Photo credit Seattle 350/Eli VanderBilt, Instagram @vanderbilt.eli

LNS Board Chair and former president of the Washington State AFL-CIO Jeff Johnson made the following remarks to the September 17 Climate Rally in Seattle:

Saving the planet ironically just isn’t part of the corporate plan. Also, not part of the corporate plan is allowing workers, communities of color, Indigenous people, students, environmentalists, and seniors having a say in how we should build a just, equitable, and sustainable world. But this is what the struggle is about.

Imagine for a moment what the world would look like if a broad coalition of climate justice advocates were in charge of creating this outcome. There would be:

Targeted investments in clean energy, starting where the need was greatest Deep dive energy retrofits in all public buildings, followed by private buildings, creating lifetime jobs and lowering carbon footprints Building truly affordable zero carbon housing Massive investments in resiliency efforts for clean air, water, forest and farm land 

A Civil Conservation Corps on steroids

Community wind and solar with local hire

Clean electric transportation systems

And all of this, and more, built with union labor and with high labor standards

This would be a world of massive job creation, climate change reversal, and a significant narrowing of inequality.

To get there, to transition to a truly just, equitable, and sustainable world we will need an economic and social paradigm shift.

And it starts here:

With a united front of environmental justice, Communities of Color, labor, indigenous, youth, student, environmental, and senior organizations demanding a plan to rapidly stop the use of fossil fuel production; end fossil fuel subsidies; and to democratize the creation and building of a “Just, Equitable and Sustainable planet.”

This is no time for small changes. 

For text of Jeff’s speech: