The Mobilization for Climate Justice West was formed in early 2009 to generate “street heat” around climate justice in the lead-up to the international climate change negotiations in Copenhagen in December. From August through December 2009, MCJW organized five direct actions, planned the West Coast Convergence for Climate Justice and Action, and sent activists to Copenhagen – putting more people in the streets around climate justice than any other city or region in the United States. Through this work, MCJW has supported critical movement building and direct action planning in the Bay Area supporting local struggles for climate justice, such as the fight against the expansion of the Chevron refinery in Richmond, CA. We have built one of the most diverse and successful local coalitions to address the root causes of the climate crisis, advocating for climate justice and local solutions and staying rooted in principles of accountability and social justice.
MCJW’s current work, vision and goals honor a long history of environmental justice organizing and activism. Much of MCJW’s organizing and events has supported and stemmed from the historic fight against Chevron in the Bay Area – a campaign led by community-based environmental justice organizations including Communities for a Better Environment, the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, West County Toxics Coalition, and the Richmond Progressive Alliance. These groups have been organizing communities in Richmond for decades to call for the clean-up of toxic air pollution from Chevron’s oil refinery, a halt to its destructive expansion project, and to oppose Chevron’s corruption of city politics. See more about the campaign against Chevron here.
MCJW also works in solidarity with the international climate justice movement and the national environmental justice movement. The environmental justice movement traces its history back to the First People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit in 1991, which resulted in the Principles of Environmental Justice. In 2002, the Bali Principles of Climate Justice – the first climate justice framework – were articulated. In 2004, the Durban Group for Climate Justice delved deeper into the issue of commodification of the atmosphere and the dangers of relying on a markets-based framework to attempt to solve climate change (See Durban Declaration on Carbon Trading). In 2008, California environmental justice groups issued a declaration against carbon trading. In 2009, the growing climate justice movement met at the international climate change negotiations in Copenhagen, as well as organized the alternative peoples conference, the Klimaforum. In 2010, the Bolivian government hosted the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth to protest the lack of democracy and transparency in the official UN climate negotiations and the dominance of corporate solutions to climate change.