Julian Brave NoiseCat is Vice President of Policy and Strategy at Data for Progress, Narrative Change Director of The Natural History Museum, author, and a First Nations member. We discuss the need for climate justice, what we can learn from our indigenous communities, and why durable clean energy policy is key to stopping climate change.
Many low-income communities bear the brunt of industrial pollution or the harshest consequences of climate change. In order to address global warming in a meaningful way, we must also address systemic inequality. The Green New Deal offers a solution to both: transitioning to clean energy while also ensuring low-income communities get the funding they need, and blue-collar workers get good-paying jobs.
Climate Change is a global collective problem, and individual actions alone are not going to suffice to combat it. Currently, only the Democratic Party in the US is willing to acknowledge this reality and work towards enacting durable decarbonization policies. Therefore, voting for Democratic leaders is paramount in this year’s election. Organizing, activism, and raising awareness should support and prioritize policy-making success.
Indigenous peoples have deep insights as to how we can relate to the environment, such as in the management of fisheries and – more profoundly – in surviving a loss of their world. Colonization was an apocalyptic experience for them, yet many of these indigenous communities have endured, and some are even resurging today. As the climate crisis poses an existential threat, learning the history of First Nations people might help us understand what it means for humans to live through catastrophic destruction.
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Julian Brave NoiseCat is Vice President of Policy & Strategy at Data for Progress; Change Director at The Natural History Museum; and a Fellow at Type Media Center & NDN Collective.
The belief that Indigenous peoples can contribute to understanding and solving the world’s most pressing challenges inspires his work. In 2019, NoiseCat helped lead a grassroots effort to bring an Indigenous canoe journey to San Francisco Bay to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Alcatraz Occupation.
He has been published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Paris Review, The Guardian, and The Nation, among many others.
Previously, he led 350.org’s US policy work and was an Urban Fellow in the Commissioner’s Office of the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development. He studied history at Columbia University and the University of Oxford, where he was a Clarendon scholar.
He is a proud member of the Canim Lake Band Tsq’escen and a descendant of the Lil’Wat Nation of Mount Currie.
You can follow him on Twitter @jnoisecat.