Principles

Climate change demands that we ask what kind of world we want to live in, and is as much a social issue as an environmental one. Everywhere in the world, low-income, politically marginalized communities—historically those least responsible for CO2 emissions—are also those hardest hit by climate change and every aspect of the energy industry, from toxic pollution to resource wars.

We aim to support communities in making a “just transition,” in which social and ecological needs are prioritized in the shift to a low-carbon society. This means opposing policies that cause collateral damage to communities or strengthen existing inequalities. Real solutions to climate chaos are local in nature and come from communities themselves, not from the institutions that got us into this mess.

Climate justice is more than just a goal; it’s a practice in the movement against climate chaos. No effort to create a livable future will succeed without the empowerment of marginalized communities and the dismantling of the systems of oppression that keep us divided.

Our Principles

Rising Tide North America (RTNA) is a decentralized network of groups and individuals organizing against the root causes of climate change.

We are committed to Earth-centered, community-based solutions to the climate crisis that foster local autonomy and self-sufficiency. We are part of the global movement against climate chaos and for social and environmental justice. We believe climate change can only be addressed by exposing the intersections between the oppressions of humans and the earth. The “natural” disasters caused by climate change amplify the injustices inherent in a capitalist, racist, and patriarchal society; we must respond to these disasters in ways that do not continue that oppression.

We do not believe that the dominant, business-friendly means of addressing climate change will have any significant impact preventing catastrophic global warming. Market-based “solutions” like carbon offset schemes – whereby corporations are allowed to profit from their “sale” of greenhouse gas pollution – create social and ecological problems of their own, and serve to reinforce the same unsustainable system that got us into this mess. Power hungry politicians, communities disconnected from each other and the planet, and an economics based on money making and careless consumption are fundamentally at odds with the concept of environmental sustainability.

We reject the weak, corporate-designed and oriented half-measures in the Kyoto Protocol such as carbon trading and the “Clean Development Mechanism”. Kyoto, with it’s seriously insufficient goal of 5.2% emissions reductions, has become a distraction rather than a solution. Scientists have estimated that even a 70% reduction in emissions by 2050 would result in a devastating 3.6 degree F. change. CO2 levels must be reduced as dramatically and quickly as possible. To this end, we believe in an immediate end to all new fossil fuel exploration and extraction, and a just, rapid transition away from the burning of fossil fuels.

We also reject nuclear energy and dams; these unsustainable mega-projects often result in the devastation of local bioregions and the displacement of both their natural and human communities. Rather, we advocate a drastic increase in energy conservation and support a transition to clean energy sources such as wind, solar, and micro-hydro power.

Tragically, many of the most well publicized and funded green initiatives are being directed by the very companies most responsible for carbon emissions, most guilty of environmental problems and fossil fuel related social injustices, and with the most to gain financially by stalling any large-scale transition away from a fossil fuel-based economy.

Any hope for a livable future rests not with these companies, but instead with communities organizing themselves to take control of their lives and their land, and with finding more simple ways of living in which we are not dependent upon the highly centralized industries that are destroying the Earth’s life-support systems as well as more sustainable and traditional cultures. In addition to challenging the root causes of climate chaos, we actively support these real and viable solutions.

Ecosystem preservation, recovery and restoration is essential to sequestering carbon and curbing the exponential rate of species extinction. Our agricultural systems also must be made to work more in harmony with the Earth’s systems; it’s time to abandon industrial agriculture in favor of small-scale, local food sources.

We believe in a movement-building model that is inclusive, participatory, decentralized and democratic. We strive to integrate these principles into our organizing and decision-making process.

RTNA is committed to keeping environmental racism and the struggle for environmental and climate justice in the forefront of our thought and actions. The people hardest hit by climate-induced natural disasters have been and will continue to be those most disenfranchised by our society and least responsible for the emission of greenhouse gases: the poor, women, and people of color. RTNA is committed to challenging all forms of oppression.

RTNA supports direct action and encourages individuals and organizations to carry out autonomous actions that are in line with these principles, whether it’s directly obstructing the fossil fuel industry or establishing grassroots solutions to climate change like permaculture gardens and community-run bike shops.  People and groups do not engage in property destruction under the name Rising Tide

All Rising Tide groups should organize in an anti-oppressive and empowering manner with regard to race, class and gender. Groups using the name Rising Tide do not engage in sabotage or acts of violence.

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Other principles and declarations that we are signatories to: