On September 11-14, Green For All participated in the Global Climate Action Summit and several affiliate events, joining leaders from around the world to celebrate our progress to curb fossil fuel emissions, uplift issues of environmental equity, discuss solutions and make additional progress toward an inclusive green economy for all.
Green For All co-founder Van Jones, Dream Corps CEO Vien Truong, and Green For All National Director Michelle Romero asked tough questions and posed innovative ideas to address the urgent threats ahead.
Van Jones served as the moderator for the Global Climate Action Summit’s opening panel, “Delivering a Clean Energy Economy.” The panel opened with Green For All’s video emphasizing the importance of addressing poverty and pollution together, and was followed by business leaders affirming the fact that addressing climate change strengthens economies, not weakens them.
Alexandra Palt, chief sustainability officer for L'Oreal challenged the notion that addressing climate change requires people to go without or sacrifice in order to do right by the planet. In fact, she said, addressing climate change is about delivering prosperity.
Vien Truong moderated the equity portion of the Summit, leading a discussion called “Building a More Just World Through Climate Action.” Speakers included: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Jamie Margolin (Zero Hour), Victoria Tauli-Corpuz (Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People), Enei Begaye Peters (Black Mesa Coalition), Miya Yoshitani (Asian Pacific Environmental Network), Sheela Patel (Slum Dwellers International), Dr. Robert Bullard (Texas Southern University), and civil rights leader, Dolores Huerta.
Each one urged leaders to do more, fight harder, and consider those communities who are most impacted by pollution and climate change, when designing solutions.
Following the panel, Vien introduced a Green For All video highlighting leaders of color in California’s Central Valley who are creating local solutions to global problems and called for greater investment in locally-driven solutions. Watch the Green Raiteros video.
Photo: Van Jones, California Governor Jerry Brown, and Green For All national director Michelle Romero backstage at GCAS before the opening session.
Meanwhile, business leaders convened at the Gap Headquarters for the Carbon Tax Forum where Green For All’s new national director, Michelle Romero, received resounding applause for her message “Nothing about us without us.”
“Eighty percent of Latino communities live with air that is below basic EPA standards,” Romero stated. The disproportionate effect of climate change on marginalized communities underscores the need to involve those communities during the policy development process. Any carbon tax initiative must fully account for the environmental justice concerns of low-income communities.”
What was the one message we all shared in common throughout the week? We must work with people bearing the brunt of the pollution impacts – including the youth, indigenous, women, people of color, farm-workers, laborers, and low-income people – to co-create solutions that work for all communities.
Climate change is not only an ecological threat. This is an issue of racism, economic justice, public health, child protection, and immigration. This is what we called attention to at the Global Climate Action Summit and throughout the week. This is about breaking down walls and building a bigger tent. This is the future Green For All and the Dream Corps are fighting for.
The threats ahead loom large. But the power we can build across issues and movements is far greater. We have an important opportunity to dive into that work together. Let’s not hesitate to take it.
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