Orientation to a Regenerative Economy

Following is the current state of a diagram I’ve been working on to help me understand the relationships among White settler colonists, Indigenous peoples and other people of color. Many of the basic problems today stem from our capitalist economic system which is heavily dependent on energy.

Until recently fossil fuels were the energy source for capitalist systems. But there is a rapid transition to renewable energy sources today. This transition is related to falling prices of renewable source electricity, and Indigenous led resistance to extractive, fossil fuel sources.

What would replace our failing capitalist system?

Our strongest chance of restoring balance on the planet and respecting the interconnectedness of all things, human and other-than-human, is to fervently advocate for justice for Indigenous communities and return to them the power of governance—which was violently apprehended through war, genocide, starvation, disease, abuse, the dispossession of land, and forced repression of Indigenous communities on reservations. The only way to upend this form of sociopolitical and economic ordering, I argue, is through the reinstatement of Indigenous authority and sovereignty.

What Standing Rock Teaches Us About Environmental Justice by Jaskiran Dhillon, Social Science Research Council, Dec 5, 2017

Lately I’ve been studying regenerative economy (just added at the bottom center of the diagram below).

A document that has been helping me understand regenerative economy is A People’s Orientation to a Regenerative Economy. Protect, Repair, Invest, and Transform just published, with the related video here:

Introduction

The intersecting crises of income and wealth inequality and climate change, driven by systemic white supremacy and gender inequality, has exposed the frailty of the U.S. economy and democracy. This document was prepared during the COVID-19 pandemic which exacerbated these existing crises and underlying conditions. Democratic processes have been undermined at the expense of people’s jobs, health, safety, and dignity. Moreover, government support has disproportionately expanded and boosted the private sector through policies, including bailouts, that serve an extractive economy and not the public’s interest. Our elected leaders have chosen not to invest in deep, anti-racist democratic processes. They have chosen not to uphold public values, such as fairness and equity, not to protect human rights and the vital life cycles of nature and ecosystems. Rather, our elected leaders have chosen extraction and corporate control at the expense of the majority of the people and the well-being and rights of Mother Earth. Transforming our economy is not just about swapping out elected leaders. We also need a shift in popular consciousness.

There are moments of clarity that allow for society to challenge popular thinking and status quo solutions. Within all the challenges that this pandemic has created, it has also revealed what is wrong with the extractive economy while showcasing the innate resilience, common care, and original wisdom that we hold as people. Environmental justice and frontline communities are all too familiar with crisis and systemic injustices and have long held solutions to what is needed to not only survive, but also thrive as a people, as a community, and as a global family. We cannot go back to how things
were. We must move forward. We are at a critical moment to make a down payment on a Regenerative Economy, while laying the groundwork for preventing future crises.

To do so, we say—listen to the frontlines! Indigenous Peoples, as members of their Indigenous sovereign nations, Asian and Pacific Islander, Black, Brown and poor white marginalized communities must be heard, prioritized, and invested in if we are to successfully build a thriving democracy and society in the face of intersecting climate, environmental, economic, social, and health crises.

A just and equitable society requires bottom-up processes built off of, and in concert with, existing organizing initiatives in a given community. It must be rooted in a people’s solutions lens for a healthy future and Regenerative Economy. These solutions must be inclusive—leaving no one behind in both process and outcome. Thus, frontline communities must be at the forefront as efforts grow to advance a Just Transition to a Regenerative Economy.

A People’s Orientation to a Regenerative Economy offers community groups, policy advocates, and policymakers a pathway to solutions that work for frontline communities and workers. These ideas have been collectively strategized by community organizations and leaders from across multiple frontline and grassroots networks and alliances to ensure that regenerative economic solutions and ecological justice—under a framework that challenges capitalism and both white supremacy and hetero-patriarchy—are core to any and all policies. These policies must be enacted, not only at the federal level, but also at the local, state, tribal, and regional levels, in US Territories, and internationally.

A People’s Orientation to a Regenerative Economy. Protect, Repair, Invest, and Transform


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