We talk a lot about solarpunk not being just science fiction, about how it’s a present-day movement that is fighting to get rid of fossil fuels, feed building, and build stronger communities in the here and now. It’s an attempt to prefigure the utopian world we want to create by constantly, daily building smaller versions of it through presence in this world and our interactions with others.
Portland, Oregon is one of many places where this real life, on the ground work is happening. We recently published an article talking about Solarpunk Portland and their vision for transforming “Stumptown” into a solarpunk city. Today, we bring you an interview we did with folks from Portland’s Municipal Eco-Resiliency Project.
What is MERP? What is its mission?
Essentially, the purpose of The Municipal Eco-Resiliency Project is to combat climate change with urban farming, community resiliency, direct action, education, building coalitions, and organizational development through critical input and feedback by participants.
How did MERP come into existence?
It was inspired by a Mexican-American, born in occupied Multnomah, who calls themselves Yolotli X. It became apparent to them, as a direct actionist in the people’s climate justice movement, that without food security and logistical-organizational support to participate full time, efforts for climate justice will see only fractional success by the year 2030. This was realized in their mind after standing up for climate justice with Black Lives Matter, kayaking against Arctic drilling, protesting COP21 in Paris and living in LA ZAD, hosting vigils for the families separated by ICE & children in cages.
What are some of the things MERP is doing on the ground to help make the nine plans a reality?
The nine plans are:
1) Build a food justice coalition with community organizations and neighbors
2) Educate ourselves and others in our city on how to grow food and how to care for this land
3) Engage in ongoing political education to help us analyze current moment, historically contextualize our actions, and build a strong anti capitalist movement
4) Grow food for the movement through collective work
5) Reclaim land and lawn space for urban food sovereignty in PDX
6) Make Portland become food sovereign in ten or so years, using sustainable agricultural practices and following leadership from colonized/BIPOC communities
7) Contribute resources to the people’s climate justice movements and others, reinforcing a culture of resource sharing among aligned organizations and among neighbors
8) Develop community-controlled infrastructure essential to survive and resilience in the face of climate change, capable of self-sufficiently meeting needs beyond just food
9) Help make these plans possible by building a base of operations in Portland, Oregon
We’re drafting an organizers manual which is help clarify confusion and motivate individuals to participate in MERP with or without their respected community organizations, allow neighbors to participate without always attending organizational meetings and learn how to live off grid in the city.
We are going to be building a plant nursery as an educational space and as a financial contributions
project with a consignment deal to have plants sold at The SymbiOp Garden Center. This plant nursery will be constructed to sustain itself at a neighbors backyard in The Jade District which is called ‘Pandas Place’. We encourage neighbors and activists to offer names of dwellings to build a revolutionary message with MERP for everyone to know and get active for the people’s climate justice movement.
There is a fundraiser you’re part of this Saturday called Bloom. What is that event and how can people pitch in?
Bloom is hosted by For The People aka FTP based in Seattle, WA. This event is not about doom and gloom, but rather celebrating how much has been accomplished by the community supported organizers of FTP since this capitalist-pandemic started.
You’re all invited to Bloom, for another world is possible. Tickets are available at no cost, but as a fundraiser any contributions is always welcome!
Yolotli Xs final words to everyone- Solidarity galaxy-wide!