has proven to yield poor economic results for local communities, have hazardous working conditions, and they generally emit the following toxins: persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as dioxins, furans, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); heavy metals such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide.

Organizations leading the fight against Waste-to-energy incinerators:

People for Community Recovery

PCR's mission is to enhance the quality of life of residents living in communities affected by pollution. PCR educates and advocates policy and programs in an effort to coordinate local residents on issues of the environment, health, housing, neighborhood safety, and economic equity.



GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives)

GAIA envisions a just, zero waste world built on respect for ecological limits and community rights, where people are free from the burden of toxic pollution, and resources are sustainably conserved, not burned or dumped. GAIA’s efforts focus on three initiatives: promoting zero waste, reducing problematic waste streams like plastic, and putting an end to the ineffective and hazardous practice of burning waste.
GAIA supports community-led organizing because they believe only work that is grounded in the needs and realities of impacted communities will be successful about real and lasting change.

Incinerators in Decline

Interactive map of Municipal Solid Waste by Tishman Environment and Design Center and GAIA. This is an interactive map of municipal solid waste (MSW) incinerators in the United States that depicts the location of each incinerator, along with:
  • Demographic data (% minority, % poverty) for the surrounding community within a three-mile radius)
  • Environmental justice community designation (per the demographic data)
  • Stack emissions data for several air pollutants, specifically: PM2.5, NOx, lead and mercury
  • Daily tonnage
  • Year constructed
  • Operator

The map shows that the majority (79%) of the MSW incinerators currently in the U.S. are located in environmental justice communities. These communities have rates of poverty and people of color that are above the national average


More Resources:


Books, Articles, and Reports:

False Solutions 


False Solution 1:

Bioplastics


Bioplastics come with the implicit assurance that these products will biodegrade more quickly than regular plastic products, however, bioplastics only shift the problem of single-use plastic consumption and draws attention away from the real solutions.

They come in two main types: bio-based and biodegradable:

Bio-based

Bio-based plastics are based on raw materials such as sugarcane, potatoes, and maize, which are grown as monocultures in large-scale industrial farms and use considerable amounts of pesticides, some of which are banned in the European Union.

Only a small portion of the plastic may be renewable . To be called a bioplastic, a material only needs 20 percent of renewable material; the other 80 percent could be fossil fuel-based plastic resins and synthetic additives.

Although replacing fossil materials with agricultural commodities seem unproblematic, this industry is projected to grow in the coming years, which means that the pressure on available agreeable land will rise - adding on to the already existing water shortages, species extinction, desertification, deforestation, and the lost of natural habitat from intensive industrialized agriculture

Biodegradable

Biodegradable products are designed to be degraded by the natural environment through the action of naturally occurring microorganisms under specific conditions (Heinrich Böll Foundation et al, 2019), although there are no promises about not leaving toxic residues behind.

There is an assumption that a biodegradable product will biodegrade within a single season, but the process depends on where the item ends up and the temperature of the location.


Additional Resources:


False Solution 2:

Waste-To-Energy Incinerators


When dumping waste in a landfill becomes impractical or politically unpopular, societies have typically burned that waste in machines called incinerators, most of which are usually located in communities that are culturally, racially, economically, and politically marginalized.

Waste-to-Energy facilities are among the most aggressively promoted incinerators, which claim to ‘disappear’ waste and generate energy during the process.

The following are facts* on waste-to-energy incinerators provided by GAIA:

  • Fact 1: Waste is not, and should not be fuel. Incinerators waste resources and undermine recycling and reduction efforts.

  • Fact 2: “Waste-to-energy” incinerators consume more energy than they produce

  • Fact 3: Waste incinerations is not renewable energy - and it takes investments away from real renewable energy solutions  
  • Fact 4: WTE incinerators produce the same toxic emissions as ordinary incinerators.

  • Fact 5: WTE incinerators contribute to climate change.

  • Fact 6: WTF incinerators are prohibitively expensive.

  • Fact 7: WTF incinerators take away jobs.

  • Fact 8: WTE incineration is not compatible with sustainable circular economy.

  • Fact 9: The world is shifting away from incinerators and embracing zero waste.

*For more details on each fact click here

Additional Resources:


Overview




Water is integral to every aspect of life. Hegemonic actors, capitalist systems, and industrialized societies see water as a commodity and prioritize economic benefits in detriment of local communities. Therefore, lack of access, distribution, and right to water creates injustices at multiple levels.



Water issues range from water pollution, water degradation and water depletion to water grabbing for unsustainable activities like industrial agriculture, disproportionate consumption of goods, mining activities, and energy production ranging from fossil fuels to fracking.

At the intersection of water issues is injustice, and therefore prioritizing the need to dismantle projects by transnational institutions and corporations is of utmost importance. The struggle to protect water resources in local communities is accelerated by the development agenda that reinforces economic growth over community’s needs and misuse water instead of sustaining life. 
Privatization of water resources, water depletion due to overextraction, and pollution from industrial uses to greenwashing resolutions like dam-building activities and sustainable operations aggravates the struggle for water justice in the Global South.

There are multiple alternatives like water sovereignty, remunicipalisation, communal water rights, low-cost community-owned infrastructure and customary water laws which can be seen as pathways to challenge the structures of power in order to create a more just and sustainable world.

**Disclaimer: It is critical to recognize that the solutions for water justice should not be limited and/or dependent on state, local or federal regulations. We acknowledge that the solutions presented in this platform do not include common forms of resolutions like water enforcement mechanisms for water protection and water regulations.

Way Forward


Way Forward 1:

Water Justice and Water Sovereignty



It is critical to premise water justice concerns through the lens of indigeneity and recognize the colonial state water bureaucracy practices. Water justice can be understood as the interactive societal and academic endeavor to critically explore water knowledge production, allocation and governance and to combine struggles against water-based forms of material dispossession, cultural discrimination, political exclusion and ecological destruction, as rooted in particular context.

Water injustice goes beyond its physical or chemical forms. Therefore, there is a need to broaden our understanding about the harmful relationships between water and other sectors such as energy, manufacturing and agriculture which perpetuate water-based injustices, inequalities, and discrimination. Water justice scholars should seek innovative approaches to the challenges and not merely focus on the technical aspects of water issues.

The powerful state water bureaucracies have imposed colonial large-scale construction of dams, reservoirs and hydropower plants that are grounded on ideological western domination of nature resulting in destruction of the environment, displacing millions worldwide and perpetuating societal concerns.

While there is a stronger momentum for water sovereignty, we should also be able to recognize that some water resources are ‘allocated' by the state. Even if sovereignty is embodied in local communities, vulnerable groups, and corporations, it is merely a shift of powers amongst States, International Organizations and Institutions, and private actors, including local communities or vulnerable groups.

Climate Change
Frontline communities face immediate risk due to the impacts of climate change. Along with loss of land, the rise in sea levels impacts coastal communities’s drinking water resources which are at risk due to desalination. In the mountain regions, there is an increased risk from glacial lake outbursts floods (GOLFs) contributed by glacier melts due to rise in global temperatures. Likewise, downstream communities face risk from dam hazards, flooding and loss of arable land. 



Organizations leading the way in Water Justice and Water Sovereignity

Transnational Institute (TNI)

The Transnational Institute (TNI) is an international research and advocacy institute committed to building a just, democratic and sustainable world.
  • Water Justice Project: The Water Justice project, run jointly by TNI and Corporate European Observatory, is engaged in the work of building viable alternatives to water privatisation, focusing on how to reform public water systems in order to make the human right to water a reality for everyone.

FAME (Alternative World Water Forum)

The objective of FAME is to create a concrete alternative to the sixth World Water Forum (WWF) which is organized by the World Water Council. This Council is a mouthpiece for transnational companies and the World Bank and they falsely claim to head the global governance of water.
FAME will pursue and amplify the water movement by:
    • creating and promoting an alternative vision of water management which is based on ecological and democratic values
    • continuing research to find solutions to the worldwide water crisis
    • making the water movement structure sustainable.




Movement Of People Affected By Dams (MAB)

MAB advocates for the human right to water and land, particularly for people displaced by dams and other mega-projects. The threat from increasing numbers of mega-dams has risen dramatically as the climate and energy crises have fueled the growth of so-called “clean and green” energy sources like hydro-power

Women and Rivers Network 

The Women and Rivers Network is committed to protecting free-flowing rivers and the lands, forests and territories they sustain, to ensuring women’s leadership in decision-making at all levels over freshwater resources, and to strengthening alliances and growing our movement – for the future of ourselves as women, our families and communities, our rivers and our planet.
The event brings together close to women from more than 30 countries to celebrate the fundamental role women play in defending and stewarding freshwater resources, as well as to spur collective action to challenge the deep-rooted, gender inequities that women face in safeguarding rivers and river ecosystems

Focus on the Global South

Focus on the Global South is an activist think tank in Asia providing analysis and building alternatives for just social, economic and political change. They work on the following thematic areas: Political Economy & Development, Power and Democracy and People’s Alternatives.

Water Protector Legal Collective

Water Protector Legal Collective provides legal support, advocacy, and knowledge sharing for Indigenous centered and guided environmental and climate justice movements.

South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP)

SANDRP is an informal network working on issues related to rivers, communities and large scale water infrastructure like dams: their environmental and social impacts, their performance and issues related to governance of rivers and dams.   




The Acequia Institute

The Acequia Institute (TAI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to research, education, and program extension to support the flourishing of the acequias, or communal irrigation canals, farming communities of the Upper Rio Grande watershed in New Mexico and Colorado.

Water Alternatives - Journal

Water Alternatives is an interdisciplinary journal addressing the full range of issues that water raises in contemporary societies. Its ambition is to provide space for alternative and critical thinking on such issues.




International Rivers

International Rivers protects rivers and defends the rights of communities that depend on them. They work to stop destructive dams and promote water and energy solutions for a just and sustainable world.
International Rivers also focuses on energy issues and is mentioned in False Solutions in Energy/Minerals

Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature (GARN)

GARN is a network of organizations and individuals committed to the universal adoption and implementation of legal systems that recognize, respect and enforce “Rights of Nature”.

GAIA Foundation

GAIA accompanies partners, communities and movements in Africa, South America, Asia and Europe by supporting communities and social movements on the front line of struggles to protect land, water and life, and to build regenerative alternatives to mining and extractivism.


Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save the Narmada Movement)

Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) is an Indian social movement spearheaded by native tribes (adivasis), farmers, environmentalists and human rights activists against a number of large dam projects across river Narmada, which flows through the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.


European Rivers Network

Through a myriad of activities, including information campaigns and educational programmes, the network is involved in the protection of rivers and their ecosystems.

Additional Readings & Resources on Water Justice and Water Sovereignty: 


Books, Articles, and Reports: 

Toolkits and Maps 

Campaigns and Petitions 

Way Forward 2:

Democratization and Remunicipalisation of Water


The dominant water governance frameworks reproduce water colonialism which normalises settler occupation of land, the dispossession of Indigenous peoples of water, and legitimises settler exploitation of water. Likewise, scientific expertise of hydrology is valued over knowledge produced over centuries through Indigenous peoples’ water rights, responsibilities, and governance systems. Privatization of water for profit maximization, control of water resources through megadam hydraulic projects, and reinforcing concepts like watershed management, water quality control and sense of scarcity perpetuate water commodification.



However in the last few decades, there have been local mobilizations against privatization efforts, mostly in the global north. Remunicipalisation is a local response by citizens and local authorities to systematically failing water privatisations and public private partnerships (PPPs). Multiple layers of water issues like pollution and depletion of watersheds have threatened Indigenous peoples’ rights to control water for the public good by other legal imperatives for water that do not respect its sustainable use or indigenous cultural autonomy and traditional systems.
Therefore, in order to resist control by corporations, Alternative World Water Forum (FAMA) successfully made its own space of diversity, welcoming the indigenous movements, quilombolas, fishermen, traditional communities, rural organisations, and socio-environmental movements from all over the world.

Unlike contemporary systems that solely frame water as a commodity, the indigenous cultural autonomy and traditional systems of commons-based management systems includes the right to democratic control over the management of water resources while presenting that the idea of water rights goes well beyond defined terms of access and use.


Organizations leading the way in Democratization and Remunicipalisation of Water:

Remunicipalisation - Transnational Institute (TNI) 

There are many motivations behind (re)municipalisation initiatives: a goal to end private sector abuse or labour violations; a desire to regain control over the local economy and resources; a wish to provide people with affordable services; or an intention to implement ambitious climate strategies

WaterJustice.org: Resource Center for Alternatives to Privatization

Waterjustice.org is an open space to connect people from around the world dedicated to effective, democratic and equitable water solutions, including community activists, NGO campaigners, academic researchers, trade unionists and water utility managers. The success of the website will depend primarily on the active participation of these diverse groups.

Hydropower Reform Coalition

Hydropower Reform Coalition is a diverse consortium of more than 160 national, regional, and local organizations with a combined membership of more than one million people.

Amrta Institute for Water Literacy (Indonesia)

Amrta Institute for Water Literacy’s mission is to increase public awareness in water management, wise use, and sustainable water protection; find and implement efforts to overcome water scarcity for ecosystem sustainability and public welfare through water conservation; and fight for the public rights to get water with fair access.

Public Service International 

Public Services International is part of the original movement of Internationals: united groups of socialists, trade unionists and workers created to link the struggles of the working class around the world.

La Red VIDA (Inter-American Network for the Defense of the Right to Water)

La Red VIDA is a campaign in defense of water as a public good and a fundamental right. The network consists of consumer associations, women’s organizations, environmentalists, labour unions, human rights activists, religious groups, indigenous groups and social organizations.


Additional Readings & Resources on Water Democratization:

Way Forward 3:

Implementation of Land Reform and Defense of Territories


Food production has tripled over the past half-century. The technological advances have accelerated mass productions leading to a disproportionate accumulation of wealth, power and injustices. The capitalist regime operates by maximizing land use rights to destroy the environment in order to accomplish profits over sustainability. The key driver is the underlying logic and operation of capital and the biophysical requirements of capital accumulation. In addition, the top two key drivers of water grabbing are changing patterns in global food markets and rise in agrofuels. Both these factors are linked to the food system which is fueling the new wave of water grabbing. The legal complexity surrounding water rights is used as a tool for water grabbing in many regions of the global south.

One of the most prominent forms of strategy to accumulate power and exploitation of land is through ‘land grab’, which allows for the capacity to decide how and for what purposes the land and water can be used now and in the future. In the past few years, the land rush has spiked due to the recognition that there is a limitation to the agricultural system. Another key dynamic that has played a role in this phenomenon is the impacts of climate change in agricultural yields which is adding an unprecedented pressure on the global food system.  Therefore, as long as state systems exist, a critical tool to adopt is to promote policies to protect and support local farmers, or the peasant food web which feeds 70% of the world population.

Organizations leading the way:

Focus on the Global South

Focus on the global south’s works emphasize peoples’ alternatives to build and sustain better lives, societies, economies, and environments, while converging these activities towards re-articulating a paradigm that Focus believes is both timely and crucial: deglobalisation. The current work has three broad thematic areas: 1) Political economy of development, 2) Power and Democracy, 3) Peoples’ Alternatives, each of which are interrelated and interdependent.

Global forest coalition

The Global Forest Coalition (GFC) is an international coalition of NGOs and Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations defending social justice and the rights of forest peoples in forest policies.



Yes To Life, No To Mining

YLNM was founded in 2014 by communities, organisations and networks from Africa, Europe, North and South America. Their network exists to support those communities who have decided to say NO to mining, in recognition of their right to say no, their right to Free Prior and Informed Consent and the unique challenges they face in defending land, water and life.

GAIA Foundation


Environmental Justice Organizations, Liabilities and Trade (EJOLT)


World Rainforest Movement

The World Rainforest Movement (WRM) is an international initiative that aims to contribute to struggles, reflections and political actions of forest-dependent peoples, indigenous, peasants and other communities in the global South. WRM is part of a global movement for social and environmental justice and respect for human and collective rights.

Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID)

AWID is a global, feminist, membership, movement-support organization working to achieve gender justice and women’s human rights worldwide.

Global Witness

Global Witness’s mission understands that many of the world’s worst environmental and human rights abuses are driven by the exploitation of natural resources and corruption in the global political and economic system. Global Witness is campaigning to end this.

Additional Resources: 


Who’s In The Way


Obstacle 1:

Industrial Agriculture/ Agribusiness


The industrial food chain has a massive influence on land use and water consumption for growing, processing and transporting the goods. The meat processing industry is one of the largest consumers of total freshwater. The industrial agriculture sector uses 75% of the world’s agricultural land but it actually produces only about 30% of the world's food. About 50% of the produce is allocated to feed the livestock of which only 12% comes back as animal products.



The increasing demand of meat products puts pressure on agricultural lands as more feed crops results in expansion of land use. Most of the human appropriation of freshwater resources is for agriculture (>80%) and not for drinking (<10%). In order to meet the increasing demands, value chain agriculture framework is promoted as a way to meet demands for feed crops. This further puts pressure on intensifying agri-inputs like seeds, fertilizers, agrochemicals and mechanization to cover the cost and demand, while deteriorating groundwater quality and polluting surface water as pesticides and livestock industry manure runoff results in unhealthy levels of bacteria, phosphorus pollution and frequent algae blooms.

On the other hand, the pollution of water creates dead zones limiting the production of fish stocks for the river communities. More than half a billion people depend on fisheries for their livelihoods of which about 90% fisher people work in the small-scale fishing sector and catch half of the world's total catches by volume. However, Rights-Based Fishing have led to the privatization of the oceans along with a shift from state ownership toward private ownership of fishing rights. The fishing industry implements systems where the 10% minority fisher folks are instructed to catch one particular species. The shift dramatically removes stewardship which was built on the multi-species character of small-scale fisheries. The marginalised fishers whose livelihoods depend on marine resources eventually lose their livelihoods due to the privatization efforts. It is critical to recognize small-scale fisher communities in order to transition towards an ecologically and socially just food regime.


Therefore, in order to move away from exploitation of land, water and labor, it is critical to recognize and promote food soverignity as a way forward. Food Sovereignty is a solution to address the global water crisis because of the amount of water used in the global food supply chain.

This solution intersects with solutions for food and can be found here.

Organizations working against Industrial Agriculture or Agribusiness:

ETC Group

ETC Group works to address the socioeconomic and ecological issues surrounding new technologies that could have an impact on the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. 

Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature (GRAIN)

GRAIN is a small international organization which supports the struggle of peasants and social movements to strengthen the control of communities over food systems based on biodiversity. Their report Impossible Emissions shows that together, the top five meat and dairy companies (JBS, Tyson, Cargill, Dairy Farmers of America and Fonterra) are already responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than ExxonMobil, Shell or BP.

Transnational Institute’s Agrarian & Environmental Justice programme

TNI’s Agrarian & Environmental Justice programme brings together research and analysis on the collective struggles of rural working people to democratise access, ownership, and control of land, water and other natural resources. It works closely in alliance with local, national and global alliances of small-scale farmers, fisherfolk and marginalised rural working people.

La Via Campesina

La Via Campesina is an international movement bringing together millions of peasants, small and medium size farmers, landless people, rural women and youth, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from around the world. Built on a strong sense of unity, solidarity between these groups, it defends peasant agriculture for food sovereignty as a way to promote social justice and dignity and strongly opposes corporate driven agriculture that destroys social relations and nature.

Friends of the Earth International (FOEI)

FOEI campaign’s on today’s most urgent environmental and social issues. We challenge the current model of economic and corporate globalization, and promote solutions that will help to create environmentally sustainable and socially just societies.

Additional Resources on Food’s Impact on Water



Organizations leading the fight against Fishing Industries

World Forum of Fisher Peoples’ (WFFP)

The World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP) is a mass-based social movement of small-scale fisher people from across the world, founded on 21 November 1997 in New Delhi, India, by a number of mass-based organisations from the Global South. WFFP has 29 member organisations from 23 countries and represents over 10 million fisher people from all over the world.

World Forum of Fish Harvesters & Fish Workers (WFF)

WFF is an international organization that brings together small scale fisher organization for the establishment and upholding of fundamental human rights,social justice and culture of artisanal /small scale fish harvesters and fish workers,affirming the sea as source of all life and committing themselves to sustain fisheries and aquatic resources for the present and future generations to protect their livelihoods.


Additional Resources:


Books, Articles, and Reports: 

Maps and Catalogs: 

Documentaries and Videos: 


Obstacle 2:

Extractive Industries


The central mechanisms of extractive industries capitalize on the environment through commodification or more commonly through the establishment of ecosystem services. Some of the most extensively operated extractive industries that impact people and our environment throughout the developmental stages are oil & gas, hydroelectric power dams, dams and reservoirs (agricultural purposes and consumption), beverage companies, mining, retail industries (fashion, manufacturing goods, plastics), and industrial agriculture projects (groundwater extraction). The process of minerals extraction creates industrial wastelands from vast open pit mines and mountaintop removal, voracious use and poisoning of water systems, deforestation, contamination of precious topsoil, air pollution, acid leaching, and cancer clusters. The construction of large scale projects like dams and reservoirs divert a major part of river flows, threatening the livelihood and survival of rural communities and indigenous peoples who depend on the rivers, leading to loss of biodiversity affecting fishing communities and again leading to food insecurity.

Roy, Arundhati, and Aradhana Seth. Dam/age: A Film with Arundhati Roy. Brooklyn, NY: First Run/Icarus Films, 2004. Internet resource.

In the last 50 years, the transport of goods through globalization has also given rise to the concept of ‘virtual water’. Virtual water is defined as the hidden flow of water if food or other commodities are traded from one place to another. Large private water companies, agribusinesses and extractive industries are the main profitters and traders of virtual water (the amount of water embedded within the production, processing and trade of commodities). The extraction of water for the production and processing of products for global consumption has altered the dynamics of how we interact with our environment. 

The push to create stronger regulations from the impacts of Climate change has led to the dramatic shift in domestic environmental laws and the introduction of state agencies to oversee the facilitation and implementation of the federal and local laws. The efforts to mobilize should not be limited to enforcements because fundamentally the state is designed to act as a platform to legally extract through state mechanisms like permits, enforcements and licenses to operate. The state’s central function is to legally allow extraction of resources for the sole purpose of profit margins and economic developments. In the late 1960s, nations in the global North saw a rise of the modern environmental movements which extended to influence the global south and follow a similar pattern introducing regulations, enforcements and impact assessment reports. However, it is important to be critical of the platform which is premised to operate within the system that is designed to exploit the environment for the sole purpose of development through management and ecosystem services.

Organizations leading fight against Extractive Industries 

The GAIA Foundation

The GAIA Foundation is an organisation with over 30 years experience accompanying partners, communities and movements in Africa, South America, Asia and Europe. Together we work to revive bio-cultural diversity, to regenerate healthy ecosystems and to strengthen community self-governance for climate change resilience. Post-extractivism is founded in philosophies of Buen Vivir (Good Living) and intersects with alternative development and economic theories/practices from de-growth to the commons.


Yes To Life, No To Mining (YLNM)

YLNM was founded in 2014 by communities, organisations and networks from Africa, Europe, North and South America. The  network exists to support those communities who have decided to say NO to mining, in recognition of their right to say no, their right to Free Prior and Informed Consent and the unique challenges they face in defending land, water and life.


The organizations are also listed under Obstacles section in Energy + Minerals Section [Link here]

Readings & Resources to learn more about issues related to Extraction



  • Mining





Obstacle 3:

Financial Institutions, Transnational corporations and Governance 



Understanding and responding to water injustice will necessarily involve attention to key linkages related to food, energy, and health and other sectors. Water access and the quality of water are highly unequal as it varies according to a range of social and spatial gradients.

Water grabbing involves the capturing of the decision-making power around water, including the power to decide how and for what purposes water resources are used now and in the future. The injustice deprives local communities whose livelihoods often depend on these resources and ecosystems.The dominating forms of water expertocracy facilitating privatization and water grabbing have varying levels of detrimental impacts on the environment and local communities. Subsequently, it is critical to recognize the comprehensive mechanisms that underpin large scale projects across the globe. They are initially supported by transnational corporations and/or financial institutions, and facilitated by treaties, international policies, backed by credit agencies, and formulated and/or operated government bodies. At the local level, the projects are consulted with water experts, reviewed and approved by local state agencies whose primary goal is to secure and strengthen economic development, while ignoring the detrimental effects of the projects on the local communities.

The environmental crises of the Anthropocene are deeply connected to economic policies that have enabled and continues to perpetuate exploitation and injustices. Some of the major global institutions and sectors are listed below:

  • Public-Private Partnerships (PPP)
  • State bureaucracies and Water Expert Communities
  • Water Privatization Companies 
  • Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
  • World Trade Organization (WTO)
  • World Bank
  • International Finance Group (IFC)
  • Asian Development Bank (ADB)
  • International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Organizations working to create awareness about Trade agreements:


Bilaterals.org

A shared concern about the growth of bilateral trade and investment deals outside of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and a feeling that these less visible agreements were "under the radar" of many social justice activists led to the formation of bilaterals.org website. The site’s goal is really to support social movements resisting the imposition of these deals, in a way that builds bridges between isolated efforts and shows the bigger, often global, dynamics at play.


La Via Campesina

La Via Campesina is an autonomous, pluralist, multicultural movement, political in its demand for social justice while being independent from any political party, economic or other type of affiliation. The movement fights against Capitalism and Free trade, Transnational Companies and Agribusiness, and Patriarchy. 

                                   Poster Image from La Via Campesina’s Communication kit 


Transnational Institute(TNI)

TNI’s Trade & Investment project opposes the European Union’s corporate-driven trade and investment policies by providing well-researched analysis on its social and ecological impacts, supporting the development of popular campaigns and proposing alternative policies that prioritise people’s rights over corporate profits.

Overview of Trade Agreements & Info on Global Financial Structures


Additional Reports, Publications & Articles:
  1. [Paper] The Social Construction of Scarcity, Water in Western India
  2. [Article] Perils of the US-India free trade agreement for Indian farmers
  3. [Report] The Clean Development Mechanism: Local Impacts of a Global System
  4. [Blogpost] Anti-politics of climate change [Bangladesh]
  5. [Slides] Water governance in India
  6. [Paper] The UN World Water Development Report 2016, Water and Jobs : A Critical Review: Assessment: WWDR 2016, Water and Jobs
  7. (Article) Indian Tea Estates [Land and water grab]
  8. (Report) Indian Tea Plantations
  9. [Leaflet] The Unfair Cooperation Agreement on Water Privatization (Jakarta)

Calendar



Fall 2020 Programing Forthcoming


This project is a labor of love, trust, and mutual co-liberation. We have collected these resouces communally and individually, through networks, in classrooms, from the streets, and years of research both embodied, in the library, and from our ancestors.

We want to emphasize that this knowledge is not new, the climate crisis is a symptom of grave injusticies 500 years in the making. As such, our work builds on, and from a long history of racial justice, diability justice, transformative justice, abolition, queer liberation, and so much more.

Please consider supporting the efforts of the numerous grassroots organizations listed in this website. 

If you’ve benefited from this website and feel inclined to contribute to our ongoing works, feel free to contribute here.

Many of us are seeking *paid* projects to consult, assist, and work on. For our individual expertise and contact information, please view our profiles. 

Who We Are


The Cooperative Climate Futures Project is put together by a team of friends, comrades, and organizers. As an eleven person collective, our research expertise and work history varies widely, but we find connection through our commitment to creating a decolonial, ecocentric, and equitable sustainable future. We seek to build connections between organizations internationally in pursuit of linking and building a strong, robust, and resilient decolonial future network.

Should you or your organization need research, organizing, or consulting assistance in any capacity, please reach out directly.


Co-op Member Bios

Jocelyn Germany (she/her) earned her M.S in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management from The New School. During her time in graduate school Jocelyn has dedicated her research to bridging the intersections between environmental justice and anthropology. Her capstone research was centered on the lack of black visibility in environmental spaces and higher education. Her work is centered on the social, political and economic liberation for BIPOC people. Email: germj748@newschool.edu



Kaija Xiao (she/they) is a trans and queer farmer pursuing projects in community agriculture, Indigenous food forest management, queer food, cooperatives, and communes. She is passionate about building climate resilience through communal care and abundance for her BIPOC trans and queer community in NYC. Her work finds connection through principles of horizontalism, self-determination, queer ecology, and anti-capitalism.
Email: kaija@newschool.edu
Website: kaijajx.com 


Christian Tandanzo (he/him) is a queer person of color with Andean Indigenous roots and Ecuadorian ancestry whose work focuses on the intersections of organizing, cooperative entrepreneurship, decolonization, and climate, environmental and racial justice. He is a recent graduate from The New School with a M.S in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management.
Email: christian.tandazo@gmail.com
Linkedin



Dawa Yangi Sherpa (she/her) is of Sherpa ethnicity, an ethnic minority in Nepal, indigenous group native to the most mountainous regions of the Himalayas. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and is currently working as an assistant at Earthjustice. Her primary interest is to work on water issues through the lens of environmental injustice to address corporate accountability, international treaties (legal frameworks and impact assessments), anti-dams advocacy, Glacial Lake Outbursts Floods in the Himalayas due to Climate Change, and transboundary water conflicts. She is currently completing her Master’s in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management at the New School.       
Linkedin

Laura Langner (she/her) is a born and raised New Yorker passionate about connecting kids and adults in the city back to land and food. She teaches urban farming, food justice and climate justice, working to foster a sense of environmental and social responsibility amongst nyc youth. She is particularly interested in increasing local food systems and food access, food sovereignty, agroecology, environmental justice, climate justice, land reparations, decolonization, and black and indigenous liberation. Currently, she is pursuing her Master's Degree in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management at The New School.
Email: lauraalangner@gmail.com
Linkedin



Moja Robinson (he/him) is an artist from South Central Los Angeles with a dual relationship with environmental justice and multimedia design. His focus is on branding, social change, and the behaviors that hint at the ideology of prioritizing change instead of dollars. His current work is themed around environmental inequity, systematic injustice, and solutions for these issues during the Capitalocene Post-Obama era.
Website: https://www.mojarobinson.com
Email: mojarobinson@gmail.com
Instagram: @mojarobinson


Anastasia Standrik (she/her) was born and raised in Moscow and moved to New York to pursue work as an actor. Taking a career leap to follow and deepen her commitment to climate justice and organizing, she completed a graduate degree in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management at The New School. Her work is rooted in anti-oppression and environmental justice and her research has focused on land and energy justice.
Email: anastasia.standrik@gmail.com
Instagram: @standrik



Saloni Naishad Shah (she/her) born and raised in India, is an architect, researcher, and designer. She works intensively on forest governance, ecosystem services and land-use policy. She graduated with MS in Data Visualization from Parsons School of Design and aims to use her skills in data visualization to bridge the gap of information between policymakers, scientists, and laypeople.  
Website: http://salonishah.co/
Email: salonieshah@gmail.com
Instagram: @salonieshah


Génesis Abreu (they/them) is a genderqueer person of color with Mayan and Nahuat Pipil indigenous roots and Salvadoran and Dominican ancestry. They were born and raised in Inwood and Washington Heights and still reside in this environmental (in)justice neighborhood in NYC. Génesis is a community organizer, educator, and researcher whose work is rooted in the intersection of racial, gender, environmental, climate, and language justice.
Email: genabreu@gmail.com
Instagram: @genabreu


Andrea Torres (she/they) is a queer individual whose ancestry is of the Indigenous peoples of Colombia. In 2017 she graduated from SUNY Purchase with a BA in political science and minor in sociology. Her focus has been on environmental justice and its related health implications, with a more recent focus on food and land sovereignty for Indigenous people. In May 2020 she graduated with a Master of Science in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management from The New School, with a focus on food sovereignty, food justice, and decolonization. More recently she researched how the health needs of the Indigenous diaspora from South America, Central America & the Caribbean in NYC can be addressed by community organizations, health centers, and legal organizations.
Nicole Karsch (she/her)
coming soon

Glossary


Agroecology: the study of sustainable farming and growing methods based on the ecology of natural ecosystems; indigenous farming methods and traditional ecological knowledge based on the land and the interconnectedness of plants, animals, humans, and the land

Agribusiness: Agribusiness is the business sector encompassing industrial large-scale farming and farming-related commercial activities.

Anthropocene: a term formally proposed by Paul Crutzen in 2000, stands for the notion that human beings have become the primary emergent geological force affecting the future of the Earth System; “a new geological epoch in which human economic activity is the primary driver of global environmental change. Known as the Anthropocene, this epoch is characterized by human domination and disruption of Earth system processes essential to the planet’s self-regulating capacity” (Gonzalez, 2017).

Anti-Blackness: The Council for Democratizing Education defines anti-Blackness as being a two-part formation that both voids Blackness of value, while systematically marginalizing Black people and their issues. 

The first form of anti-Blackness is overt racism. Beneath this anti-Black racism is the covert structural and systemic racism that categorically predetermines the socioeconomic status of Blacks in this country. The structure is held in place by anti-Black policies, institutions, and ideologies.

The second form of anti-Blackness is the unethical disregard for anti-Black institutions and policies. This disregard is the product of class, race, and/or gender privilege certain individuals experience due to anti-Black institutions and policies. This form of anti-Blackness is protected by the first form of overt racism.

Biocultural diversity:
the diversity of life in all of its manifestations – biological, cultural, and linguistic. The diversity of life is made up not only of the diversity of plants and animal species, habitats and ecosystems found on the planet, but also of the diversity of human cultures and languages (Maffi and Dilts, 2014).

BIPOC: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color

Climate Justice: climate change solutions that center the needs of frontline communities, those most impacted by climate disasters and environmental injustice, and challenge the extractive economy; a transition away from extractivism and toward a regenerative economy.  

Colonialism: the violent and genocidal, stealing, occupying, and exploitation of land from and of Indigenous peoples, for resources or settlement; it is the institution of systemic hierarchal class, race, and patriarchal structures and social norms that protects white-hetero-cis-males while oppressing Black, Indigenous, People of Color, women, gender-non-conforming, queer, and two-spirit folks.

Coloniality: long-standing patterns of power that emerged as a result of colonialism, but that define culture, labor, intersubjective relations, and knowledge production well beyond the strict limits of colonial administrations (Quijano 2000 & Maldonado-Torres 2007). 

Customary water laws: Pre-colonial water use and/or traditional water management practices; customary laws and traditional economies are characterized by different mechanisms from modern societies, and such mechanisms are identified with a different terminology.

Decolonization: The return of the land, its resources, and governance to its original peoples.

Desalination: a process that takes away mineral components from saline water.

Diaspora: The dispersion of a group of people who live outside their homeland due to a political, economic, social, and/or environmental event that caused them to flee or which forcibly removed them from their homelands into new regions: such as, Africans as a result of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Ecological debt: Ecological debt refers to the accumulated debt of wealthier countries for having plundered poorer countries by the exploitation of their resources, the degradation of their natural habitat, the beggaring of local people and/or the free occupation of environmental space for waste discharg. 

Environmental Justice: is the social transformation aimed at satisfying human needs and improving the quality of life (including: economic quality, medical care, housing, human rights, environmental protection, and democracy) with an emphasis on protecting vulnerable and exploited populations.

Environmental Racism: the institutional rules, regulations, policies or government and/or corporate decisions that deliberately target certain communities for locally undesirable land uses and lax enforcement of zoning and environmental laws, resulting in communities being disproportionately exposed to toxic and hazardous waste based upon race, gender, ethnicity, and religion.

Extractivism: an economic model that has its roots in the large-scale exploitation and expropriation of the natural resource wealth of developing countries that began under colonialism (FoEI, 2013).

False “Renewables”: energy sources dubbed renewable in the context of the capitalist green economy, but are incompatible with a Just Energy Transition due to the destruction they cause to communities and the enviornment. Some of these include biofuels, “waste-to-energy” (incineration), mega dams, and nuclear power.

Food Sovereignty: the right of peoples to healthy and culturally-appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations (Declaration of Nyéléni, 2007).

Glacial Lake Outbursts Floods (GLOFs): type of outburst flood that occurs when the dam containing a glacial lake fails.

Hegemony: the ability of a dominant or ruling group to impose its own values and ideas about what is natural or normal on a subordinated group, often defining the parameters of what is even considered an acceptable topic within the dominant discourse (also referred to as the Master Narrative) (Gramsci, 1971).

Hydro-development: using water as a force in economic development by building large dams, generating and transmitting hydroelectricity, and impounding and diverting water

Institution: any established law or custom that is accepted as part of a culture. Also an established organization with entrenched power, like a bank, universitiy, or the military. 

Institutional oppression: the systematic mistreatment and dehumanization of any individual based solely on a social identity group with which they identify that is supported and enforced by society and its institutions; based on the belief that people of such a social identity group are inherently inferior.

Just Transition: a climate justice framework developed to secure workers' rights and livelihoods and to uplift frontline communities as the economy shifts from extractive to regenerative, fossil fuels to renewables, and exploitative to care-based.

Native Science (Traditional Environmental Knowledge): is a foundational expression of the Indigenous mind, which is first and foremost a relational orientation, knowledge base, and process for sustaining people, community, culture, and place through time and generations (Cajete 2018).

Neocolonialism: the continuation of colonialism through developmentalism, modernization, education systems, and forced displacement due to land and ocean grabbing. The change from colonialism to neocolonialism is a change only in how the state controls the colonized people.

Neoliberalism: national and international policies of deregulation sponsored by The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund created to prioritize the marketplace and increase economic capital while simultaneously defunding public programs.

Land Grabbing: any scale of acquisition of land for commercial or industrial purposes, such as agricultural and biofuel production, mining and logging concessions, or tourism. It involves land being purchased by investors rather than producers, often foreign investors. It happens with limited (if any) consultation of the local communities, inadequate (if any) compensation, and a lack of regard for environmental sustainability and equitable access to, or control over, natural resources.

Oppression: the systemic use of institutional power and ideological and cultural hegemony, resulting in one group benefiting at the expense of another; the use of power and the effects of domination.

Patriarchy: an economic, political, cultural and social system of domination of women non-binary, and transgender people that privileges cisgender men. Patriarchy is based on binary definitions of gender (male/female) with strict gender roles. It also relies upon rigidly enforced heterosexuality that places male/straight/non-transgender people as superior and women/queer/transgender people/nonbinary people as inferior. Patriarchy shapes and is shaped by white supremacy, capitalism, and the state. Together, they form interlocking systems of oppression.

Queer Ecology: a term used to ecapsulate a varieity of ecological practices and politics that unsettles hetero-patriarchal insitutional sciences and understandings. It draws heavily from queer theory, trans theory, ecofeminism, and LGBTQ2S histories and legacies. Histories that affirm all relations of life through the disintegration of western frameworks of “natural”. 

Racism: a system of oppression based on the social construct of a racial hierarchy, which is expressed in individual, institutional as well as cultural forms and functions that benefit white people and white-passing people at the expense of black and indigenous people and people of color.

Remunicipalisation: the concept of remunicipalisation is broadly used to cover changes from private to wholly public ownership of assets or companies; changes from outsourcing (or contracting-out) of services to direct provision by a public authority; and the replacement of concessions or lease contracts by public management.

Settler-Colonialism: refers to the violent and complex social process in which at least one society seeks to move permanently onto the terrestrial, aquatic, and aerial places lived in by one or more other societies who already derive economic vitality, cultural flourishing, and political self-determination with their local ecosystems (Whyte, 2017)

Virtual water: hidden flow of water if food or other commodities are traded from one place to another.

Water expertocracy: the power of establishment experts; rule or government by experts in the water sector.

Water governance: broadly refers to processes and practices that shape decision making over water and its uses, including but not limited to, actors and institutions, as well as formal and informal laws and regulations that govern how water is accessed and used

Water grabbing: a situation where powerful actors are able to take control of, or reallocate for their own benefits, water resources already used by local communities or feeding aquatic ecosystems on which their livelihoods are based.

Water grabbing (economic model of development): capital accumulation is linked to increasing control over abundant and cheap supplies of natural resources, including food, water and energy.

Water grabbing (modification): the diversion of natural waterways by local regional or state authorities or by private actors-physical or legal persons-upon authorization released by public authorities.

Water sovereignty: water sovereignty is the right to use and access water resources without any interference from outside sources or bodies

White-supremacy: the idea (ideology) that white people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to People of Color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. White supremacy is ever-present in our institutional and cultural assumptions that assign value, morality, goodness, and humanity to the white group while casting people and communities of color as worthless (worthless), immoral, bad, and inhuman and "undeserving." Drawing from critical race theory, the term "white supremacy" also refers to a political or socio-economic system where white people enjoy structural advantages and rights that other racial and ethnic groups do not, both at a collective and an individual level.

Frameworks


"A lens is a good metaphor since in its literal sense changing it changes the way its viewer sees the world. And the Themetaphorical lenses we chose are crucial, having the power to magnify, create better focus, and correct our vision" -Charlene A. Carruthers (Unapologetic)



Cooperative Climate Futures addresses the intersectional root causes of the climate crisis and proposes solutions to reclaim an alternative vision of the future through a decolonial, queer, intersectional, and just transition lens. 

From these lenses, it becomes apparent that the climate crisis we see today is but a symptom of a much larger convergence of crises. These include but are not limited to, energy and resource depletion, financialization, biocultural diversity loss, water and food misappropriation, public health, climate changes, and social reproduction (Figueroa Helland, L. E., & Lindgren, T. 2015). These crises are all intimately interconnected and thus their effects continue to accelerate and compound (Ahmed, N. M. (2011). The result will be a dramatic collapse of life on Pachamama/Mother Earth. These collapses have been ongoing for Indigenous communities around the world for centuries (Whyte, K 2018).

The climate crisis is not a new phenomenon, through a decolonial lens we can conceptualize the ‘anthropocene’ to coincide with what Simon Lewis and Mark Maslin coin as the ‘Orbis Spike’ of 1610; the genocide of Indigenous peoples by european colonizers that can be measured by a decrease in atmospheric carbon dioxide (Davis, H. & Todd, Z. 2017).

Understanding the convergence of crises is not enough to imagine new solutions to solving the climate crisis, we must carefully and deeply dive into the root drivers of the crises. These root drivers stem from a certain european civilization framework, ideology and epistemologies that  includes settler colonialism, capitalism, racism, rationalism, individualism, and ableism. These complex systems both enable, structure, and drive not only the planetary crisis but underpin the very framework of modernity.

In our view, only solutions and approaches that are built outside this hegemonic framework, or actively combat it, can be considered real climate solutions. To this end, we operate under the following frameworks:


Decolonial:


We define a decolonial framework as a means to upend the settler colonial state and all systems/attitudes settler colonialism brought with it: i.e. race, racisms, state, sovereignty, private property, worth, linear time, sexisms, western epistemologies, and more. To advance decolonization is to push for race, gender, and land justice.

Incarceration is a settler colonial strategy for displacement, land dispossession, and commodification of (Indigenous) land and (Black) bodies (Tuck & Yang, 2012)). The intertwined histories of enslavement and settler colonialism reflect today in how the rise of carceral power and expansion have been normalized (Nichols, 2014). Thereby, we have to learn how to think, act, and struggle against that which is ideologically constituted as ‘normal’; we must reject the notion of assimilation in order to fit a category as it counters all efforts to produce something radical and revolutionary; we must take seriously the feminist adage that “the personal is political” (Davis, 2013). Under this framing,  decolonization also entails the abolition of property, bodies, and the prison industrial complex (Tuck & Yang, 2012) and imagining the possibility of a landscape without prisons (Angela Davis, 2014)

To achieve decolonization also means to ensure Indigenous and Black Liberation because we reocognize the connected histories and realitites of Indigenous and Black oppresion, genocide, colonialism,  and traume on stolen land. And so, decolonization is foremost rooted in the rematriation of stolen land back to Indigenous peoples as well as the forcilbly displaced African diaspora whom were stolen from their ancestral lands for the purpose of forced labor to build the “modern” white-supreacist-heteronormative-capitalistic settler-colonial state.   


Please see these resources for more information on Decolonial Theory:



Black Queer Feminism (BQF)


The Black Queer Feminist (BQF) Lens draws significantly on the Black Radial and Feminist Tradition. Drawing on the work of Black lesbian feminist, Charlene A. Carruthers, BQF is a critical intervention, whether in conversations, organizing, and or envisioning movement building toward Black liberation. BQF is rooted in the lived experiences and interlocking oppressions of Black people on the basis of race, class, and gender, and aims to dismantle all forms of systemic oppression. BQF strives to use anti-sexist, anti-ractist, and non-heteronormative intersectional practice while supporting and promoting the active participation, leadership and perspectives of women and non-binary folks throughout the structure and work design of any initiative or future.

We also draw on work of the Combahee River Collective, in our shared belief that Black women and non-binary Black folks are inherently valuable and that their liberation is a necessity not only as an adjunct to somebody else’s but because of their need as human persons with autonomy. BQF recognizes the full diversity of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two-Spirit, Trans and Gender Non Conforming (LGBTSTGNC) Black, Indigenous, and People of color (BIPOC) and the collective histories of struggle against white-supremacist-heteropatriarchal-colonial-capitalist systems of opression. We also draw on the work of Black feminist scholar Kimberlle Crenshaw and her coined term intersectionality, a term that manages to encompass in a single word the simultaneous experience of the multiple oppressions faced by queer Black women. A key aspect of intersectionality lies in its recognition that multiple oppressions are not each suffered separately but rather as a layered, single, synthesized experience. And so, BQF promotes multi-racial coalition-building, advocacy and community organizing activities among QTPOC  folks, and with accomplices in struggles for equality, equity and liberation.

Please see these resources for more information on Black Queer Feminism:




Just Transition:


Just Transition is a framework that encompases a number of ideals, principles, and strategies for the goal of moving out of a capitalist, colonial, extractivist system, to one that decentralizes, democratizes, and decolonizes Mother Earth in all aspects. Just Transition is a fundamental shift in how we organize ourselves, our knowledge systems, our relationships to each other, our non-human kin, the land, and our communities by living within, not above, the natural world, and healing centuries of intergenerational trauma.

During the transition from an extractivist system, a Just Transition is one where the needs of the most oppressed in the capitalist and colonial framework are given top priority, autonomy, and self-determination in how their communities and local economies are organized and function. A Just Transition recognizes the historical and systematic brutalities enacted by the white capitalist class/countries, and these historical brutalities must be addressed in any transition; failure to recognize and amend these brutalities will only further the violence perpetrated.

Just Transition represents critical elements that affirm Indigenous peoples and lifeways like recognizing the “territorial integrity and rights of Mother Earth, and the integrity of her living systems; together with Father Sky that maintains consciousness, personality, and spirit for all nature, to exist, flourish, and regenerate their natural capacities” (Indigenous Environmental Network. 2019). A Just Transition is rooted in building comradeship between workers in polluting industries and fence-line and frontline communities. It’s telling that these strategies were forged by labor unions, Environmental Justice groups, and front-line Indigenous communities (Movement Generations, 2016).

A Just Transition requires us to build a radical vision of the future, inspires Indigenous Nations, Black, People of color, frontline communities, and  workers, to take action, and transition whole communities towards an ethical, equitable,  decolonial, and just future.

Please see these resources for more information on Just Transition:




Resources cited in Intro:

Whyte, K. P. (2018). Indigenous science ( fiction ) for the Anthropocene : Ancestral dystopias and fantasies of climate change crises. 1, 224–242. https://doi.org/10.1177/2514848618777621

Davis, H., & Todd, Z. (2017). On the importance of a date, or decolonizing the Anthropocene. Acme, 16(4), 761–780.

Figueroa Helland, L. E., & Lindgren, T. (2015). What Goes Around Comes Around:  From The Coloniality of Power to the Crisis of Civilization. Journal of World-Systems Research, 23(2), 540–564. https://doi.org/10.5195/JWSR.2016.631

Ahmed, N. M. (2011). The international relations of crisis and the crisis of international relations: From the securitisation of scarcity to the militarisation of society. Global Change, Peace and Security, 23(3), 335–355. https://doi.org/10.1080/14781158.2011.601854

Glenn, E. N. (2015). Settler Colonialism as Structure. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, 1(1), 52–72. https://doi.org/10.1177/2332649214560440
  • “Thus, strategies and solutions that adhere to modernist concepts of progress, individuality, property, worth, and so on are fated to reproduce the inequalities that colonialism has created.” (Glenn, E.N. 55, 2015)

Tuck, E., & Yang, K. W. (2012). Decolonization is not a metaphor. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education, & Society, 1(1), 1–40.


Our Vision:


Far too often the climate crisis that is presented is full of doom and gloom. This project seeks to thwart this narrative by presenting real ongoing futures that do live and can live outside the racial capitialist project.

The Cooperative Climate Futures Project seeks to support the mobilization towards climate and environmental justice by:
  1. presenting a vision of what an equitable, ecocentric, decolonial, feminist future looks like,
  2. providing a pool of knowledge and resources on transformational systemic solutions to tackle the climate crisis,
  3. amplifying the voices of frontline grassroots organizing,
  4. prioritizing assistance for youth, activists, and organizers in the climate justice space and beyond, and
  5. using accessible language, resources, and programming to create an inclusive educational, yet action-oriented space.

We do this work through a decolonial, Black Queer Feminist, and Just Transition framework. These frameworks are laid out in detail here. These frameworks make it clear that while envisioning a sustainable world is critical to tackling the climate crisis, the solutions already exist and have existed for thousands of years. With that in mind, this project intends to uplift the communities and organizations already doing the work to create a sustainable and equitable future. 


Sources


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Gauthier, Philippe (November 21, 2018). “The Limits of Renewable Energy and the Case for Degrowth.” Post Carbon Institute.

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