Solidarity Economics: Our Economy, Our Planet, Our Movements

Solidarity Economics is an economic frame that recognizes that people are not just individuals, but also members of broader social groups and communities, that people are motivated not just by self-interest, but also by caring for others and a desire for belonging, and that we can and should build our economy not on an embrace of individuality and competition, but rather on a sense of commons and our shared destiny. 

In this session, Natalie Hernandez, Associate Director of Climate Planning and Resilience at Climate Resolve, and Nailah Pope Harden, Executive Director of ClimatePlan,  join Manuel Pastor, one of the nation’s most influential thinkers on poverty and social movements, and Chris Benner, a leading innovator in urban political ecology, discuss how these concepts might apply in the realm of solidarity with people and the planet, and how we can make this real in terms of policy and power in this moment. 

This discussion took place at the 2021 Bioneers Conference.


Manuel Pastor

Manuel Pastor, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at USC and Director of its Equity Research Institute, has long been one of the most important scholars and activists working on the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities and the social movements seeking to change those realities. He has held many prominent academic posts, won countless prestigious awards and fellowships for his activism and scholarship, and is the author and co-author of many important, highly influential tomes, including most recently, State of Resistance: What California’s Dizzying Descent and Remarkable Resurgence Means for America’s Future (2018) and the just-about-to-be-released Solidarity Economics: Why Mutuality and Movements Matter.

Natalie Hernandez

Natalie Hernandez is a Los Angeles region-based specialist in environmental policy and community planning who is deeply knowledgeable about climate change-related government processes, funding, stakeholder engagement and resilience. She is Associate Director of Climate Planning & Resilience at Climate Resolve, where she has: managed climate preparedness projects, co-authored California’s Adaptation Planning Guide, led community outreach for an urban cooling project in Canoga Park, and provided technical expertise on a number of climate grant programs. Her past positions include stints at the California Natural Resources Agency, California Air Resources Board, Institute for Local Government, and USC’s Equity Research Institute (formerly USC PERE).

Chris Benner

Chris Benner, Ph.D., the Dorothy E. Everett Chair in Global Information and Social Entrepreneurship and a Professor of Environmental Studies and Sociology at UC Santa Cruz, also directs the Everett Program for Technology and Social Change and the Institute for Social Transformation there. His research examines the relationships between technological change, regional development, and the structure of economic opportunity, focusing on regional labor markets and the transformation of work and employment. He has authored or co-authored seven books (including the forthcoming Solidarity Economics) and more that 75 journal articles, chapters and research reports.

Learn more about Chris Benner and his work at his website.

Nailah Pope Harden

Nailah Pope Harden, who has years of community organizing experience spanning regional, state and national environmental justice campaigns, is the South Sacramento-based Executive Director of ClimatePlan, where she: manages state policy campaigns; mobilizes partner organizations; provides analysis on policy, state investments, and legislation; and builds strong relationships with state agencies and key decision-makers, all in order to further Climate Plan’s vision of a healthier, more equitable California.

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