Hot & Bothered: Why Defunding the Police is Key to a Just Transition, with J. Mijin Cha

Hot & Bothered: Why Defunding the Police is Key to a Just Transition, with J. Mijin Cha

What will it take for the climate movement to move beyond statements of solidarity and advance a strategy of targeted divestment from racist institutions, in order to reinvest those resources—and many more, besides—in communities of color?

As uprisings against police violence and for black liberation have swept the nation over the past ten days, the climate movement has taken note. Groups ranging from the Sierra Club to the League of Conservation Voters have issued statements condemning racist violence; the Sunrise Movement and 350.org have gone further, echoing the call from racial justice organizers to defund the police. 

What will it take for the climate movement to move beyond statements of solidarity and advance a strategy of targeted divestment from racist institutions, in order to reinvest those resources—and many more, besides—in communities of color? This week, Kate and Daniel talk to J. Mijin Cha, a professor at Occidental College whose research focuses on climate and environmental justice, and in particular on how to shape a just transition to a low-carbon economy. They discuss the last week’s uprisings; California’s not-so-successful attempt to achieve environmental justice through a cap-and-trade program; and what a post-pandemic jobs program needs to look like.


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Check out the full Hot & Bothered archive here. Hot & Bothered is produced by Colin Kinniburgh. Music: Mercurias Meet Victor Rice, “Carregar (Instrumental),” courtesy of Total Running Time.

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Further reading

Freedom to Thrive: Reimagining Safety & Security in Our Communities (Center for Popular Democracy, Law for Black Lives, Black Youth Project 100)

Movement for Black Lives Policy Platform

Mijin Cha

Environmental Justice, Just Transition, and a Low-Carbon Future for California (J. Mijin Cha, Madeline Wander, and Manuel Pastor, Environmental Law Institute)

Rising from the ashes, a Buffalo suburb ends its dependence on coal (Elizabeth McGowan, Grist)

Reversing Inequality, Combatting Climate Change: A Climate Jobs Program for New York State (J. Mijin Cha and Lara Skinner, The Worker Institute)

A Green Stimulus to Rebuild Our Economy (Medium)


Lima