Hurricanes Irma, Jose, and Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Almost three thousand Puerto Ricans died, infrastructure and energy systems were devastated, and it will take many years for Puerto Rico to recuperate. With this crisis has come a decision for Puerto Rico: Austerity, or rebuilding using a Green New Deal framework. At the Sanders Institute Gathering, we brought together Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, economist Robert Pollin, and community land trust expert John Davis to talk about the path forward for Puerto Rico.
Dr. Jane Sanders, Sanders Institute Co-Founder and Founding Fellow, addressed the 2019 Geoscience and Society Summit in Stockholm hosted by the American Geophysical Union about the need for grassroots movements to elevate interdisciplinary conversations about the climate crisis and how to build effective international collaboration on this important issue.
Civil rights, immigration, climate change, and the economy - all are connected and tied directly to the issues of justice and human rights.
At the Sanders Institute Gathering, Dr. Jim Zogby moderated a panel on civil rights, immigration, and human dignity with Dr. Radhika Balakrishnan, Representative Tulsi Gabbard, Susan Sarandon, and Ben Jealous. The panelists talked about how climate change and economic injustice are creating conflicts across the world and contributing to mass migration. This in turn has impacted several countries fostering xenophobic far-right movements. They discussed the importance of judging a country's economy, not on how large it is, but on whether it is just and meets the test of providing equal opportunity for all. And they talked about the history of the United States and how genocide against indigenous peoples, indentured servitude, slavery, and disenfranchisement defined the United States' beginning and still shapes our social and our political realities.
At the Sanders Institute Gathering, we set out to have conversations with some exceptional people that have made studying issues like the climate crisis their life’s work. We brought together some of the leading progressive minds to address this issue. Sanders Institute founding fellow, author and climate expert Bill McKibben, author and activist Naomi Klein, Executive Director of Presente Matt Nelson, Sanders Institute founding fellow and leading economist Stephanie Kelton, and physician and former Michigan gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed, spoke in depth about the climate crisis and how it intersects with each and every issue that our progressive movement is fighting for.
Senior Policy Advisor for the Carter Center, Karin Ryan, reads a letter to Jane O'Meara Sanders and David Driscoll supporting the Gathering. She reads: "I send my best wishes for a successful conference. It is gratifying to know you have brought together some of the world’s eminent experts to generate new ideas and action strategies to advance human well-being… We must build a world together that rests firmly on a foundation of the enduring principles found in the Declaration of Human Rights. That every person is equal in dignity and rights and that we can face every challenge and solve the most intractable problems, as long as we stay true to this universal creed. Rosalynn joins me in sending our best wishes for success in your efforts.”