In mid September, two large-scale climate events converged in the San Francisco Bay Area. Both were oriented around climate change and potential solutions, but the stakeholders involved and their visions for change were often quite different.
The Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS), co-chaired by California’s Governor Jerry Brown, brought together many national & international actors on climate change, including industry representatives, civil society organizations, and United Nations agencies. Meanwhile, Solidarity to Solutions Week of Action (Sol2Sol) led with grassroots, place-based solutions to climate change.
Governor Brown hosted GCAS from September 12-14 in San Francisco, California. The two-day conference featured panels, workshops, tours and exhibits with the goal of “celebrating extraordinary achievements with respect to climate action,” and serving as “a launchpad for deeper worldwide commitments and accelerated action to put the globe on track to prevent dangerous climate change.”
But Governor Brown’s Summit was critiqued by some as more of a trade show than a venue providing real solutions. A key indicator? Many Indigenous and frontline communities who are directly dealing with the impacts of climate change weren’t involved in the planning process, or invited to the conversation.
A grassroots response
The It Takes Roots Coalition, comprised of several climate and Indigenous justice organizations, organized a response to GCAS in the form of the Solidarity to Solutions (Sol2Sol) Week. The goal was to create a space to strengthen and lift up the voices and solutions of multi-racial and multi-issue movements through strategy exchange, relationship-building, and celebration of creative solutions.
Sol2Sol featured frontline community organizers from around the globe. Participants united to build community, share best practices and challenge the dominant myth that market-based schemes can stop the devastating impact of extractive economies on our food and agriculture systems, environments and communities.
Agroecology as a solution
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) attended Sol2Sol events throughout the week as allies of the It Takes Roots Coalition and a member of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance; we support grassroots and frontline solutions that focus on avoiding climate chaos and achieving climate justice. One strand of these solutions lies in the way we grow our food.
Agroecology is the science, practice and movement of applying ecological concepts, principles and knowledge to the design and management of sustainable farms. Agroecological farming has been shown to mitigate effects of climate change by reducing reliance on fossil fuels and fossil fuel-based pesticides and other inputs, and increasing carbon sequestration and water capture in soil.
Agroecology recognizes the multifunctional dimensions of agriculture, including local and Indigenous knowledge and practices. Agroecology also considers and recognizes that farming creates cultural, social and environmental benefits.
By shifting farming policies and practices to embrace agroecology, we can create a food system to sustain this and future generations — a system rooted in productivity, resilience, equity and sustainability.
Inspiration for the work ahead
We’re still feeling encouraged and motivated by September’s events. The construction of a more just food and farming future is already under way.
These photos capture just a few of the many inspiring moments throughout the week:
The Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice March, in which 30,000 took to the streets!
Delivery of an open letter to Governor Jerry Brown and his Governors’ Climate and Forest Task Force at their annual meeting, to reject their market-based climate solutions.
The day-long Sol2Sol summit featuring music, dance, art, local food, collective healing, ceremony, and community-led workshops on themes of Just Transition Strategies, Protecting the Land and Mother Earth, Supporting Community Solutions, and Building Energy Democracy.
A march at the entrance to the GCAS where Sol2Sol participants let those who were entering know that market-based strategies are not a solution, but rather a source of our climate crises.