It Takes Roots Solidarity to Solutions Week

Background & Talking Points

Given the current political climate in the United States, and given that any authentic, scalable solution must also be a local solution, when people in positions of power and privilege come together to discuss potential solutions to a problem, we must be highly vigilant questioning who is to benefit and at what real cost.

For, we must ensure that the lived experience and thought leadership of our communities who are first and most impacted by the problem, decide which solutions are most needed, transformative and just.

In centering the place-based knowledge of frontline communities, starting in traditional lands of local Ohlone Nations and in solidarity with Indigenous peoples around the world, we can start to engage in healthy debate and robust assessment of the most effective and democratic pathways for climate justice and action.

The It Takes Roots Solidarity to Solutions Week (Sol2Sol) September 8-14 in San Francisco, CA was organized in parallel to the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS):

  • In service and solidarity with the thought leadership of communities in the Bay Area, across the state and around the world and our millions of place-based solutions,
  • To challenge, expose and stop the massive subsidies being handed to Multinational Corporations violating and destroying our families and ecosystems,
  • And, to move these public funds to repair, restore and protect Mother Earth and all her peoples.

Governor Jerry Brown’s Summit, and the host of market-based schemes and corporate techno-fixes being brokered inside the Summit, are neither democratic, ecologically sound or compassionate responses to the most painful crises facing humanity.

We need to end the epidemic of disaster capitalism, and redirect stolen wealth to the service, solidarity and support of communities forging the true, place-based strategies – solutions that address the root causes of climate change, poverty and the crises of democracy.

The following are talking points that local organizers, community leaders and spokespersons can utilize when speaking about Sol2Sol


Myth of Science and Market as Saviors

  • Market mechanisms aren’t authentic solutions → they lead to poverty for our people, the destruction of our air, water and lands, and the exploitation of our labor.
  • Schemes driven by corporations and venture capitalists to make money from misery and harm will not lead to the visionary action needed to move the masses to shift behaviors of consumption at the rate and scale needed to save the planet, only grassroots power-building can do that.
  • Corporations promoting these schemes are the very ones responsible for causing the climate crises, by being the opportunistic beneficiaries and primary drivers of the global “dig,burn, drive, dump” economy.
  • Most of these schemes, such as Carbon Capture & Sequestration (CCS), Biomass Energy (BECCS), Nuclear Power and Mega-Hydro projects – serve to further exacerbate, not solve the problem. Many of these schemes, such as climate engineering (aka geo-engineering) experiments are neither “proven” to be effective nor safe and are being explored in the US now.
  • Jerry Brown is championing the linking of international pollution trading markets, to further increase the profits and reduce the risks to the very corporations plundering the planet. If CA, the EU, and China join carbon markets, they will become the biggest securities market to benefit the fossil fuel industry and destroy humanity in history.
  • Trading pollution credits to perversely subsidize the global markets and dig, burn, drive, dump systems of extractive capital, keeps much needed funds from going to our self-determined solutions that both support our communities’ needs, while restoring the natural systems we need to be healthy and safe.
  • Financializing Mother Earth and enslaving all her forms of life to serve the needs of a privileged few, while destroying the lives of the many, is what we consider a path of ecological disaster.


Systems Change for Intersectional Justice in Practice

  • The problems our communities face are system crises created by institutions, corporations and decision makers. Organized groups of people and truly democratic governance can and must intervene to change these systems.
  • Approaches to scale and diversity need to be called to question if they continue to concentrate wealth and power while displacing, gentrifying, imprisoning and harming frontline communities locally and globally.
  • ITR will strategically highlight frontline communities from across the US, around the world and in San Francisco in particular, where we will make the case to the broader movement, general public, elected officials and our members that investing in community driven solutions that address the systemic drivers of the crises of the environment, the economy and governance is the only viable path forward.
  • Mayors and Governors responding to climate change in the void of national leadership are beholden to constituents and communities not corporations.
  • Right now, grassroots groups, thought leaders and funders are fighting for a radical democracy that includes all people. This should apply to our strategies for organizing solutions for climate action. The GCAS is by invitation only and top-down, communities consistently marginalized at The United Nations Conference of Parties (COPs) from Copenhagen to Cancun, Paris, and Morocco are coming together in San Francisco to shift a solutions narrative that will transform climate action.
  • Energy Democracy principles, scorecards and pledges developed by CJA, and allies hold local governors, mayors and utilities accountable to energy solutions that address energy efficiency, community governance, and incorporate the rights of nature amongst others and are better indicators of long term impact.


Shifting Corporate Subsidies to Communities on the Frontlines of Change

  • Corporate schemes to address climate change, such as market mechanisms like pollution trading, forest carbon offsets, clean coal, bioenergy, fracked gas, waste incineration and nuclear power only exacerbate the problem and do not offer real solutions to guarantee global temperatures don’t rise by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius over the next few years, ensuring our survival on the planet.
  • Our communities (and our world) can and will thrive when we invest in democratic, people-driven solutions that successfully tackle the root causes of the crises.
  • Jerry Brown’s allegiance with big business, has resulted in his commitment to marketing pollution, selling out frontline communities for profit.
  • Intersectional movements are uniting to redirect all subsidies, community wealth, and public investments away from polluting, extractive corporations and their disaster capitalist schemes and moving these funds to community and worker led solutions.


Modeling Natural Ecosystems, Uplifting Indigenous Sovereignty

  • Indigenous Sky, Land, and Water protectors that are upholding the sacred relationship of communities to Mother Earth and Father Sky will unite to strategize beyond the borders of corporate empire and build power centering Indigenous spirituality, knowledge, sovereignty and leadership.
  • The scale and intensity of the ecological crises requires complex, transformative and systemic change strategies that are perfectly aligned with the natural systems of earth, air, water and fire that support life on our Earth. We need to design, build and invest in systems and cultures of economy, caring and sharing that prioritize the restoration of our relationship with these natural systems and each other.
  • Community-based solutions are defined by core design and environmental justice principles such as traditional ecological knowledge, mutuality and solidarity and intersectional inclusion.
  • Systemic change strategies such as energy democracy, food sovereignty, zero waste, ecosystem restoration, housing justice, and public transportation would serve to meet the needs of billions of people around the world, if guided by place-based ecological knowledge and leadership.

Check out more information on Carbon Pricing; A Critical Perspective for Communities Resistance too!