After a political let down in Copenhagen back in December, activists around the world have been mobilizing into action, understanding that we don’t have the time to wait for our leaders to make the changes we need to see in national legislation, in global treaties or agreements. This attitude is prevalent in Detroit this week. Beginning with the great discussion at our session Wednesday morning, Anti-Imperialism is Green, to the workshops on movements in Central and South America, to 350.org’s 10-10-10 Global Work Party campaign. People are sick of waiting for change, so they’re taking it into their own hands on the local level.
Global Exchange’s Michigan team has been working on national policy and legislation for four years now. In the past year, we’ve transitioned to more localized work on the ground. We’ve had overwhelming support from the community on this work. In Lansing, during Powershift last fall, we launched a Bicycle Cooperative. This bike co-op has received tremendous support from the community as it works to make transportation safe, easy, affordable, fun, and green. The bike co-op offers an alternative to the current imperial, economic system. People are able to come and get work on their bike done for a donation of either time or money, or free if neither is possible. Parts and tools are available, all of which have been donated by community members.
The summer program in Highland Park is yet another example of localized work to transition to a clean, green economy. Global Exchange is working to transition a block in a neighborhood in Detroit by working with the community. At the same time, youth activists are getting Green Economy Leadership Training (GELT), learning about alternative energy, permaculture, and reusing resources to retrofit homes. This type of work shows what the green economy could look like. It’s a model which can be replicated and modified all over the country. And similar projects are popping up all over.
This past week, over 20,000 people gathered in Detroit for a common goal, another world – a better world, a green, more just world. In order to reach this world, we will need change on all levels. But we can’t wait for our leaders to make those changes. We need to start taking action ourselves. And as the Social Forum demonstrated, people are doing this all over the world. Its time for us to follow suit and do the same.
(Casey McKeel is part of our Midwest Climate and Energy Campaign based in Lansing, Michigan where they are working together to build a green economy in the Midwest.)