We are in the midst of a global crisis. COVID-19 has put the health, livelihoods, homes, and safety of billions at risk. At Oil Change International we are reorienting our work at this critical time to respond to the needs of this moment.
The following priorities will guide our work during this ongoing crisis:
- We will support those working to save lives during this crisis and do what we can to #FlattenTheCurve. We will use our platforms to share relevant information to reduce the spread of the virus, including encouraging physical distancing and following the best available recommendations. We have already taken steps within our organization to flatten the curve — by shutting our office, stopping travel, and asking staff to work from home. We will look for ways we can engage in — and engage our supporters in — advocating for protections for healthcare workers and other frontline workers (i.e. grocery workers, farm workers, food service workers), including advocating for adequate personal protective equipment, income supports, renter protections, and guaranteed paid sick leave.
- We will work to support those directly impacted by this crisis. As the situation intensifies, we will look for ways to provide support to those hardest hit. We are joining calls to support holistic and just responses to this crisis. We are currently providing additional flexibility around work hours to make space for staff to engage with community aid efforts and care for family and loved ones. We will continue to advocate for support to all those who are impacted, and will fight back against any racism and discrimination arising out of the crisis.
- We will work to support just recovery policies that will build resilience into the future. Responses to this crisis will be rapid fire and, if ill-conceived and hijacked by narrow corporate interests, risk further entrenching harmful systems and intensifying parallel crises, including the climate crisis. We will work to make sure policy responses help build the future we all know is needed, one that is more just, equitable, and resilient, and heads off crises before they hit.
How the world responds to this moment will have long-term impacts at both a community and global level. The escalating crisis is exposing and intensifying the gaps of care and systemic injustices embedded in our current political, economic, and healthcare systems. Meanwhile, many with power, including in the fossil fuel industry, are looking for massive handouts of public money, with no accountability to the public interest.
For governments and public financial institutions, the priority must be to save lives by supporting and protecting those on the frontlines of this pandemic. We urge governments to take urgent action to mobilize resources, expand affordable access to care, and provide healthcare workers with the protection and equipment they need. It is not acceptable that there are massive inequalities in personal and community risk in this pandemic, due to racism, disparities of wealth, health, access to energy and other infrastructure, and other intersecting factors.
Response and economic recovery measures must be developed based on principles of equity and justice, minimizing immediate harm while building a more healthy and resilient society into the future. To do this, governments must support the industries of the future, not those that were already in decline and undermining the health and safety of our communities prior to this crisis. Trillions of dollars will be needed to build a resilient economy through this crisis, but handing it to oil and gas companies will leave us more vulnerable. This is a critical opportunity to fund a just transition from oil and gas that protects workers, communities, and the climate instead of tying our shared future to a sunsetting and volatile commodity.
We stand with partners around the world who are demanding nobody be left behind, including Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, incarcerated people, people who are migrants and refugees, homeless people, LGBTQ+ people, and especially transgender folks, low-income workers, and independent contractors. We will lift up examples of mutual aid and community resilience, recognizing that people are striving to keep each other safe even where some governments are failing.
The coming months will be difficult. Together, we will fight for what we believe in, support impacted communities, and do everything we can to protect those in harm’s way.
– The OCI Team
Additional principles and statements we’ve signed onto:
- Principles for a #JustRecovery from COVID-19 (International)
- The People’s Bailout (United States)
- Open Letter From Civil Society to Prime Minister Trudeau on oil and gas sector bailout (Canada)
- 575 Groups Urge Halt to Electricity, Water Shutoffs (United States)