Tag Archives: climate justice

Transmutation of Mind and Heart

Meanderings from a Beach Walk

By Jodi Riverstone | September 2020

There’s something about spending time present near the ocean that slows the body down to be closer in rhythm with the tide.  A welcome and overdue respite from what has been a trying season.  I relished long walks on the beach the two days I was there last weekend.  The surf line at Kalaloch is strewn with the cast-off exoskeletons of countless Dungeness crabs.  Evidence of a process of shedding of that which is growing too small to occupy and an entry into a period of vulnerability as the hard protective, well-defined external self is released so that the life within can grow into a larger existence of itself.  Crabs do what crabs do. 

As I reflect on the past year that is 2020 thus far and the profound season of change, the global, social and political realities that are present and gravely concerning for us all, I cannot help but see the human species as also in a place of needing to realize the existential “shedding event” we too have already entered.  The profound shift in our lives as we know and live it since the beginning of COVID-19 has certainly been a resounding wake-up call.  Many heard it and have already responded….others side step by evoking blame, decrying “false information” and citing their rights to live as they choose as the fundamental “American Way” and therefore sacrosanct. 

There is a beauty in the synchronicity of the crabs’ collective shed, timed so that all within the species cast their raiments at once.  Orchestrated in time with the right combination of tide, current, nutrient flow and perhaps the pull of the moon…  it may also indicate a group consciousness that our intellects have not yet identified.  For me the metaphorical act of surrender is profound and pertinent for us especially now.  The conscious choice for believing in and acting in hope, for transmuting what may initially appear as a death process into one of life expansion seems the only life-affirming and sustaining choice we have. 

I do believe that humankind is at the moment in which the need to respond to the call to shed and change is here.  Can we as a collective species answer that call?  Unlike the crab, we are not just being asked to shed so that we can expand into a larger copy of our former selves.  We are being asked to grow ourselves as conscious beings in response to the mounting pressures the planet is now facing and to respond in life-affirming ways that support the  health and vitality of not only ourselves, not just humanity, but of all life…to give honor and respect for the life force within each in the multitudinous ways in which it is so miraculously expressed.  This is a call for deep awakening and for a transmutation of the mind and heart.

To transmute: change in form, nature or substance.  “The quest to transmute lead into gold,”states the Oxford Dictionary.  To change one’s mind or have a change of heart requires first the willingness to go there…to let down one’s guard, to risk and trust that what lies beyond what one currently knows or accepts as “truth” might just be the greatest gift we can give not only ourselves but to everyone and everything we encounter and beyond.  First it seems we need to be aware of the lens through which we view our reality.   Antoine de Saint Exupéry in The Little Prince wrote, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”   The resonance of that Truth rings in me like a bell.   It is strangely and beautifully reflected in early neonatal development as the forming of what will be the infant’s head, which with all its complexity of cerebral cortex and sensory components does not separate from the heart until at week three, when the eyes begin to form.  It would seem that the mind and the heart need each other….so that we can “see” rightly.

The opportunities to shift our “inner vision” and thus shed our former smaller selves can begin with seemingly small but significant acts of personal bravery.  Life-affirming choices can start by expanding your capacity to see the other just as you…with their needs to be loved, to feel safe, to be respected beyond the basic requirements for survival.  To have a place in the world.  To be . . . .  All people and all life have a place.  Can we humble ourselves to allow for that?  It seems to me we are in urgent need of doing so.  Can we begin to believe that what we do in our seemingly small lives matters?  We must.  Each of our lives holds significance and each belief, each attitude, each choice makes a difference…and the first one that it makes a difference for is you.  It ripples out from there. 

As a write this, the air outside is yellow-brown with smoke from fires wafting on air currents from Oregon and California–perhaps another of the “new normals” that is a by-product of our global peril.   We do not know what our future lifetimes will contain.  We do not know what we individually or collectively can accomplish or what end can be achieved.  What seems important is that we stay open…of mind and heart.  That is where the juice is.  Then activate the resources of hope within ourselves.   Move that intention into Life-affirming acts.  To answer the call for our own personal transmutation is to respond to that which may seem dire and hopeless and bring to it our larger capacity of envisioning, being and acting in ways we previously thought impossible.  For our children, their children, then their children…and on.  For all of life in its countless forms.

We are the ones living this now moment and there is no one else to wait for but us. The shed must begin.

How do you become an Intersectionalist?

It starts within each of our guts, hearts, minds and souls.  It is the “White Supremacy, Colonialist, Industrialist, Militaristic, Mysoginistic, Zenophobic, Capitalist, Consumerist, Patriarchal, Power-Over”  STORY. 

Each of us has to take an unsparing look into our own “frameworks” of basic beliefs and HOW THESE FEED INTO SUPPORTING the systems we have all come to think of as “normal” (at least in this Country and the “modern” Western world).

While we each might be “sparks of the divine” in our energetic selves . . . our physical bodies are OF THIS EARTH and FOR THIS EARTH.  We are here to be “Care-takers” of this Earth, ALL Her “more-than-human Beings”, and our fellow humans.  We first must truly integrate this TRUTH, then “look thru this lens” in everything we do and all the systems that we interact with.

This means that the “world” we “Western modern” countries have known MUST CHANGE from the very FOUNDATIONS  . . . not just in the ways we narrowly, and comfortably want them to . . . but at some very basic ways that will be very uncomfortable for those of us that have benefited from this “story” (whether we wanted to or not . . .whether we realized it or not….)

For me, Indigenous Wisdom and ways of looking at our world have been very powerful in helping me “shift” my perspective and change “the story” I feel in myself. It has brought clarity to being able to SEE this old “power-over” story where-ever it manifests, and consider how I might dis-engage from those systems/structures and choose the more integrated, connected “story” option. The Pachamama Alliance (Pachamama.org) is the group that for me integrates this.

No one can do it all . . . AND there is so much good showing up in the world . . .We are living in transformational times . . so we must “buckle up” (emotionally) and learn to “dance” with the changes . . . . 


Written by an OCA member under the pen name, Shambhala Warrior Emerging

Washington’s Environmental Justice Task Force

Dear Friends: 

Thank you for your ongoing interest and engagement in the mission of Washington’s Environmental Justice Task Force. Its body of work will provide a policy blueprint for how Washington State can provide the highest standard of environmental health protection to every resident.

Since September 2019, the Task Force has been collecting public input through regional meetings and drafting policies to fulfill the Legislature’s request to produce recommendations on how State Agencies can incorporate environmental justice principles into their work. These recommendations are due to Governor Inslee and the Legislature by October 2020. 

I’m pleased to share a draft of the recommendations on this Google Word document. Please identify yourself in your comments and provide them by July 27 so they can be considered before the Task Force’s last scheduled meeting on August 7. We encourage each of you to review these recommendations and leave any thoughts, concerns or suggestions for improvements in the document. These comments will be shared with Task Force members and guide the discussion the Task Force will have before finalizing them. 

We also invite you to a public listening session the Task Force will be hosting via Zoom on Thursday, July 16, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. to get your feedback on them.  

Meeting Details

Continue reading

In Solidarity with All Our Relations

The senseless, violent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many other Black, Brown, and Indigenous people of this country are merely the most recent, visible examples of systemic inequality and racial injustice in our country. These deaths and the depth of inequality they represent work against our mission to seek a safe, prosperous, sustainable future for us all. Organizations, including our own, working against climate change have an obligation to unequivocally condemn racism in all its forms and to work towards an equitable, livable future for all.

We need real, lasting change to stop acts of racism and violence against communities of color, as well as the unjust burden of climate change on poor and front-line communities. We stand in solidarity with all marginalized and oppressed members of our community in calling for accountability and justice for all, and we commit to engaging in critical self-reflection and active listening and dialogue with marginalized communities to learn how we can be part of the solution.

How can we achieve climate justice today?

From urban cities to rural towns, people are coming together in outrage to demonstrate that #BlackLivesMatter and call for the end of white supremacy culture and systematic racism. This is not a new struggle or fight. This is a response to centuries of oppression that has torn apart Black communities through slavery, police brutality, incarceration, economic disenfranchisement, redlining, wage theft, and environmental racism. 

As an intersectional climate coalition, we know that we cannot achieve climate justice without racial and economic justice. We also recognize that we cannot fight the climate crisis without being anti-racist. Our society’s solutions must actively work to replace the current racist system with one that is just, equitable, and explicitly repairs past injustice. 

Ways to take anti-racist action:

  • Donate what you can to the following bailout funds and organizations that are leading this work
    • Black Visions Collective – A Black, trans and queer-led organization committed to dismantling systems of oppression and violence, and shifting public narrative to create transformative, long-term change
    • Reclaim the Block – Minnesota coalition that advocates for and invests in community-led safety initatives in Minneapolis neighborhoods.
    • Black Lives Matter Seattle Freedom Fund – The funds collected will go to the immediate release of people protesting the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Manuel Ellis in Seattle/King County.

We uplift the lifelong work of Black, Brown and Indigenous-led organizations calling for racial justice and the transformation of our neighborhoods into places where everyone can be safe, healthy, and can thrive. We remain committed to confronting and undoing structural racism, uplifting the voices and decision-making power of communities of color, black, and indigenous communities, and pushing for solutions that invest our communities most impacted by structural racism, pollution, and the climate crisis.

In Solidarity,

Lauren Breynaert

Coalition Director, Climate Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy

What are our next steps toward BLM?

How about that amazing special edition 350 PNW Conversations call on Monday?!

We had 22 folks from 12 local groups across our region gather together to reflect, listen, and engage in conversation around the powerful recent message “In Defense of Black Lives” from Black leadership at 350.org to all of us organizing for climate justice at local groups in the US. Thank you to everyone who showed up to share in this conversation together with empathy, insight, and care. 

I encourage each of you to watch the webinar message so that you, too, can engage in this ongoing conversation about what it looks like at the local group level to respond in a good way to Black leadership within our organization. 

Meeting Notes + Slides w/Resources

Three key reflections are worth sharing here:

  1. The importance of following Black leadership at this moment in our support of the movement for Black lives, including at the local, regional, and national levels.
  2. Our key role as local group organizers in educating our groups and our bases to help our communities make strong connections between climate justice and racial justice, and to provide ongoing support and education around topics that may feel challenging to some, such as defunding the police or conversations around “looting”.
  3. We have broad regional alignment and shared values around showing up as climate organizers right now in support of Black lives in a good way.

You can find fantastic notes from the call above, (thank you to Emily from 350 Spokane for stepping in as note taker while I have limited hand function!!) and I’m also going to pull all of our resources together right here for folks to make it that much easier to engage with this ongoing conversation.

Resources for Next Steps

Updates on Climate and Racial Justice

Crowds of protestors have taken to the streets in major cities and towns of all sizes in the United States and around the world, decrying the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and many others, and to demand an end to police violence against black people. Last week the Movement for Black Lives held a week of action demanding defunding the police, investing in community-led efforts to reclaim the future, additional COVID-19 relief, an end to the war against Black people, and protection for protestors. Read an explanation of those demands here and here

As you are able, consider showing up to support publicly announced demonstrations in your community, or support the cause using resources like this one from Sunrise Movement, or this “Beyond the Streets” guide

More than 230 climate and environment groups, including The Climate Mobilization, signed on to a letter of support for the week of action from the Movement for Black Lives.

This month’s protests have shined a light on the failures of many environmental organizations to support racial justice, as well as the connections between racism and environmental injustice

We are keenly aware that the emergency-speed Climate Mobilization we need in order to restore a safe climate and end the sixth mass extinction of species cannot happen unless systemic racism and racialized violence are stopped. Here is a climate scientist’s take on the connection between racial justice and the Climate Emergency, and an explanation of why reallocating police funding to community programs is good climate policy.

Climate Emergency Movement 
Congratulations to Elgin, IL, which passed a declaration of Climate Emergency on May 24. Total worldwide declarations have reached 1508 within 29 countries. There are 96 declarations of Climate Emergency in the United States, across 24 states. 

May of 2020 was the hottest May on record, with 2020 on track to be one of the top 10 hottest years in history.

COVID-19 and stimulus funding propping up fossil fuel 
According to new research by Bloomberg Energy Finance, $509 billion worth of stimulus funding worldwide is going to prop up the fossil fuel economy with no climate-related conditions. $18.5 billion is going directly to high-carbon industries with decarbonization requirements attached, while only $12.3 billion worldwide is going to supporting low-carbon industries like renewable energy.

In an article in The Guardian, Diplomat and climate leader Christiana Figueras recently discussed the potential to use the COVID-19 bailouts to spur the transition to a low carbon future.

In solidarity,
The Climate Mobilization team

Stop the Money Pipeline supports minority protests

June 5, 2020 medical worker Breonna Taylor should have been celebrating her twenty-seventh birthday. But on March 13th, police used a battering ram to enter her apartment and murdered her in her bed, shooting her eight times.

Anyone who has read about the cold-blooded murder of Breonna Taylor or watched the footage of a white police officer murdering George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbaury being hunted by white supremacisists should understand the fury that is erupting across this country at the systemic devaluation of Black lives. But we need to do much more than simply understand it. We need to figure out what we can actually do to help dismantle white supremacy.

This starts by following the leadership of the Black community, and supporting their demands for change. That is why Stop the Money Pipeline fully supports the demands from the Movement for Black Lives and #BlackLivesMatter.

Climate justice is about far more than reducing emissions. It is about building a fairer and more just world. It’s about following the leadership of those that are most impacted by injustice. And right now, those of us in the climate movement have an opportunity to do just that by showing up in every way we can for Black Lives. That’s why we are getting fully behind the demands coming from the Movement for Black Lives.

We support the demand to defund the police. Just as we need to stop the flow of money from Wall Street to the fossil fuel industry, we need to stop the flow of money from governments to heavily militarized police forces that kill over 1,000 people a year, and are guilty of systemic racism and the terrorizing of Black communities. Please join #BlackLivesMatter in supporting the demand to defund the police by signing this petition. You can learn more about why we need to defund the police here and here and here and here.

We support investments in Black communities. Black communities have been systemically underfunded, redlined, and cut off from so many of the advantages afforded white communities. We need to support reinvestment in Black communities and in Black-led community groups. We can do that by demanding investment in Black communities, and by donating our own money to Black-led community groups and organizations:

We support an end to the war on Black people. The Movement for Black Lives demands for an end to the mass incarceration, killing and criminalization of Black people. Young Black men are twenty-one times more likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts. Black people are five times more likely to be incarcerated than white people. This must end.

We support the demand for reparations. We support the demand for reparations to Black communities and we support reparations and land repatriation to Indigenous Nations. The government and corporations responsible for centuries of harm inflicted on Black communities and Native nations must seek to atone for the harm they have done. That means reparations. That means land repatriation.

We support the demand for economic justice. We must radically rework our economy, our tax system and support the right for all workers to organize. We support the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act to break-up the big banks power, and we support the development of community banks and credit unions.

We support the demand for Black community control. We support participatory budgeting at the local, state and national level. We support an end to the privatization of education, and giving political power to local communities.

We support the demand for Black political power and Black self-determination. We need to end corporate money in politics, and publicly finance elections. We must end the criminalization of Black political activity, and free all political prisoners. We need to protect and increase investments in those institutions that support Black political power and self-determination, such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Black media, cultural, political and social institutions.

These are the demands that are coming from the Movement for Black Lives and from Black Lives Matter. Stop the Money Pipeline, as a coalition committed to challenging the power of the fossil fuel industry and Wall Street, fully supports these demands. Right now, we are discussing internally about how we can do more to amplify and support the leadership of Black-led organizations to turn these demands in reality. We hope that you will do all that you can in service to Black leadership too.

We also hope that you will commit to following, amplifying and supporting the Movement for Black Lives on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

And we hope that you will commit to doing all you can to follow Black leadership in your local communities, supporting their demands in ways that are welcomed, collaborative and respectful.

Stop the Money Pipeline

“How dare you?”

Right here, right now is where we draw the line, The world is waking, and change is coming whether you like it or not.

Greta Thunberg, speaking before the United Nations, 9/23/2019

Principles in Climate Justice

By Mike Mallory, Sierra Club Sno-Isle Group and Climate Reality Snohomish County Chapter

From The Sierra Club, Washington State Chapter Journal – “The Crest” Volume 38, Issue 1

After Mike Mallory and his wife Marilyn retired, they knew they wanted to spend some of their time giving back to the world and they wanted to do it together. They found that climate activism was high on both their lists, in large part because of concern for the future of their grandchildren. They were attracted to the intensive Climate Reality training from top climate scientists, policy makers and health care workers. This training emphasized the need to inform people about the causes and consequences of climate change. The following is based on one of their presentations to spread the word.

When we hear stories about the frontline of environmental degradation, our sense of fairness is awoken and we are often moved to action. But when we move to action it is important to keep Environmental Justice in mind, so that we do not reinforce the pre-existing threads of oppression and injustice already woven into the system.

“Justice” is generally about balancing rights and responsibilities, benefits and burdens. Justice, in its applications to the Environment, can be divided into three categories.

Continue reading

Climate Justice Field Manual


Thank you, Gerald Johnson


Gerald Johnson, recently retired from OCA’s Executive Committee, just finished Climate Reality Leadership Training in Bellevue, WA, and has this to say:

I wanted to express my gratitude for encouraging Ali and I to participate in the climate reality training. This was a truly inspirational and educational opportunity for us both. Here is a resource offered at the training, created by Jill MacIntyre Witt, who coordinates Climate Reality Leaders in the Pacific Northwest:

Gerald Johnson
B.A. Sustainable Development, Prescott College

Our thanks to Gerald for his generous and intelligent contributions to OCA.  We bid him farewell and wish all success in his endeavors in Salt Lake City.

Walk 4 the Salish Sea

Walk 4 the Salish Sea

This is one of the most important international/local issues we face now.  We encourage you to join in (for as much or as little as you can via any human-powered means of transport).  Or, if you can’t join physically, donate.

When: May 25-28, 2017
Where: from Victoria to Kinder Morgan Westridge Terminal, Burnaby

RSVP if you’d like to join the contingent from the Olympic Peninsula.

For official details and/or to donate, visit walk4salishsea.ca

For large version of the poster (5MB) click here.

Climate change is a justice issue

Heat waves that have office workers reaching for the air conditioning will have farm workers facing heat stroke. Rising food prices that hit the rich in the wallet will hit the poor in the stomach. And storms that rattle windows in affluent homes will sweep away poor homes entirely.   –environmental economist Jonah Busch