London faces the biggest crisis in recent memory. Burning fossil fuels is destroying our climate, social cleansing, filthy air, racial injustice and precarious jobs are making London an increasingly difficult city to live in and our voices are not being heard. Climate change demands wholesale transformation – social, economic and cultural. London played a pivotal role in creating the fossil economy – and we are still driving it today.
Yet this crisis is not just a threat, it is also our best chance of building a just economic system – one that closes inequalities, strengthens and renews the public sphere, and generates plentiful, dignified work. We must be bold. To do this, we need a vision for its future. Together we can raise the bar and show decision makers (the London Mayor, Borough officials, corporations etc) that London’s residents want our city to become a just and equitable climate leader. What does this London look like? How can we create a city where people can breathe, where they can work meaningful jobs with decent conditions and where they have the time and resources to care for each other?
Taking inspiration from Naomi Klein’s Leap manifesto in Canada, London’s Leap Manifesto will bring together a range of communities, movements, activists and artists to develop a collective vision for a just, rapid and ambitious economic transformation that addresses the climate crisis, heals structural inequalities in our city and responds to London’s colonial and fossil legacy. It will centre voices not often heard in the climate debate by talking to workers, carers, diaspora communities and black and brown folks.
It’s time for London to leap.
The Vision: From London we leap…
The London Leap begins with four key principles:
1. Everyone should be able to live well
To Live Well means being able to breath clean air and access good quality, affordable food, housing, energy and water. It means being to able to move freely without fear of violence, discrimination and repression. It means better pay, rights and conditions at work. And it means recognising that much of what keeps our city going is the unpaid caring and household work taken on largely by women – and thinking about how this work can be revalued and shared more evenly across everyone.
How should London’s economic transformation in the face of climate change be driven to ensure that everyone in the city – both its current and future residents – can live well?
2. The climate transition needs to be based on justice and equality
The climate movement has begun to drive important changes in the transition to a low-carbon economic system. But much more needs to be done, very quickly. We need to make sure that it is those with the broadest shoulders – who also bear the most responsibility for climate change – that carry the costs. This means a just transition in which fossil fuel workers do not lose out. It means making sure that the poor are not penalised through rising food and energy prices. And it means championing solutions that redistribute wealth and power globally.
How can London be part of accelerating the climate transition in ways that embody and promote the principles of justice and equality both at home and internationally?
3. Economic democracy (or: really taking back control)
Like many of the problems our city and our world faces, climate change is an issue of power and control. At present, our energy system and the climate transition underway are controlled largely by the companies and interests responsible for climate change – those who benefit from our rigged economy. Across the city, ordinary people are disempowered and unable to shape the decisions that govern their lives.
From Barcelona to Rojava, social movements across the world are reclaiming the city and developing new forms of people power. How do we shift power from elites to ordinary people? How do we bring our energy system and our city in to democratic control?
4. We need to change our city’s relationship to natural resources
London’s relationship with natural resources remains dominated by the city’s financial role within global oil, mining and agro-industrial sectors. The impact of the city’s financiers and oil executives continues to propagate and deepen systems of exploitation on a global scale.
How can London shed its role in global systems of environmental destruction and oppression? What would it mean for London to take responsibility for its colonial legacy?