Against the backdrop of a year of unprecedented climate-linked natural disasters, the UN climate talks known as COP-17 were kicked off this week in Durban, South Africa. While the U.S. State Department delegation will be pushing a corporate agenda that benefits the 1% through commodifying land, water and forests, at the same time a growing international climate justice movement is organizing actions world-wide.
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, a national network of community-base organizations, together with La Via Campesina, an international movement of farmers and farworkers worldwide, are mobilizing on December 3, 2011 to create “1000 Durbans for Climate Justice” to connect local issues to negotiations in Durban.
“We are mobilizing to denounce quick fix solutions being promoted by governments and corporations – like carbon markets, REDD++, and geo-engineering – all of which are just creative ways for corporations to continue profiting at the expense of the people and Mother Earth. As people who are stewards of the land, feeding the world’s people, we can’t stand by as our ecosystems are destroyed for corporate greed,” said Dena Hoff, a Montana family farmer of the National Family Farm Coalition and La Via Campesina.
Actions in 17 cities are bringing home the climate issues being negotiated in Durban. On December 2, Native American Tribal Leaders connected with the Indigenous Environmental Network will meet with President Obama in Washington DC to say “No” to the Keystone XL Pipeline, and present him with the Mother Earth Accord. First nations and family farmers have been leading the struggle to oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline proposed to move crude tar sand oil 1,700 miles through tribal lands and communities stretching from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. And on December 5, La Via Campesina and Grassroots Global Justice Alliance will present the State Department with a petition signed by over 3,000 supporters calling on them to to “Deny, Don’t just delay the Keystone XL Pipeline.”
“The need to protect our sources of clean water, to fight for stabilizing climate change, and to say “No” to corporate polluters setting the agenda in Washington is now. We must not let up. The struggle for environmental and economic justice - for energy and climate justice - and the fight for Native Treaty Rights must continue.” said Indigenous Environmental Network leader Tom Goldtooth.
Other planned actions are taking place in Chicago, Oakland, New York, Providence, Los Angeles, Burlington, Twin Cities, Detroit, Albuquerque, San Antonio, Montana, El Paso and Virginia. Communities will hold teach-ins, community gatherings and actions targeting polluters and carbon trading, and will highlight community solutions that cool the planet. Carlos Marentes of the Border Agricultural Workers Project explains, “While governments sit and debate solutions which won’t address the climate crisis, the activities and rallies being planned across the U.S. and globally are lifting up local struggles from climate and environmental justice, showing that the people hold the real solutions.”
* Burlington, VT: James Haslam, Vermont Workers Center (802) 272-0882
* Chicago, IL: John E. Peck, Family Farm Defenders (608) 345-3918 and
Raquel Nunez, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (773) 341-6459
* Detroit, MI: Ife Kilimanjaro, East Michigan Environmental Action Coalition (248) 258-5188
* El Paso, TX: Carlos Marentes, Border Ag Workers Project (915) 532-0921
* Los Angeles, CA: Sunyoung Yang, Labor/Community Strategy Center & Bus Riders Union, (213)618-2851 and Isella Ramirez, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, (323)854-1857
* Montana: Dena Hoff, La Via Campesina (406) 687-3645
* New York, NY: Helena Wong, CAAAV (212) 473-6485
* Oakland, CA: Nile Malloy, Communities for a Better Environment (510) 926-5737
* Providence, RI & Worcester, MA: Dania Flores, Direct Action for Rights and Equality (508) 322-8277 and Matt Feinstein (508) 335-7783
* Twin Cities, MN: Shalini Gupta, Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy (612) 276-5632
* Washington, DC: Clayton Thomas-Muller, Indigenous Environmental Network (613) 297-7515
* Virginia: Rishi Awatramani, Virginia New Majority (510) 520-6449