Real Solutions for Climate Justice

Hoodwinked in the Hothouse is a collaborative effort that has defined our allied climate justice movement’s opposition to neoliberal trade agreements, market-based policies and corporate techno-fixes aimed at protecting and subsidizing the extractive energy corporations causing climate chaos. These include schemes such as pollution trading and forestry carbon offsets; and, expensive and unproven techno-fixes like nuclear power, carbon capture and storage, megadams, bioenergy, hydrogen fuels, chemical recycling and waste-to-energy technologies.

And while it is critical that global social movements align on a united front against these forms of climate capitalism, we also need to start cultivating pathways towards the transformative, intersectional and systemic change that the world needs!

Real “climate justice” solutions should always aim to tackle the root systemic drivers of climate chaos, while addressing the most urgent needs on the frontlines of this crisis. The following are essential guidelines that lawmakers at local, state, national, and international policy arenas should start applying for climate justice.


Real solutions for climate justice must be guided by principled practice
Real solutions for climate justice must be guided by Indigenous Traditional Knowledge, place-based experience and public-interest science
Real solutions for climate justice must be holistic in tackling all intertwined ecological, economic and social harm
Real solutions for climate justice must replace economies of greed with economies serving ecological and human need
Real solutions for climate justice must advance deep, direct and participatory democracy, rooted in local self-determination
Real solutions for climate justice must repair our relations with the Earth and each other 


1. Real solutions must be guided by principled practice. Principles are articulations of shared values that guide our day-to-day practice. For example, principles of participatory action research call for centering the experiences of those most impacted by any issue. By providing such value-based guidelines for transformative change, principles help us determine “just” pathways to reduce all forms of environmental harm that have disproportionately burdened historically oppressed communities and workers. Real solutions must be guided by principles such as those of environmental justice, just transition, climate justice, democratic organizing and energy democracy.

2. Real solutions must be guided by Indigenous Traditional Knowledge, place-based experience and public-interest science. To understand which solutions are most beneficial, least harmful, and most equitable, we need to rely on the knowledge of humanity’s oldest living, place-based cultures for guidance on how to live in harmony, balance and reciprocity with the Earth and all her children. Centering Indigenous Traditional Knowledge, wisdom and values allows us the clearest line of sight for tackling the climate crises headed our way. At the same time, Indigenous knowledge and territorial resources are under grave threat of theft and exploitation from neoliberal policy schemes, so advancing real solutions must include protection for such frontline knowledge systems. In addition to the ecological wisdom of Indigenous and other racialized communities, real solutions must be guided by public-interest (and not profit-driven) research and science, with deep, democratic oversight.

3. Real solutions must be holistic in tackling intertwined ecological and social harm. Climate strategies that have solely focussed on carbon reduction metrics have often resulted in devastating impacts to human health and biodiversity. Hence, all efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions must be coupled with strategies to eradicate the monopolization of land, concentration of wealth, and the disproportionate pollution and poverty burdens borne by Black, Brown, Indigenous, migrant and poor communities around the world. Real solutions require that all “decarbonization” strategies simultaneously detoxify, decommodify, de-gentrify, demilitarize, decentralize, decolonize and democratize our economies. Such an integrated approach to ensure that harm reduction in one area does not exacerbate burdens in another.

4. Real solutions must replace economies of greed with economies that serve ecological and human needs. Capitalism is premised on infinite growth in contrast to the limits imposed by the planet. This system relies on exploitation of people and the planet for the benefit of the few. The survival of people and the planet, therefore, requires the end of this extractive system, and its replacement with models and measures of progress that value quality over quantity, and collective wellbeing over individual wealth. Real solutions must take us on just transition pathways that move us towards local economies that serve our capacity to care, share, and take action in solidarity and mutual aid; while respecting ecological boundaries. There are thousands of experiments around the world, providing lessons on building feminist, social solidarity economies, from timebanking to federations of worker cooperatives. And, in making this transition, we have much to learn from the experiential knowledge and survival skills of many of the poorest, most marginalized communities on the frontline of climate chaos–where people continue to struggle against racialized poverty, resource wars, forced migration; as well as hurricanes, forest fires, droughts, floods and disease.

5. Real solutions must advance deep democracy, rooted in local self-determination, and centering the leadership and needs of those first and most harmed. Real solutions must serve to advance deep, direct and participatory democracy, involving the collective leadership of communities and workers historically most impacted by the extractive economy. Real solutions must serve the needs, vision, values, knowledge, lived experience and skills of those workers and communities on the frontlines of climate chaos. We need to build new models of democratic governance that replace present government systems directed by wealth and corporate influence. We need tools that deepen democracy such as participatory budgeting and participatory policy-making.

6. Real solutions must repair our relations with the Earth and each other. To protect ecological health and biodiversity for all future generations around the world, we need to center the knowledge, self-governance and leadership of Indigenous and frontline communities that have been stewarding the land and protecting biodiversity for millenia. These communities continue to be first and most harmed by climate chaos, and are owed a historic debt by those whose growing wealth continues to cause harm. The extractive corporations, military industries, global banking systems and wealthy, colonial states causing climate chaos are historically responsible for the genocide of Indigenous Peoples, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, femicide led by patriarchal religions, and the theft of land, labor and lives around the world. They continue to perpetrate this agenda of genocide, theft and enslavement; therefore our ability to tackle climate chaos will hinge on how well we address such past, present and future harm; protect frontline communities and their territories; return stolen lands and resources to these frontlines; and, restore our ecosystems and reciprocal relations with all life on Earth!


We are consulting with numerous allies in order to finalize this language, and then the Hoodwinked Collaborative will officially release this as a sign-on statement.  So keep an eye on, and please let us know what you think of these critical guidelines for climate policy pathways!

illustration of people cultivating healthy food vs. mechanized agribusiness

″Agroecology″ by Jakarundi Graphics, from Hoodwinked in the Hothouse