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Our Policy Agenda

Phoenix Zones Initiative envisions that public policies, institutions, and practices can become socially, environmentally, and economically just, and that they can uplift the most vulnerable.

“I cannot afford the luxury of fighting one form of oppression only. I cannot afford to believe that freedom from intolerance is the right of only one particular group. And I cannot afford to choose between the fronts upon which I must battle these forces of discrimination, wherever they appear to destroy me. And when they appear to destroy me, it will not be long before they appear to destroy you.”

—Audre Lorde

Our Policy Priorities

Stop Exploitation and Abuse

No one’s economic interests should be vested in exploitation and abuse.

At Phoenix Zones Initiative, we strive to:

Ensure that public resources do not enable exploitation. 

For decades, extractive industries, industrial agriculture, infrastructure development, and many attempts to address disease have driven the exploitation of the most vulnerable people and animals.

We advocate for international and federal policy changes that require government agencies to abide by principles that safeguard people and animals against exploitation.

We are especially focused on addressing publicly-funded activities such as food and textile production, medical research and public health priorities, and international development.


End the trafficking of children and animals.

Trafficking is one of the cruelest ways to foster abuse and exploitation. However, worldwide, human and animal trafficking are commonly found in the food, clothing and textile, and other agricultural industries.

Trafficking is often a sign that communities lack basic services, which makes children and animals especially vulnerable to various forms of exploitation.

We advocate for policies that end child and animal trafficking. We also push for adequate resources to strengthen and enforce existing laws.


Expand and Strengthen Legal Rights

Many forms of exploitation and abuse can be addressed by ensuring that individuals possess basic rights—including the right to not be abused or tortured, and the right to a healthy and safe home and community.

At Phoenix Zones Initiative, we aim to:

Help expand rights for the most vulnerable.

We advocate for bringing the US into alignment with the global community’s acceptance of certain human rights; for example, through US ratification of the 1990 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Since Somalia’s ratification of the Convention in 2015, the US remains the only member of the United Nations that has not yet ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

We also advocate for formal recognition of the basic rights of animals.


Ensure public health priorities reflect the rights of the most vulnerable.

We advocate for further development and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals so that they reflect basic principles of justice for people and animals.

We also push for multilateral agencies and international frameworks such as the One Health concept to better address the need for ecological justice and the right to health.


Affirm and ensure the right to a healthy and safe home and environment.

Communities should be constructed to encourage vitality, ethical and sustainable productivity, and happiness. We advocate for better urban and rural planning and for more ambitious international frameworks that acknowledge the right to a healthy and safe home, community, and environment.


Read more about our work for children and animals, and our work to advance the links between the rights, health, and wellbeing of people, animals, and the planet.

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