Grassroots Global Justice Alliance is a national alliance of grassroots organizations building a popular movement for peace, democracy and a sustainable world. GGJ is in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this week with a delegation of 16 leaders of grassroots organizations from impacted communities in the US to call out the false solutions to the economic and ecological crises at the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development.
We call on the US government to take a stand against the worst tendencies of “Green Capitalism” and the “Greed Economy,” and instead invest in solutions to the root causes of the ecological and economic crises that put our communities to work, cool the planet, and transition to local economies.
We have five demands:
1. Stop destructive climate projects and unsustainable energy developments including the Canadian Tar Sands, the proposed TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline, and proposed oil drilling in the off-shore Outer Continental Shelf areas of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas of Alaska.
“The Canadian Tar Sands has allowed the Indigenous peoples of Canada to become economic hostages. We have inherent Constitutionally Protected Rights that say we can always go to the land to hunt, fish, and forage; however, we are being deliberately ignored by the industry and by our Governments. The US has an obligation to ensure they participate in ethical protocols and procedures. Supporting an industry that is displacing a people and desecrating their lands is not acceptable! — Crystal Lameman, Indigenous Environmental Network, Beaver Lake Cree Nation in Northeast Alberta, Canada.
2. Reject REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and other carbon offset models as the pillar of the Green Economy that furthers the privatization of Nature and displaces indigenous communities.
“REDD programs (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) are nothing more than a land-grab scheme aimed at privatizing the forests of over 60 million indigenous peoples in the global south. This scandalous carbon market regime will only provide a financial mechanism for the robber barons like the World Bank and Big Oil to continue to operate their business as usual. Indigenous peoples and forest-dwelling people are the true caretakers of the forests and should hold the main responsibility for the well-being of Mother Earth.” — Clayton Thomas-Mueller, Indigenous Environmental Network, of the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation also known as Pukatawagan in Northern Manitoba, Canada.
3. End the Era of Extreme Energy: Create just transition pathways out of resource and carbon-intensive industries such as fossil fuels, waste incineration, biomass energy, nuclear power, and industrial agriculture.
“The global 1% strategy to cutting emission is like U.S. health care reform, some people have it and millions don’t. We need to have universal strategies that cut climate emissions in our own backyard instead of trying to sell it somewhere else. We can’t play chess with our children’s health or with the health of the planet. This will create local jobs, cut emissions at home and reduce the IV bag of fossil fuels and corporate control that is stuck in the arm the of the United Nations.” — Nile Malloy, Communities for a Better Environment, Richmond, CA
4. Commit to reducing emissions by 90% from 1990 levels by 2050.
“The US is responsible for 50% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and is historically the most responsible overall for the climate crisis. In Los Angeles, with over 10 million people in the county and 7.5 million vehicles, the Bus Riders Union’s demand of cutting the amount of cars in half would be a huge contribution to the overall reduction to the US greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. Los Angeles boasts the worst air quality in the nation. Cleaning up LA’s lethal air is both a public health and a climate justice necessity. Last year, we won bus-only lanes in the densest corridor in the county. These kinds of restrictions on automobiles while prioritizing public transportation will get us closer to climate justice for our communities.” — Francisca Porchas: Bus Riders Union, Los Angeles
5. Commit to full-scale investment in inclusive Zero Waste systems, with a transition goal for 2040.
“My name is Monica and I am a member of the Brazilian National Waste Pickers Movement (Movimento Nacional dos Catadores de Materiais Recicláveis). I have been a waste picker ever since I was a child. In 2009, we discovered that they wanted to build a waste incinerator in São Bernando. The incinerator was proposed for an area were there are a lot of rivers which are the water supply for a large part of the region, so we saw that the environmental impact was huge. Incineration really affects waste pickers socially, environmentally, and economically. It essentially burns recyclable materials that we as a society benefit from and we as recyclers earn our living from. We now have a lawsuit against the incinerator. We also realize that you can’t just have a lawsuit, you also have to a huge social mobilization. I believe that we, the people, must not give up. We must continue in the struggle. Especially because we are fighting for the planet, and for future generations.” – Maria Monica Da Silva, Movimento Nacional dos Catadores de Materiais Recicláveis, Brazil