350PDX exists to address capitalist and political systems where profits trump people, false climate solutions are written by those protected from climate chaos, and the climate movement is steeped in white supremacy culture. We solve these problems by centering the needs of frontline communities in our campaigns and programs, while being co-conspirators in the fight for social and racial justice.
A Deeper Dive
What a mission statement gains from being short and snappy, it loses in being able to dive deeper into the nuance and ideas behind the careful word choice. So here we’ve expanded out what we really mean by our mission statement:
Our mission is to build a diverse grassroots movement to address the causes of climate disruption through justice-based solutions by inspiring, training and mobilizing people to act.
Build a diverse, grassroots movement – Diverse cultural and social experiences give us a broader and better view and are essential for creating a just society. Recognizing this, our leadership is trained to create an inclusive and anti-oppressive organizing home, where your whole self will be appreciated. We know that solutions created by those impacted first and worst by the climate crisis are the only solutions that can truly stop the root of the crisis. Grassroots means people-power, or a bottom-up approach to organizing.
Grassroots = a people-powered, bottom-up approach to organizing where people come together to fight for a common cause, often against powerful interests, to win lasting change that directly improves people’s lives. The key tenet of grassroots organizing is that the people most affected by a problem are the ones who are best poised to solve that problem, and thus true grassroots organizing centers the leadership and expertise of those most impacted by the problem at hand.
To address the root causes of climate disruption – Historically, mainstream narratives around climate change were not about righting its root causes of racial, economic, or social injustice, but focused on greenhouse gas emissions broadly, and the preservation of land/species while maintaining inequitable power structures. The causes of climate disruption are the same root causes as other environmental, social, economic and racial injustices. It is the extractive economy that both extracts resources and exploits people (read our resources on our What is Climate Justice web page for more info, that includes this video]. We work on systemic change rather than individual behavior change. With just 90 companies causing 2/3rds of global greenhouse gas emissions, we put pressure on politicians, industries and businesses to change the systems people live in, so that the easiest choice (and perhaps the only choice) for everyone is the sustainable and equitable one.
Through justice-based solutions – We center the leadership of communities that are hit by the climate crisis first and worst – Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and low-income communities – as those on the front lines of climate change best understand justice-based solutions. We recognize the following as some examples of justice-based solutions:
- Portland Clean Energy Fund
- Oregon Just Transition Alliance’s Green New Deal
- Movement for Black Lives policy platform
- Cooperation Jackson’s Sustainable Communities Initiative
- PAALF’s People’s Plan
- Living Cully
- Standing Rock
By inspiring, training and mobilizing people to act – True power lies in the people. We are our greatest resource. 72% of Oregonians believe solving climate change requires us to change our way of life. We focus on mobilizing the masses who are concerned about the climate crisis and enraged over acts of injustice. We inspire each other to act, teach and learn together, and identify opportunities to engage in real, meaningful, effective action that will fully address the climate crisis, and bring about a just and equitable future for all.
350.org was founded in 2008 by a group of university friends along with author Bill McKibben, who wrote one of the first books on global warming for the general public, with the goal of building a global climate movement.
350PDX is a local group affiliated with 350.org (in other words, we’re friends), but we are a completely separate organization in that we make all of our own decisions, set our own campaign priorities and do all our own fundraising. We were founded in 2013.
The number 350 comes from the scientific safe upper limit of how many parts per million of carbon dioxide should be in the atmosphere (in other words, for every million particles of the oxygen, nitrogen, water vapor, etc. that make up air, a maximum of 350 particles should be carbon dioxide). Before the industrial revolution that number was roughly 270. We are currently at around 415, meaning we are overstepping this important planetary boundary and need to stop emitting greenhouse gases and bring that number back down to 350 or below as fast as possible.
350PDX is a non-discriminatory organization that seeks to support and empower all those working within a diverse and inclusive climate justice movement. For that reason we adhere to both the letter and the spirit of applicable laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, creed, religion, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, citizenship status, veteran status, disability, or any other characteristic prohibited by law. We actively strive to create a space of equity and trust for all who wish to contribute to our goals and welcome those who can teach us how to do this better. Any concerns about misconduct are received and dealt with seriously.