NEWSWEEK

FOR LASTING CLIMATE CHANGE SOLUTIONS, IT'S TIME TO LISTEN TO YOUNG PEOPLE OF COLOR | OPINION

Working through UPROSE, the oldest Brooklyn-based Latinx organization, we have been a part of creating real solutions that will directly affect our neighborhood in Sunset Park. In partnership with other local organizations, we have created the first community-owned solar cooperative in New York state. This means that now our families can afford non-toxic energy and will have a say in how it is run and distributed—and can even profit from it. These frontline-led solutions work.

With climate change and pollution having the greatest effects on our neighborhoods, we have solutions, including plans to reduce carbon emissions and switch to renewable energy sources like wind and solar. We cannot be ignored, or have our communities be sacrifice zones that don't experience the benefits of pollution controls or innovative solutions to limit the impact of climate change.

Together, at the Climate Justice Youth Summit, we will work to operationalize our Just Transition principles, recognizing that we must build a visionary economy that is very different than the one we now are in. This requires stopping the bad while at the same time building the new. We must change the rules to redistribute resources and power to local communities.

Just Transition initiatives are shifting from dirty energy to energy democracy, from funding highways to expanding public transit, from incinerators and landfills to zero waste, from industrial food systems to food sovereignty, from gentrification to community land rights, from military violence to peaceful resolution, and from rampant destructive development to ecosystem restoration.

Core to a Just Transition is deep democracy—in which workers and communities have control over the decisions that affect their daily lives.