A Change Is Gonna Come

sam cooke

Sam Cooke’s, “A Change Is Gonna Come,” became an anthem of the Civil Rights Movement.

July 28, 2014
Steven D. Low, Communications Coordinator

I’m an aspiring Buddhist. Something we really enjoy thinking about when we’re meditating (imagine incense, chanting, levitation-the usual) is the topic of change. Everything is changing: the person we think we are, our relationships, our communities, and our climate.

This post is the namesake of Sam Cooke’s classic 1964 composition (listen here). Cooke’s song gave voice to the courageous transition towards racial and economic justice long denied to a massive portion of the citizenry. This just transition was made inevitable by communities most disenfranchised by society. The voice of Sam Cooke is just as prescient today.

‘Transition’ is often a word of choice among my lefty/Buddhist associates. There are many ways to denote change. The question before us now: whose change, whose transition?

It’s been a long time comin, but a change gonna come, oh yes it will.

The petroleum industry becomes dirtier as it reaches towards the bottom of the barrel to extract the final drops of fossil fuels. And the economic benefits? Well, remember that Christmas gift-wrapped in a box that was bigger than you? And inside was something better suited as a stocking-stuffer?

In California, out of ten industrial sectors surveyed, the fossil fuel industry was dead last as a job provider. From the site of extraction, along thousands of miles of train tracks, to the refinery, the health and safety of residents and workers, and the stability of our climate takes a steeper descent.

Will we choose to maintain our free-fall into an era of global warming? Or will we choose a Just Transition toward clean energy that powers a green economy, where thousands of green careers are generated? Where public monies are no longer bled into the electoral war-chests of the 1%, but are instead invested in the health, infrastructure, and environment of our communities?

A Just Transition towards clean energy and a renewed economy is on the move, thanks to CBE and visionary allies. By 2025 one million Californians could be driving electric vehicles, shutting off a source of particulate pollution especially prevalent in low-income communities of color. Green careers and green energy are being produced in Los Angeles, right now, as residential buildings transform their rooftops into solar power plants. More municipalities are joining Community Choice Aggregation, where local governments secure clean energy as a large portion of their energy supply.

From August 6-9 hundreds of people from frontline communities around the nation will converge on Richmond, California to envision the next steps towards our Just Transition. You can take part in defining this Just Transition for the Bay Area.

Join us on August 6 at 5pm to commemorate the 2012 Chevron refinery explosion and on August 9 for a full day of action beginning at the Kinder Morgan rail yard.

And you can sign this online petition to help ensure that the transport and refinement of dirty crude oil doesn’t endanger the Bay Area.

Change is gonna come, but whose change will it be?

Photo credit: ca1951rr, Flickr.