Think Locally, Act Globally
There’s a popular phrase that goes, “Think Globally, Act Locally.” This month, we’re leaning into its counterpart: thinking locally and acting globally. Let us explain what it could mean.
Thinking Locally demands a deep understanding of the local impacts of various types of injustices - whether they be climate-oriented, economic, planning, racial, social, class-based, or otherwise. Thinking locally also embodies an approach towards solutions that are inclusive, sustainable, democratic, transformative, and grounded firmly in the needs of the community and desires of its residents. This kind of rooted innovation creates some of the most inspiring frameworks for climate justice action for other cities to emulate all over the world.
Acting Globally means realizing that all our work is inherently inseparable from global structures and systems of political-economic power that themselves require transformation. All decisions that we make locally have some global impact - from the mining of rare earth minerals for electric vehicles to the growing number of climate-induced migrants seeking a home in new cities and countries. Acting globally is a call to consider all the regions, biomes and global communities that sustain us. We cannot consider a community-based action to prevent the siting of a polluting industrial facility to be truly successful if this leads merely to relocation of that harm in another part of the world. We must begin to develop a more transformative politics that leads us to act in the best interests of all communities the world over by challenging practices of neo-colonialism and corporate-led globalization everywhere. This is no easy task, as it requires creating a new multi-racial, multi-class, multi-generational, and international climate justice movement.
Today marks the opening day of the COP28 Climate Conference in Dubai. Negotiations will touch a number of landmark issues, including the Global Stocktake - a review of every country’s progress towards the goals under the Paris Agreement, increased financing for the global Loss and Damage fund, and the health impacts of climate change. Deeply embedded in these negotiations are questions of responsibility - both historical and current obligations. The question of responsibility has always been a sticky one since Global North countries and companies have for decades eschewed their role in accelerating climate change. But a new analysis by Carbon Brief reviews these responsibilities and brings them into sharp relief. By assigning the historical emissions of the colonized countries to their colonial powers, the analysis shows that the historical responsibility for climate change shifts even more significantly to the Global North.
What the analysis also makes clear is that while all nations on earth have a duty to act, we will only truly become just and sustainable societies if Global North countries practice what they preach – and make significant headway on justice-forward transitions at home. We can think locally about what we need to do to make our own communities just, vibrant, and sustainable - but we can’t forget that all our actions are inherently global.
What's in This Month's Climate Action Update?
This month, we've summarized historic new grant opportunities, policies to make rapid transit and housing much more affordable, federal resources on the conversion of commercial buildings, the latest data on how climate justice is now a winning issue for voters, and much more! Take a glance through the November Update and follow the links to the resources that are most valuable to you. We encourage you to forward the Updates to like-minded colleagues and allies. Is there something you want to share, or do you have feedback for us? Please share your thoughts here!