The Climate Justice Alliance, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Indigenous Environmental Network, and Right to the City Alliance, which together form the It Takes Roots Coalition, travelled from the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Mozambique, the Philippines, Nicaragua, Switzerland, Germany, Uruguay, Switzerland, Nigeria, and more to gather in Occupied Ohlone Territory- the San Francisco Bay Area- for the Solidarity to Solutions (#Sol2Sol) Week! It was a transformative and inspiring time that has been documented by hundreds of journalists, bloggers, photographers, videographers, and every day people over social media.
The goals of our week spent together were: First – to challenge and expose Governor Jerry Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit for being nothing more than a trade show rather than a venue providing real solutions to address the intersecting crises of our communities and the planet. Second – to create space to strengthen our multi-racial and multi-issue movements through strategy exchange, relationship-building, and creative solutions.
Over the course of this week, we built community, shared strategies and best practices and challenged the dominant myth that market-based schemes will stop the devastating impact of an extractive capitalist economy, such as climate change and gentrification, and save the world. Through our actions, words and a deep love for people and the planet, frontline community organizers from Mississippi to Occupied Ohlone Territory, San Francisco, and around the globe broke through the media and challenged this narrative to ensure climate profiteers know that our future cannot be traded and that those at the Global Climate Action Summit will be held accountable for continuing to pollute and put our families at risk.
Some of our favorite coverage includes the San Francisco Chronicle article on our first action at the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change and Forests and the Democracy Now coverage all week long which on Friday highlighted our action inside and outside the GCAS along with a debate on carbon trading and geoengineering!
This is how we spent our week together during Solidarity to Solutions:
We kicked the week off with the Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice March on Saturday, September 8. On Sunday, September 9, we began the day with a prayer ceremony led by Ohlone Leaders, Indian People Organizing for Change, Idle No More SF Bay, and Indigenous Environmental Network at the Berkeley Shellmound to recognize the ancestral homeland of indigenous peoples, ask for blessing for the forthcoming activities taking place on Ohlone territory, and harness our collective spiritual strength and power. Representatives from different indigenous communities from the Amazon to the Marshall Islands offered prayer, song and dance. From there, community activists and leaders joined community solutions tours in the Bay Area to learn how climate change and extractive industries are affecting local communities in spaces spanning anti-gentrification campaigns to urban farms to community art-builds.
On Monday, September 10, our Indigenous allies from across the world delivered an open letter to Governor Jerry Brown and his Governors’ Climate and Forest Task Force at their annual meeting, to reject their market based climate solutions. Here is a video with more of their remarks addressed to Brown. We then came together for the ITR Membership Assembly – a powerful demonstration of the strength, creativity and diversity of our collective membership. Together we shared strategy, sang songs of renewal, laughed and visioned a multi-year strategy to lift up People’s Solutions and shift power nationally and globally.
On Tuesday, September 11, It Takes Roots hosted the Solidarity to Solutions Summit, a full day of music, dance, art, local food, collective healing, ceremony, and , community-led workshops on themes of Just Transition Strategies, Protecting the Land and Mother Earth, Supporting Community Solutions, and Building Energy Democracy. These workshops were facilitated by members throughout Turtle Island and the Global South, and highlighted topics like A Just Transition to a Feminist Economy; QTPOC Healing Justice; Black Farmworkers’ Stories; Expanding Sanctuary and Defending our Communities from Displacement and Eviction; and the power of Intergenerational Organizing.
On Wednesday, September 12, we spent the day building art for action and created artwork and trained up on strategies for non-violent direct action and civil disobedience. We were hosted by our allies at the Greenpeace Oakland Warehouse and were supported in training and art by the Ruckus Society and Design Action Collective. Thank you! In the evening, we learned how those forging Just Recovery solutions to address climate disasters in their communities are doing, less than one year after Hurricane Maria and other storms in the US. We also convened a meeting of our international allies to cross-pollinate ideas on a Just Transition from around the world and hosted the People’s Orientation to the Global Climate Action Summit to provide philanthropy with a people’s solution lens for assessing solutions showcased within GCAS and as a broader framework of analysis.
Thursday, September 13, we marched and blocked the entrance to the GCAS to let all those who were entering know that climate capitalism is not a solution but rather the source of our intersected crises. Inside the GCAS frontline leaders disrupted Bloomberg’s remarks during the morning opening, ensuring that attendees knew this was an exclusionary conference and that we will not stand for “solutions” like carbon pricing and REDD+, that do nothing to stop global warming! ITR sponsored an important meeting on geoengineering to bring everyone up to date on the most disturbing tests and plans underway to manipulate the earth’s atmosphere and land, along with the launch of the new North American Geoengineering Working Group.
For all of you who joined It Takes Roots, we want to send you our heartfelt thanks and gratitude, for it is only in community that we can create lasting change! For those who supported from afar, your support online and through word of mouth helped us push the needle and make a national and international impact. Together, we changed the story and inspired others to take bolder positions and action!