In A Regerative Economy, The Frontlines Take The Lead

The Frontline is a Force – Building Resilient, Regenerative and Equitable Economies from Climate Justice Alliance on Vimeo.

The Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) formed in 2013 to create a new center of gravity in the climate movement by uniting frontline communities and organizations into a formidable force. Our translocal organizing strategy and mobilizing capacity is building a Just Transition away from extractive systems of production, consumption and political oppression, and towards resilient, regenerative and equitable economies. We believe that the process of transition must place race, gender and class at the center of the solutions equation in order to make it a truly Just Transition.

Frontline organizations and networks have been working to advance a Just Transition and equitable solutions to the interlinked crises of economy, climate, and democracy for years, calling for the end of an extractive economy that lays waste to people and the planet. Over the years, we have built relationships and solutions across local communities from California to Mississippi, New York to Puerto Rico, Illinois to Massachusetts, Kentucky to the Gulf Coast, and with a myriad of Indigenous communities from Alaska to the Lower 48. Long advocating for climate justice through a Just Transition, the emerging Green New Deal (GND) has created an opportunity to deepen this work. And while a GND has been characterized as the required scale to address the climate crisis, the need to define what it means to people presents a set of challenges.

From national efforts like the New Economy Coalition’s Pathways to a People’s Economy, to regional efforts like Gulf South for a Green New Deal, to the local frontline-led efforts of PUSH Buffalo and Our Power Richmond, community leaders have been organizing, educating, and working collaboratively to take concrete actions to make the concept of a GND real on the ground. This work has expanded over the last year, across frontline networks, geographies, and silos. In the Summer of 2019, Climate Justice AllianceIt Takes Roots, People’s Actionand East Michigan Environmental Action Council gathered 64 frontline and allied organizations consisting of 80 leaders to participate in the Frontline Green New Deal + Climate and Regenerative Economy Summit in Detroit. At this summit, we identified green lines (what we want), yellow lines (what we’re still questioning), and red lines (what we say no to) for GND policies, from development through implementation. This was a tool that was originally shared by People’s Action to workshop in Detroit that we re-adapted during the COVID Pandemic into the Peoples Orientation for a Regenerative Economy designed to develop policy and organize to Protect, Repair, Invest, and Transform our communities and the economy.

The document offered herein is a result of this work, with over 80 policy ideas and solutions presented as fourteen planks for a Regenerative Economy, which a Green New Deal could provide. These planks are grouped into four overarching stances: Protect, Repair, Invest, and Transform. A Green New Deal requires all four, together. We must protect and repair communities and workers from the historic and present violence and tolls of an extractive economy. We must invest in resilient and sustainable infrastructure and systems that center the rights and expertise of Asian and Pacific Islander, Black, Brown, Indigenous, poor, and marginalized people. And we must transform the interdependent relationships that connect our governance system, people, communities, workers, and the Earth.

The United Frontline Table (UFT) is comprised of the following networks, alliances, coalitions, and their members, with the cooperation of movement support organizations: Asian Pacific Environmental NetworkCenter for Economic DemocracyClimate Justice AllianceDēmos​Grassroots Global Justice AllianceGulf Coast Center for Law and PolicyIndigenous Environmental NetworkIt Takes RootsKentuckians for the CommonwealthLabor Network for SustainabilityNew Economy CoalitionPeople’s ActionRight to the City AllianceThe Rising MajorityTrade Unions for Energy Democracy, and UPROSE. This is a subsector of groups that were present at the Detroit Frontline GND Meeting. The Frontline Table has plans and criteria for expansion in Fall of 2020.

A People’s Orientation to a Regenerative Economy is created in partnership with the Just Community Energy Transition Project.

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