OUR VILLAGE Virtual – Resilience in a time of Crisis
Whether you live in a tropical forest or a North American city, we all belong to the same planet, the same future. We belong to the same global village. This is the sentiment behind “OUR VILLAGE virtual”. In the global village to which we all belong, climate change and environmental injustice are inextricably linked to the struggles of communities and peoples underrepresented in the political process and oppressed by systemic racism, poverty, and inequality.
All around the world local communities are responding to climate change with powerful resilience, innovative action, and a spirit that can profoundly impact our world. OUR VILLAGE invites people from all walks of life to belong to a community inspired by justice and our connection to the earth.
OUR VILLAGE is a conversation, a convening, cultural hub, and immersive experience, bringing indigenous peoples, communities of color, and grassroots voices to the forefront
Solutions Driven Content
The programming content, themes, and strategies highlighted during OUR VILLAGE are based on the intersecting demands from indigenous communities and communities of color for community-driven solutions to climate change, injustice, and inequality.
The co-convening organizations of OUR VILLAGE, organised by If Not Us Then Who and in partnership with the Guardians of the Forest & the Hip Hop Caucus, are centering the programming on an intersectional framework by indigenous peoples, often fighting for rural lands and territories, and communities of color, often fighting for clean air and water in the neighborhoods and cities where they live. These fights transcend protecting land, air and water, and are part of holistic demands for safe, healthy, just, and prosperous communities on a sustainable planet.
The growing coalition of partners joining OUR VILLAGE are committed to contributing to the space via this framework.
We have defined a framework of five themes that are each critical to addressing community demands and forwarding community-driven solutions to climate change, injustice, and inequality, they are:
- Ending Violence
- Direct Funding & Finance
- Consent & Community Driven Decision Making
- Ancestral Knowledge and Cultural Leadership
- Ownership & Recognition
The 5 Demands Framework:
Ending Violence & Criminalization
Climate change is violent – the over 4,000 deaths in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria; the over 6 million deaths a year globally from air pollution; the hundreds of environmental defenders murdered every year for taking stands against environmental destruction. The violence of climate change and environmental injustice intersects with the structural violence of poverty and the daily violence in communities that comes with fighting for survival. Ending violence is not well integrated into the climate movement, yet it is the daily reality of our communities, and no solution is complete without ending violence. A sustainable planet means life is valued and protected, where Black lives, indigenous lives, women’s lives matter; where death from lung disease caused by air pollution, or death from climate disaster, or death from the bullet of an oil company’s paramilitary, or death from the bullet of an untrained police officer, are all unacceptable and are all met with powerful movements for justice.
Ownership & Recognition
Communities of color and indigenous communities need ownership in the the clean energy economy to participate in building the vast wealth from which they have long been excluded. Communities need ownership over their ancestral land to protect it. There is clear and undeniable evidence that where indigenous people have strong rights – recognition to land, territories, and resources – there are standing forests. We need to advocate for overcoming the past and present extraction and theft of natural resources from our communities by creating the right policy environments, the access to capital, and the transfers of knowledge necessary for our communities to realize ownership of resources, land, and clean energy business.
Consent & Community Driven Decision Making
When decisions are made about their forests and ancestral lands, communities have the right to free, prior, and informed consent. They should also be allowed to say no when governments and corporations threaten their livelihoods. Indigenous peoples are the best guardians of the natural world, but they are under siege from a great and growing hunger for new sources of food, fuel, mineral wealth, and water. When democracy is undermined and voters of color are disenfranchised and deterred from the polls, when the fossil fuel industry’s money in our political process wields undue influence over elected officials, communities’ voices and interests are subjugated or ignored. Communities are the best at solving their own problems, but they cannot realize solutions without real access to all stages of decision making processes.
Respect Ancestral Knowledge & Cultural Leadership
To build a movement big enough and broad enough to change our cycle of over consumption – to transition our world off of fossil fuels onto clean energy – we need everyone. People join movements in which they can see themselves, movements that touch their hearts and move their spirits, movements that speak their languages and reflect their experiences. Culture is the driver of bringing people together, it is the shorthand we use to know that we are part of the same group and that we are connected. Culture is the carrier of wisdom and knowledge across generations. Respecting cultures, uplifting cultures, and centering cultures is the same as respecting, uplifting and centering communities. And what history tells us is that in successful social and political movements the leaders who create, shape, share, and carry culture in all its forms – language, art, music, entertainment, tradition, dance, storytelling, film, fashion, sports, expression – are more than spokespeople, they are strategists and organizers. Respect and understanding of ancestral knowledge is a vital to the long term health of our planet.
Direct Funding & Finance
Investment and direct access to finance for communities is vital to ensure education, healthcare, and urban and rural sustainable development. If indigenous communities are to look after our forests then we should compensate them. If communities of color are to stand up to polluters then we should fund them. If diverse leadership from our communities are going to innovate and create new clean energy projects and businesses that facilitate our transition off of fossil fuels, then we must divest from the fossil fuel industry and invest in them.