On Wednesday, September 12, as part of its Solidarity to Solutions Week, It Takes Roots- together with the funder-allies from the Funders Support Circle hosted the People’s Orientation to the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) at the International Hotel Manilatown Center. The purpose of People’s Orientation was to provide philanthropy with a critical method of inquiry for assessing solutions showcased within GCAS.

Over 90 program officers and other members of philanthropy participated in the day-long event. Simran Noor (Consultant, Noor Consulting LLC) and Farhad Ebrahimi (President, Chorus Foundation) facilitated.

The program opened with a grounding in the history and significance of the movements that have graced the San Francisco Bay Area, and the particular role of the I-Hotel in the racial and economic justice movement of the 60s – especially in the Asian Pacific Islander struggles. Cindy Wiesner, Director of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, offered some overarching political framing juxtaposing GCAS with Sol2Sol and cautioning funders to inoculate themselves before entering GCAS. For this purpose, we developed the People’s Solution Lens as a tool that funders can use both as they interact within GCAS and as a broader framework of analysis. This lens asks the following critical questions:

1) Who makes the decisions?    2) Who benefits?     and     3) What else will this impact?

A plenary panel of frontline leaders from across the spectrum of our alliances, our issues and the values we represent spoke of Peoples Solutions and applied the People’s Solutions Lens to the five thematic tracks that were being explored at GCAS. ITR developed a people and planet centered spin on each of the tracks. And our plenary speakers commented on each.

    • Healthy Energy Requires Energy Democracy, Dipti Bhatnagar, Friends of the Earth International (Mozambique)
    • Sustainable Communities Require Community Self-Determination, Davin Cardenas, North Bay Organizing Project (Sonoma County, CA)
    • The Stewardship of Land & Oceans Requires Place-based Leadership, Chief Ninawa Huni Kui, Federation of the Huni Kui (Acre, Brazil)
    • Transformative Climate Investments Need to be Non-Extractive, Doria Robinson, Urban Tilth (Richmond, CA)
    • Inclusive Economies Require a Just Transition, Mateo Nube, Movement Generation Justice and Ecology Project (Oakland, CA)

Following the plenary, the keynote speakers along with the ninety participants broke off into small groups to explore the following thematic areas in depth. In closing funders were asked to consider ways in which they could make a commitment moving forward out of People’s Orientation  and in what ways they would want to continue learning. The responses ranged from “continue to share” about the People’s Solutions Lens to “commitment to moving $10 million in funding toward Just Transition solutions led by frontline communities.”