Climate change and large-scale environmental destruction is caused by the decisions of economic and political powerholders in our society. These decisions are hidden and rationalized through systems that explicitly and implicitly value the lives of some over the lives of others. Further, it is generally those who did not cause this destruction, and often took steps to resist it, who are most affected, be it through forced displacement, loss of land and culture, impacts from carcinogens, floods, drought, violence from resource wars, or other impacts. Therefore, the Powershift Coordination Committee works within the perspective that social, economic and environmental issues are interconnected and interdependent. Achieving environmental and climate justice also inherently means confronting historical and continued marginalization, supporting impacted communities in their diverse struggles, and upholding the dignity of all peoples.
Furthermore, Powershifts and the day-to-day work and mobilization of participants also takes place on the territories of Indigenous peoples. Canada, the country in which our organizing takes place, has a history of systemic marginalization and inequality, particularly based on race, class, and gender. This has erased the histories, needs, and realities of many people, creating barriers to involvement; however, having to continually resist injustice also means that these communities have skills and knowledge that are important for movements for environmental justice.
Powershift strives to demonstrate the strength that comes through equity and solidarity, forge long standing relationships, and build the climate movement to reflect a strong commitment to anti-oppression principles. However, we acknowledge that PowerShift is a reflection of the society in which we live, and that systems of injustice within society at large also exist within our organizing. Therefore, we have struck an Accountability and Anti-Oppression working group to support PowerShift organizers and participants in taking responsibility for actively challenging structures of oppression in society and within our own movements. If you’re interested in knowing more about this working group, our anti-oppression principles, or if you have any concerns, please contact us. In the meantime, please see our Community Norms.