Almost daily we hear of and experience more results of the climate crisis: life-threatening heat waves and wildfires in the West, severe droughts destroying farmers’ crops, flash flooding across the East coast. The climate crisis is happening right now. We must take action immediately to stop or slow down the destruction of land and livelihoods by prioritizing people and the planet over profit.
We need to move away from our dependence on an economy based on fossil fuels to one that is based on sustainable and renewable energy. A Just Transition ensures that we all benefit from that shift. Our Just Transition campaign builds the power of ordinary people to create the political will for policies that will ensure access for all to safe housing, healthcare, transportation, energy, food, and clean air and water.
What is a Just Transition?
“Just Transition is a vision-led, unifying and place-based set of principles, processes, and practices that build economic and political power to shift from an extractive economy to a regenerative economy. This means approaching production and consumption cycles holistically and waste-free. The transition itself must be just and equitable; redressing past harms and creating new relationships of power for the future through reparations. If the process of transition is not just, the outcome will never be. Just Transition describes both where we are going and how we get there.” – from the Climate Justice Alliance. Learn more at https://climatejusticealliance.org/just-transition/
What is NOT a Just Transition? Who gets left behind?
We need climate and energy solutions that:
lower our energy consumption through conservation, weatherization, energy-efficiency
develop a well-paid labor force and create new jobs
Don’t rely on market systems that will increase our dependence on false solutions like biofuels, renewable natural gas, and dirty electricity. These will 1) prevent us from reducing our emissions at the scale and rate we need to reduce them and 2) harm marginalized communities who consistently bear the brunt of the harms caused by our energy use and climate change and 3) displace, deplete, and pollute our food crops farmland and water supplies, and 4) weaken and destroy ecosystems we and other species depend on for survival.
Biofuels production often displaces food crops, resulting in increased food prices and food shortages while destroying ecosystems. When we account for the greenhouse gas emissions they produce from production to combustion, we see that they still significantly contribute to climate change.
Renewable natural gas comes from sources like Concentrated Agricultural Feeding Operations (CAFOS) that release toxic chemicals that harm the health of the people who live around them. These are most often located in low-income and/or BIPOC communities.
Green Mountain Power currently sells the solar power generated in Vermont to other states in the form of the “renewable energy credits”. They do this at a profit, then buy dirty energy to Vermont’s electricity demand in return.
Large hydroelectric dams like Hydro-Quebec release significant amounts of one of the most potent greenhouse gases, methane, flood Indigenous land, destroying communities and livelihood.
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