For an urban “Green New Deal” to be truly transformative, it must be driven by popular participation and the imperatives of climate justice, eco-socialism, and decolonization.
The pamphlet A People’s Climate Plan for New York? has been released on 20 September 2019, in solidarity with the week of Climate Strike actions that took place in New York and across the world. This living document emerges from the work of the Climate Action Lab at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. It crystallizes a year-long series of workshops with activists, researchers, and artists intended to reimagine climate politics through the lens of the city as both the frontline impact zone and the source of grassroots alternatives informed by the imperatives of climate justice.
Click here to view or download the People’s Climate Plan for New York City pamphlet.
Inspired in particular by Aurash Khawarzad’s Upper Manhattan Project (which in turn has its roots in the 2015 WE ACT for Environmental Justice’s Northern Manhattan Climate Action Plan), this pamphlet aims to promote ongoing conversation, organizing, and speculation about popular climate planning at a city-wide scale beyond the important yet limited version of the Green New Deal that has been recently adopted by the city with the Climate Mobilization Act.
New York is an exemplary “extreme city” in its globe-girdling finance sector, its outsize contributions to climate crisis, its inequalities of race and class, and the uneven distribution of climate risk amongst its populations and neighborhoods. But the city also reflects the vibrancy of its many communities, the immense diversity of cultural traditions that enliven these communities, and the militant responses to oppression born in these locations—both in the past and today.
Devised in a spirit of radical cooperative research at the juncture between the public university and urban social movements, this pamphlet is not aimed at putting forward a single programmatic plan for the city—hence the question mark at the end of the title, intended to signal an ethos of both critical interrogation and radical imagination. Instead, it provides a snapshot of our work over the past year and its underlying principles in the hope that it can function as a vehicle for sharing research, developing questions, proposing ideas, and building relationships that could in turn contribute to city-wide popular planning processes in New York City and beyond that could help generate a People’s Climate Plan.
The Climate Action Lab invites feedback on this document at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we ask you to save the date for November 16, 2019, when a city-wide gathering devoted to popular climate planning will take place at the People’s Forum, 320 West 37th Street, NYC.