August 2, 2012
Below please find an important update from Global Justice Ecology Project’s Executive Director and Board Chair, and below that a message from our Communications Director, Jeff Conant, on his time with the organization.
Dear Friends, Supporters and Allies of Global Justice Ecology Project,
As you know, Global Justice Ecology Project is a lean organization that has always achieved a lot with a little.
We are writing today to let you know that GJEP’s Board of Directors recently made the difficult decision to close our west coast office. While this change was necessitated by the same financial realities facing many non-profits, it is not an ending, it is an evolution.
We look forward to continuing our work with the allies and networks we have established on the west coast and in other regions.
In addition to this, earlier this summer, our main Vermont office moved to Buffalo, NY- a move that will benefit the organization’s goals and save us money as well. We will continue our Vermont presence, however, with representation in Burlington by our colleagues at Gears of Change.
As times change, so must we. And that change includes re-orienting GJEP’s work to emphasize our strengths – specifically our effective campaign strategies, our activist research and analysis, and our support for grassroots efforts in the US – in conjunction with and in parallel to our ongoing work as part of a global network of activists.
GJEP’s evolution comes at a time when the issue of genetically engineered (GE) trees is reaching a crescendo, and as you know, GJEP was one of the first groups to make the clarion call on GE trees. We are now strategically focusing our organizational energies to advance our work to permanently stop the large-scale commercial development of GE tree plantations.
We are taking on some of the largest timber corporations on the planet, but we have a vast national and international network behind us, including hundreds of groups who signed our call for a global ban on GE trees.
We assure you that Global Justice Ecology Project, while changing and evolving, will continue to do what we do best: exposing the intertwined root causes of social injustice, ecological destruction and economic domination, while building bridges between social, environmental and ecological justice groups to strengthen our collective efforts to achieve systemic change.
Thank you for supporting Global Justice Ecology Project as we continue our evolution.
Anne Petermann Orin Langelle
Executive Director Board Chair
From (former) GJEP Communications Director Jeff Conant:
Hello GJEP supporters, allies, and friends,
Given the changes afoot in GJEP – the closing of the West Coast office and the end of my formal association with the organization – I want to share a few words.
My relatively brief tenure with GJEP spanned the period between the Cochabamba Peoples Summit of April 2010 and the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit of June 2012. During this time, I had the great thrill of working at the heart of the climate justice movement.
By providing analysis, communications strategy, and media support at international events such as the UN Climate COPs, and by doing so from deep in the trenches of grassroots mobilization, we sent a clear and consistent message that those who determine climate policy should be those who bear the brunt of both climate chaos and the policies it engenders.
Many of our friends have told us – and it seems clear to me – that if the GJEP team had not been at these forums, this message would not gotten out as clearly, as strongly, or as effectively.
Working in the climate justice field during my two years with GJEP, we bridged issues, networks, and movements: drawing the links between forest-carbon offset policies and food sovereignty; between Indigenous Peoples Rights and urban struggles for environmental justice; between genetically engineered trees and synthetic biology; between the false solutions promoted under the rubric of a ‘green economy’ and the corporate concentration of wealth and power that is the primary root cause of the ecological crisis we are facing.
During this period, one of many phases in the evolution of this small but effective organization, GJEP’s work was to make the connections between the broad range of radical movements that essentially define the field of climate justice – without which, I believe, the field would be less articulate, less focused, and less effective.
Much of this work was behind-the-scenes, to facilitate the voices of our partners and allies, bring disparate issues together to help build a movement: and always in the mix – whether in the composition of the press conferences we organized, in the wording of the press releases we put out, or in the editorial vision guiding the Climate Connections blog – was GJEP’s sharp radical critique.
That vision will continue, and will continue to inform both my own work moving forward, and GJEP’s. While leaving the organization is a sad transition, I believe the work will continue as it must. I expect to continue working with Climate Connections, and supporting the organization through my own future initiatives.
In that same spirit, I humbly ask that those of you who have supported GJEP’s work will continue to do so through this transition.
In the words of the eminent radical photojournalist Orin Langelle: Hasta la Victoria Siempre!
- Jeff Conant, Oakland California, August 1, 2012
P.S. Please note GJEP’s new contact information in Buffalo, NY:
Global Justice Ecology Project
266 Elmwood Avenue, Suite 307
Buffalo, NY 14222 USA
GJEP Board of Directors:
Soren Ambrose, International Policy Manager, ActionAid International
Hallie Boas, Media and Climate Justice Activist
Dr. Aziz Choudry,Professor, McGill University, GATT Watchdog, Asia-Pacific Research Network
Hiroshi Kanno, Water Privatization Activist, Concerned Citizens of Newport
Orin Langelle, Board Chair
Ann Lipsitt, Reading Specialist, Disability Rights Advocate
Dr. Will Miller (in memoriam)
Clayton Thomas-Muller, Mathais Colomb Cree Nation, Tarsands Campaign Organizer, Indigenous Environmental Network
Anne Petermann, Executive Director, STOP GE Trees Campaign Coordinator
Karen Pickett, Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters, Alliance for Sustainable Jobs & the Environment