What did we hear at The Pact for a Green New Deal Town Halls?

Historic floods and wildfires. The MMIWG final report linking resource extraction and violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people. Growing economic inequality. Our government’s failure to live up to the demands of the Truth and Reconciliation committee or to fully implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This moment of systemic crisis calls for systemic change. That’s why over 100 groups have come together in 2019 to launch The Pact for a Green New Deal.

The Pact for a Green New Deal is a coalition calling for a far-reaching plan to cut emissions in half in 11 years, in line with Indigenous knowledge and climate science; create more than one million good jobs; and build inclusive communities in the process. Its bold, justice-based vision is galvanizing thousands of people by recognizing, and working to respond to, the multiple crises we face.

Since The Pact launched on May 6, 2019, organizations in the coalition have set off with the goal of listening to people from coast to coast to coast in the ambitious project of defining what a Green New Deal looks like for their community.

In less than a month, volunteers organized an astounding 150+ town halls, taking place in every single province and territory, to build alignment towards a set of shared principles for a Green New Deal. 

Of these 150+ events, about half were held in large communities (over 100,000 people), and half in small communities (under 30,000 people). The organizers we heard from hosted town halls ranging in size from four people, in Iqaluit, to over 300 in Edmonton. All in all, more than 7,000 people joined Green New Deal town halls in their communities — representing environmental groups, labour unions, faith groups, political parties, city councils, community and neighbourhood associations, Indigenous organizations, women’s organizations, the Fight for $15 and Fairness, student unions, local media, and more.

We worked with analysts to pull themes from the town hall conversations that took place: people gathering in grief, in rage, and in hope to share what they think the Green New Deal must include, and what it must put an end to. What follows is a summary of some of those themes; it is not a complete analysis or completed report. There is much work still to be done to bring in those who did not attend town halls, to allow time to hear from other groups, and to make sure voices marginalized by the status quo are made central in the process. MORE

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