Better Future Project has worked to elevate the social justice issues surrounding climate change since its founding. We started with a simple idea: fossil fuels are bad for many reasons--from the toxic mining and drilling operations that pollute local waterways and communities to the carbon emissions that lead to devastating global climate change--and we need to get off of them all together. A Just Transition away from the fossil fuel economy would benefit the health, safety, and well-being of everyone on this planet, but particularly the low-income communities, communities of color, and Indigenous communities that have long borne the greatest physical and economic burdens of climate change and the fossil fuel industry and that have long been leading the resistance
We recognize that we live in a society that has tremendous inequities and injustices based upon centuries of history from slavery and colonialism to more subtle but no less pressing issues of subconscious and implicit systemic biases. And we recognize that these inequities and injustices exist in the mainstream climate movement and NGO spaces, as well.
In recent years, our commitment to standing in solidarity with the communities most impacted by climate change and other systems of oppression has significantly deepened. We are a proud member of the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition [link to website] and are following the leadership of labor advocates to help to advance the Fair Share Amendment, the Fight for $15/hr Minimum Wage, and Paid Family Medical Leave. Over the years, we have turned our members out for actions in support of economic and racial justice and passed the hat for Gulf South Rising, Black Lives Matter, Mass Action Against Police Brutality, and the North American Indian Center of Boston. We have hosted panels on Hurricane Katrina and the intersection of race, justice, and climate change, as well as around decolonizing environmentalism and Indigenous leadership. In 2015, we anchored the Jobs, Justice, Climate March [link to video], the region’s largest climate justice march, in partnership with labor, social justice, immigrant justice, racial justice, and other groups.
We have also hosted internal discussions and workshops around class, race, gender, and privilege among our staff and volunteers. We have increasingly valued experience in other social movements in our hiring process, and have recently brought on a Climate Justice Partnerships Organizer to help us make further progress in our intersectional movement-building efforts. We have also been working to include diverse perspectives on our board, including voices from labor and environmental justice communities, so that those perspectives are included at the highest levels of our decision-making. And we have worked hard to ensure that financial need is never a barrier to participation in our summer program.
As an organization that is predominantly white and predominantly middle class, we acknowledge that we have a lot more work to do among our staff and volunteer base to educate ourselves about both the struggles and bold leadership of traditionally marginalized communities, as well as to use the relative privilege that our community possesses to help lift up the voices, stories, and priorities of those communities. We do not see the path ahead as a short or easy one, but we are committed to walk it, as we know that our fates are tied in together, and that much of the wisdom and leadership we will need to overcome the challenge of climate change will come from those in communities that have long been on the frontlines of this fight.