Whether or not you are in New York City this weekend for all of the climate change activities, it is important to take note of the Climate Convergence Conference that will take place starting Friday 19 September, and running through the weekend.
The stated purpose of the Climate Convergence Conference is to “explore the root causes behind our climate crisis and to strengthen movements for a world where people, peace, and planet come first”.
On Saturday, at St. John’s University 51 Astor Place, Room 110 in Manhattan, our GJEP and The Campaign to STOP GE Trees partner and collaborator and Biofuelwatch co-director, Dr. Rachel Smolker, Petermann, and Jeff Conant, will conduct a Land, Energy and the Green Economy Workshop, 2:15-3:45pm.
Chris Hedges posted a new piece at Truthdig yesterday, “The last Gasp of the Climate Change Liberals.”Besides getting directly to the point of the critiques associated with the September 21 Climate March, he gives a little love to Climate Connections founder and Global Justice Ecology Project’s Executive Director, Anne Petermann. This is a most important piece. Please read it.
June 25, 2013, President Barack Obama wipes perspiration from his face as he speaks about climate change at Georgetown University in Washington. Courtesy TruthDig-AP Photo/Charles Dharpak
The upcoming climate change march in New York is the last gasp of conventional liberalism. The time for reform and accommodation has ended. We will build a radical movement or be extinguished in a climate inferno.
The climate change march in New York on Sept. 21, expected to draw as many as 200,000 people, is one of the last gasps of conventional liberalism’s response to the climate crisis. It will take place two days before the actual gathering of world leaders in New York called by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the November 2015 U.N. Climate Conference in Paris. The marchers will dutifully follow the route laid down by the New York City police. They will leave Columbus Circle, on West 59th Street and Eighth Avenue, at 11:30 a.m. on a Sunday and conclude on 11th Avenue between West 34th and 38th streets. No one will reach the United Nations, which is located on the other side of Manhattan, on the East River beyond First Avenue—at least legally. There will be no speeches. There is no list of demands. It will be a climate-themed street fair.
Global Justice Ecology Project partners with KPFK Pacifica’s Sojourner Truth show on weekly Earth Minutes and Earth Watch interviews. GJEP ED Anne Petermann writes and records the weekly Earth Minutes.
On July 21st, the Russian government accused EcoDefense, one of the oldest environmental groups in Russia, of being a “foreign agent,” effectively criminalizing their environmental and social justice work. I have long been familiar with the important work of EcoDefense, since meeting them at a meeting they hosted in Kaliningrad in 1995.
The motivations for Russia’s repressive move is likely due to the effective campaigns of EcoDefense since even before the collapse of the Soviet Union, when EcoDefense was occupying smoke stacks to protest polluting industries. The accusation against EcoDefense comes now likely due to their campaign against a Baltic nuclear plant under construction near Kaliningrad.
Friends of the Earth France has demanded Russia drop their persecution of EcoDefense, pointing out that protesting nuclear power is a democratic right.
They want Russia to remove Ecodefense from the “foreign agent” roster, repeal the related “foreign agent” law, and to respect the civil and democratic rights of Russian citizens advocating for social and environmental justice.
For the Earth Minute and the Sojourner Truth show, this is Anne Petermann from Global Justice Ecology Project.
Orin Langelle, director of Langelle Photography, a project of the Global Justice Ecology Project, has been shooting images from the front lines of international social and climate justice events and protests for decades. As a concerned photographer and Missouri native, he is especially moved by the riots, protests and police brutality erupting in Ferguson, MO. The situation reminds him of a demonstration at the National Governors’ Association Conference in Burlington, VT, in 1995.
Two protesters are arrested attempting to blockade President Bill Clinton’s motorcade during the National Governors’ Association Conference in Burlington, VT in 1995. They were protesting to draw attention to the impending execution of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Langelle will soon open a new gallery, ¡Buen Vivir! in Buffalo, NY, featuring images he has taken from the front lines of the fight against social and environmental injustice. Read his original post here.
In this update from her previous piece about the march, Petermann points out that many climate action contexts promote strategies and actions on climate change that “include many ‘solutions’ debunked as false by the global climate justice movement, including carbon capture and storage, and other technologies that allow business as usual to bounce happily along while the planet slowly burns.”
In New York City on September 21st, a major climate march is planned. It will take place two days before UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s UN Climate Summit–a one-day closed door session where the world’s “leaders” will discuss “ambitions” for the upcoming climate conference (COP20) in Lima Peru.
350.org and Avaaz originally called for the march, but environmental and climate justice organizations and alliances based in the New York/New Jersey region and across the US demanded (and won) a seat at the organizing table to attempt to ensure that the voices of front line and impacted communities are heard.
So, what are the demands of the march? There are none. That’s right. The march will simply bring together an estimated 200,000 people to march through the streets of New York and then…
There will be no rally, no speakers, and no strong political demands. Just people showing up with the overarching message that the world’s leaders should take action on climate change. Why no solid demands? I’ve been informed by organizers that the reason this march is being held with no actual demands is because we need a big tent.
But this tent is so big that it even includes organizations that support fracking and the tar sands gigaproject. Yup, they’re in the tent, too. Call me crazy, but I think that tent is too damn big.
According to some of the organizers, as long as everyone agrees that climate action is needed, then it’s all good. But are all climate actions created equal? No.
Yesterday, about 80 activists formed a blockade to halt construction of a tar sands strip mine in the Book Cliffs of eastern Utah. The mine is being built by US Oil Sands, a Canadian company, and would be the first in the US. The action was led by the Climate Justice Summer Camp, which was holding a two-week direct action camp nearby.
The mine is located on traditional Ute hunting lands and in the Colorado River Basin, which provides drinking water to 40 million people. As Peaceful Uprising argues,
Tar sands and oil shale mining and refining, if allowed to begin in the U.S., would rob us of our water rights. The Colorado’s flow is diminishing, not increasing, and these mining and refining processes require massive amounts of water. This inescapable reality would cause widespread conflicts over water, as water rights were seized from farmers and communities. We will not allow tar sands and oil shale profiteers to seize the water that rightfully belongs to everyone.
By Anne Petermann, Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project, from the Venezuela Social Pre-COP
Today’s blog post is not addressing directly what is happening here in Venezuela at the SocialPreCOP, but something on the minds of many people here–the next step in the series of climate meetings/actions this year. That is the upcoming climate march planned for New York City on September 21st, two days before UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s UN Climate Summit–a closed door session where the world’s “leaders” will discuss “ambitions” for the upcoming climate conference (COP20) in Lima, Peru. Part of the objective of the Venezuelan government at this SocialPreCOP meeting is to come away with a set of demands from people gathered here that they can take to this exclusive summit.
The September climate march was called for by Big Green NGOs 350.org and Avaaz, who have thrown copious quantities of cash at it. But many environmental and climate justice organizations and alliances based in the New York/New Jersey region and across the US have demanded a seat at the organizing table to ensure that the voices of front line and impacted communities are heard, despite their small budgets.
The demands of the march: there will be none. That’s right. The march will simply bring together an estimated 200,000 people to march through the streets of New York and then… There will be no rally, no speakers, no strong political demands. Just people showing up with the overarching message that the world’s leaders should take action on climate change.
What kind of climate action should be taken is a question that has long been debated by climate justice activists, organizations, social movements and Indigenous Peoples all over the world for decades. “Climate action” can include things like geoengineering schemes–manmade manipulations of nature on such a massive scale that the impacts can’t possibly be known, but could definitely be catastrophic. They can also include actions already taking place, such as the building of vast hydroelectric dams that flood vast expanses of land and displace thousands of Indigenous Peoples or land-based communities. Climate action can also include ongoing grabbing of land for the development of vast plantations of oil palm, GMO soy or non-native trees for so-called bioenergy.
So no, not all “climate action” is good. A lack of clear justice-based and ecologically sound demands in this “historic” march will leave a vacuum. And no vacuum remains empty for long. It’s simple physics. The media will not cover a march with no demands. They will find a message. And likely, as so often happens, those with the connections and the money will win the messaging game.