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Just Transition is a national framework for advancing systems change in our society that was articulated by the Oakland-based organization Movement Generation. At Good Work Institute, we have designed our work to align with the following five Just Transition principles:

Advancing ecological restoration

The crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental contamination pose a threat to our existence and the foundations of our ecology, society, and economy. The root of the word “eco” comes from the Greek word “oikos” meaning “home.” We are committed to supporting people and projects that are caring for our home, preserving and restoring our fragile ecosystems, increasing biodiversity, eliminating environmental toxins, mitigating the causes of global warming, and fostering community resilience in its wake.

Democratizing communities, wealth and the workplace

We all suffer the destructive effects of an extractive economy, an extractive society, and an extractive system of power. Our time, our capacity to make decisions in our communities, and the fruits of our labor are all being taken out of our places. There is a deeply inequitable concentration of wealth, power, and other forms of capital that erodes our connection to ourselves, our places, and the natural world. Through democratizing communities, wealth, and the workplace, we see an opportunity to bring that value back and share it more equitably within our communities.

Driving racial justice and social equity 

Racial justice and social equity are more than just ideals. No society can claim to be healthy while it marginalizes any of its own members. Racial justice and social equity are critical to the health and sustainability of thriving communities because they allow space for all members in a community to participate fully. We work to dismantle systems of oppression, redress inequality, establish respectful relationships of mutual benefit, promote fairness, and practice equality. We strive to foster community resilience, and eventually, to help establish new rules of the game.

Relocalizing most production and consumption 

Globalized production and consumption lead to pace, scale, and power imbalances that make it virtually impossible for shareholders and executives to prioritize regard for ecological or social limits. Relocalizing most production and consumption is about building local self-reliance, resilience, and trust so that our land, life, and labor are part of a balanced web of stable, interdependent relationships focused on taking care of our places and each other. Drawing more money and power down to the local level, while practicing the other Just Transition principles described here, can lead us away from an extractive economy and toward a regenerative one.

Retaining and restoring cultures and traditions

As biodiversity is essential to the long-term survival of life on earth, cultural diversity is vital for the long-term survival and cultivation of the best of our humanity. Our country’s history of occupation and colonization, and the impacts of blind capitalism, have caused so much destruction and disruption to the cultures and traditions of many peoples. It has also forced many communities to sacrifice culture and tradition for economic survival. We seek to do and support work that honors, respects, and contributes to the restoration of the life-supporting traditions of the array of cultures connected to our region.

Just Transition Artworks

In 2019, Good Work Institute commissioned five artists from the Hudson Valley, all GWI Fellows, to create a work in response to one of the Just Transition principles, as part of the opening celebration for the Greenhouse. You can learn more and view images from these works here. Or please come visit us at the Greenhouse to see the artworks in person.