Then what does the future hold if we don’t drastically and immediately change course? The climate fight can’t be delayed. Catch a glimpse of what climate change in 2013 looked like:
Thanks to our friends at NRDC!
President Obama has new neighbors.
This morning, led by 24 riders on horseback, the Cowboy Indian Alliance officially opened the Reject and Protect tipi camp on the National Mall. Surrounded by tribal flags, flags flying the family brands of Nebraska ranchers, (and dozens of reporters from media sources of every kind) they rode onto the National Mall to protest the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline passing through their land.
Here’s what it looked like:
Here’s a bit more about what happened today:
The day started with lighting a fire that will burn at the center of camp throughout the entire week. Everyone then walked to the Capitol Reflecting Pool, where the Alliance was welcomed to DC by Piscataway tribal leaders, whose traditional land DC is located within.
After water fresh from the Ogallala aquifer — which Keystone XL would cross, and pollute — was poured into the reflecting pool, we marched to the tipi camp to raise the final tipi, led in a procession by tribal officials and all 24 riders.
This is just the beginning. From now until Sunday, Cowboy Indian Alliance members and allies will be holding demonstrations, ceremonies and educational events to tell President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.
Keystone XL would carry 830,000 barrels a day of the world’s dirtiest oil, pumping dozens of coal plants worth of carbon pollution into the air. I can think of no better way to spend Earth Day than with this powerful alliance who have travelled so far to tell President Obama to stop this pipeline once and for all.
I can’t wait to see everyone together this Saturday the 26th at 11 AM — if today was any indication, this will be an event of particular power and importance.
See you soon,
Guest post from Ashlan Runyan, First Year, Seattle University
This past Monday, Sustainable Student Action (SSA) – the student environmental group at Seattle University working on divestment – held a rally with over 125 students and community members in attendance.
That sentence continues to blow me away as a speaker at the rally, a member of SSA and a student at Seattle University. The rally was held in response to the official no to divestment received six weeks ago by our administration. We are by no means taking no for an answer and we needed a way to tell them that in a big way, one that would also bring the larger community together so that in one voice we could remind them that we are committed to divest. This Monday, we certainly succeeded in doing that.
The no that Seattle University has received from our administration is wildly contradictory to the mission of our school, especially one so connected to the Catholic Church. We are supposed to be an institution rooted in social justice and the creation of a “just and humane world” and, simply put, rejecting divestment rejects this sort of world. Saying no to divestment and no to the political and moral statement that this action would make is, in many ways, saying no to the world we want to see, the world we need to see. My university has taught me to work tirelessly for a world that is truly sustainable and just, meaning a world that includes economic justice, racial justice, and climate justice. The intersectionality of divestment is something that is essentially written into the mission statement of our university. The support at the rally from our community reminded me in a very tangible way that the people working directly on divestment are not the only people who realize this. We all see it. We all know that divestment must happen. We all know that this conversation is far from over and that there is an incredible amount of work to be done.
I know that divestment is possible, it has to be. I know that the world needs to change and that we cannot wait. The urgency of it all is energizing and motivating, but in light of a “no”, it can also be incredibly daunting. Even then, we cannot allow the no’s that our administrations have given us, instead we must maintain a posture of hope and dedication. As Bill Moyer, co-founder of Backbone Campaign and speaker at the rally, said, “We are co-creators of this universe and we need to be co-authors of this world and that’s what we’re doing as a divestment campaign, we are authoring the future.” This action was essential in re-grounding our movement in collaboration, solidarity, energy and hope for a world that we know needs to exist.
The post FOR A JUST AND HUMANE WORLD: Seattle University Continues to Work for Divestment appeared first on Fossil Free.
At the end of 2012, I spoke of faith at the NZ-Pacific Power Shift. I talked about a few things but it was my mentioning of faith that copped me some criticism in a survey of participants that stood out for me. And it hurt. It was only one or two comments from a largely positive reaction but it’s the bad things about you that you remember, right?
At the time, this made me question my place in the climate movement: can someone with faith in God be part of a climate change movement – which is derived by proven scientific fact? I was new to the climate movement – a baby climate activist – so I took this knock-back fairly hard as I was trying to connect to my new passion and if it rejected one of the core aspects of my being, would it reject the other important part? My culture?
Well I decided it couldn’t ignore either.
Pacific people are at the front line of climate change – MY people are at the front line and we are all the same. Our faith and our culture go hand-in-hand and climate change is just as much our problem as it is for the rest of the world. Therefore, embarking on this Pacific Climate Warrior journey, it was important that we made this clear in our trainings – that our values and beliefs were important in this fight.
When we talk about “building a grassroots movement to fight the climate crisis”, grassroots means exactly that – people who are working to cultivate the land in villages and the provinces who have no political affiliations or anything to do with the large corporations of “Super Power” nations. People who just live every day working the land to provide for their families and whose existence depends on respecting the harmony between their environments, land and ocean.
What enables them to have that balance is their faith and culture.
What I have learned during these trainings is sobering. Pacific people are wise to the fact that while big consuming nations provide aid money to assist in adaptation and mitigation work in the Islands, they know a large percentage is returned to donor countries in “consultation” fees before, if any, is spent on the real need. What’s the point? Besides giving donor countries the opportunity to pat themselves on the back for “doing their bit”, it doesn’t really serve the people of the Pacific who suffer the injustices of a problem that they have not created.
In the Solomon Islands, one of the participants said that the biggest problem was that leaders were not taking it seriously enough. I couldn’t agree more. One of the things I have asked myself again and again is how do we make climate change just as important as religion and sport? I keep coming to same conclusion. It has to start at the top – and if that isn’t happening, then the people have to demand it.
So we are encouraging our people to demand it. We are planning extreme measures because we are in extreme times. The plans that the Pacific Warriors have for the coming year have been met with wide-eyed shock – but end with resounding excitement. There is a growing belief and resolve that what we are doing is not only possible, but necessary. None of that has stemmed from the findings of the IPCC or scientific fact etc. – although it’s a very important part of the puzzle.
Rather, it has come from a place of a deep love and care for their people and their homelands. At one of my first Pacific workshops in Wellington, a Samoan girl brought her two young siblings who were no older than six years of age. They joined in the workshop with everyone else and when given the opportunity to share their thoughts, the younger of the two sisters said “I want to do what I can to save my Pacific Island.” While she was born and raised in Wellington – like me – she, too, has inherited the love that we have for our cultural heritage.
With every training I have been a part of, we have begun and ended with prayer. Faith – of any denomination – binds us together. It is what we lean on in times of hardship and it is God whom we give glory and thanks for the strength to withstand the impacts of climate change in the Pacific. While I was raised in the Catholic faith, in the past 10 years I have become more spiritually open, acknowledging that fundamentally, Pacific people share a belief in the Almighty regardless of the way in which we practice.
I believe that without faith, I would not be able to have a genuine connection with those I have met along this journey. I have drawn strength from it at times when I have felt alone or weary, but more importantly it has enabled me to have the boldness to stand before our people and be real about climate change and the cost that it will incur on our future generations. It has eased my fears and frustrations and keeping God at the centre of this work, has given me strength to do things I never thought I was capable of.
In the next phase of our work, my faith is also a big driver. In tackling the issue of climate change for the Pacific, our area of focus is in our region – our neighbour who contributes so greatly to the threat. The Australian fossil fuel industry is profiting from the demise of the Pacific Islands. Being the world’s largest coal exporter feels like Australia is giving the Pacific a big middle finger. The Solomon Islands suffered flash floods last week and while here, I watched a piece on the news of some Australian secretary or other in the Solomon’s making the announcement that they would be giving $3 million dollars in aid because “the Solomon Islands is a good friend to Australia”.
This was followed by what I felt was a condescending comment about how the Solomon’s was such a resilient people. It was an embarrassment and came across as shameless self-promotion. That amount is appalling in comparison to the billions in profit that the Australian fossil fuel industry will make in 2014. I can no longer stand the phrase “Australia is the big brother to the Pacific” because big brothers usually act as protectors to their younger siblings – not participate in activities that bring them serious harm. The Australian government’s denial of climate change is hurting the Pacific Islands fight for climate justice and it cannot continue.
Our Pacific Climate Warriors in Fiji, Samoa, Tokelau, Nauru, Vanuatu, Tonga, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, American Samoa, Tuvalu, Palau and the Marshall Islands are preparing to send a message to the Australia fossil fuel industry that will be clear and difficult to ignore.
We will continue to reach out to other Pacific nations to join us and will be supported by friends and allies in Australia, New Zealand and around the world. It will be a bold and impassioned plea that will embody all the positive and peaceful attributes of true Pacific Warrior traditions. Our people ARE resilient but they are also fiercely protective and willing to do all they can to protect and preserve all that we hold dear – our land, our ocean and our future generations.
Being able to journey through the Pacific to roll out the Pacific Warrior trainings has been very humbling and a great honour. Travelling to Istanbul for Global Power Shift (GPS) last year and sharing our story with people working for climate justice all over the world was an absolute privilege. Being the Pacific coordinator for 350.org is a huge responsibility and I take none of the opportunities I have had for granted.
I stand shoulder to shoulder with friends and colleagues throughout the world fighting for climate justice in their own regions. Sharing that connection with our Pacific Warriors fills them with a stronger sense of pride, that we are not only doing this for the Pacific, but contributing to a truly global movement. But it also reminds us that this is something that we cannot do alone. To be successful, we need to work with everyone fighting this global climate crisis and share ideas, action plans, triumphs and trials because one size does not fit all.
What is working for us here in the Pacific may not work for those in Europe or in the USA but it might be useful to another country like the Philippines or India. The climate change movement has had to make a cultural shift because it runs the risk of excluding vulnerable at-risk communities who are desperately in need of support if it doesn’t. This has been the strength of 350.org – championing a climate movement that is culturally diverse and enabling us here in the Pacific to fight the climate crisis in a way that makes sense and is genuine, focussing on what is important to our people. And this has given rise to something very powerful. Hope.
***Koreti Tuimalu is the 350.org Pacific Coordinator***
Today’s Keystone XL news from DC is both important and murky. In brief, the Obama administration announced yet another delay in their decision about the pipeline, meaning it may be past the midterm elections before a final call is made.
Three things strike me:
- In pipeline terms it’s a win. Every day we delay a decision is a day when 830,000 barrels of oil stays safely in the ground. Together we’ve kept them at bay for three years now, and will continue to until perhaps the beginning of next year it seems.
- In climate terms, it’s a disappointment. Since the State Department can’t delay floods and droughts and El Ninos, we actually need President Obama providing climate leadership. If he’d just follow the science and reject the stupid pipeline he’d finally send a much-needed signal to the rest of the planet that he’s getting serious.
- In movement terms, it’s a sweet reminder that when we stand up we win. Three years ago this pipeline was a done deal, and thanks to you it’s come steadily undone. We can’t match Exxon or the Koch Bros with money; we can and have matched them with passion, spirit, creativity, and sacrifice.
So the Keystone fight goes on — we hope many of you will be in DC next weekend for Reject and Protect, joining the Cowboy Indian Alliance to say “hell no” to the pipeline.The Alliance members coming to DC next week are some of the strongest leaders in this fight.
If you can’t be there yourself, can you show your support for the Cowboy Indian Alliance by telling Pres. Obama and Sec. Kerry to use this delay to meet with them? act.350.org/sign/cowboy-indian-alliance/
The decision to delay was made — supposedly — account for the impact of a possible new pipeline route in Nebraska. As it happens, next week Nebraskans and members of US Tribes and Canadian First Nations will be in Washington — it seems to me that it would be prudent for the President and Sec. Kerry to make plans to meet with the Cowboy Indian Alliance at their encampment and get their story of what this pipeline would mean on the ground.
The climate fight can’t be delayed. We need to keep building the movement, and we need to keep putting heat on leaders like President Obama till we win not delay but action. Today’s DC decision just reinforces the message that if we stand together we will make a decisive difference — and there is an important opportunity on the horizon to do that in the biggest way yet, to be announced soon.
The last thing to say is thank you. You are the strength in this movement, and together we will make even more amazing things possible.
Bill McKibben for 350.org
“Keystone Decision to be Delayed” USA Today, April 18 2014.
A film documenting the David and Goliath struggle between BP and the oystermen of Pointe a la Hache premiers in theaters today. Watch the trailer below:
Via African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM)
Dear friends, I will keep this short, as the image below speaks for itself. Share this infographic on Facebook. Share this infographic on Twitter. Global Power Shift is scaling up the climate movement in an unprecedented way – it is sparking climate action all over the world. After our massive gathering in Istanbul last year… Read more »
從國家領袖會議到數個月的行動，這些團隊正在他們所在的地區，建立創新、大膽的氣候行動。他們揭漏化石燃料公司的計畫，並向他們的領導人施壓、採取行動。他們正在促進和實行乾淨、可再生的能源，從前線的社區開始強調氣候變遷的影響。他們正在與優秀的合作夥伴，為了應對氣候變遷，討論有效並有規劃的訴求。但最重要的是 - 他們有著氣候變遷的領導力和轉移的力量！
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Global Power Shift umacnia ruch na rzecz ochrony klimatu w bezprecedensowy sposób – inicjując działania na rzecz ochrony klimatu na całym świecie.
Po naszym wielkim spotkaniu w Stambule w ubiegłym roku, gdzie szkoliliśmy młodych aktywistów w zakresie oddolnej demokracji i aktywizmu na rzecz klimatu, tysiące młodych ludzi wzięło udział w lokalnych imprezach, zorganizowało mobilizacje i zainicjowało kampanie mające na celu zwalczanie kryzysu klimatycznego w wielu krajach — Australia, Ukraina, Kanada, Wietnam, Francja, Kenia, Filipiny, Brazylia, Egipt, Chiny i Indie to tylko niektóre z nich. Ale to jeszcze nie koniec – na najbliższe miesiące zaplanowane są kolejne Power Shifts Kliknij, aby zobaczyć, co wspaniałego szykują poszczególne zespoły.
Od narodowych spotkań na szczycie, po miesiące poświęcone akcjom, praca tych zespołów to ucieleśnienie innowacyjnego, śmiałego regionalnego aktywizmu na rzecz klimatu. Obnażają korporacje przemysłu paliw kopalnych i zmuszają przywódców do podejmowania poważnych działań. Promują i pomagają korzystać z czystej energii odnawialnej oraz angażują najbardziej dotknięte społeczności i pokazują wpływ takich zmian na klimat. Współpracują z doświadczonymi partnerami i tworzą skuteczne, dobrze skoordynowane kampanie, mające na celu walkę ze zmianami klimatu. Ale przede wszystkim – obejmują przywództwo w sprawie klimatu i dokonują zmian układu sił!
Pozostaje wiele do zrobienia, a przed nami z pewnością jeszcze wiele mocnych i inspirujących kampanii na całym świecie. Ale dotychczasowy rozwój Global Power Shift cieszy nas tak bardzo, że chcieliśmy się podzielić z wami tą radością. Może Ty również pokażesz tę grafikę swoim przyjaciołom?
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ich werde mich kurz halten, da das Bild unten schon alles sagt.
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Global Power Shift ruft Klima-Aktionen in aller Welt ins Leben und weitet die Klimabewegung aus wie nie zuvor.
Nach unserem riesigen Treffen letztes Jahr in Istanbul, bei dem führende, junge Aktivisten mehr über Graswurzel- und Klima-Aktivismus lernen konnten, haben tausende junge Menschen bei regionalen Veranstaltungen mitgemacht, Aktionen organisiert und Kampagnen gestartet, um die Klimakrise in einem Land nach dem anderen zu bekämpfen – Australien, die Ukraine, Kanada, Vietnam, Frankreich, Kenia, die Philippinen, Brasilien, Ägypten, China und Indien sind nur einige davon. Und wir sind noch nicht fertig – es sind noch mehr Power Shifts für die kommenden Monate geplant! Schaue dir diese beeindruckende Zeitleiste an, um herauszufinden, was die Teams planen.
Von nationalen Gipfeltreffen zu Monaten voller Aktionen bauen diese Teams innovativen, mutigen Klima-Aktivismus in ihren Regionen auf. Sie führen die fossilen Brennstoffunternehmen regelrecht vor und drängen ihre Politiker zu einem entschiedenen Vorgehen. Sie setzen sich für saubere, erneuerbare Energien ein. Dabei beziehen sie direkt betroffene Gemeinden mit ein und heben die Auswirkungen auf das Klima hervor. Sie kooperierenmit befreundeten Partneren und Gruppen und entwerfen effektive Kampagnen, um den Klimawandel anzugehen. Aber vor allem nehmen sie das Klima in ihre Hand und verschieben die Machtverhältnisse!
Es gibt immer noch viel zu tun und wir werden sicher noch von vielen starken und inspirierenden Kampagnen überall auf dem Planeten hören. Aber weil es uns so begeistert, wie sich Global Power Shift schon bisher entwickelt hat, wollten wir die Neuigkeiten mit euch teilen.
Kannst du diese Infografik auch mit deinen Freunden teilen?
This guest article by Greenpeace Russia continues the discovery of front-line indigenous communities resisting to fossil fuel giants in order to protect their unique identities and precious nature. Determination showed by Komi can mark a revival of Russia’s protest movement, an expert says.
On April 11th the municipal council of Izhma district of Komi region in the North-East of Russia supported claims of local community and voted to stop oil company Lukoil operations in the area. The councilors ask to stop all industrial activities until requirements of locals are fulfilled: the company is held liable for the previous oil spills and legitimate public hearings are organized to discuss expanding of Lukoil’s operations in the district.
Izhma district is located on the bank of Pechora River running into the Arctic Ocean. Lukoil enjoys a monopoly in these subarctic areas. Most of its population is indigenous Komi people – an ethnic group uniting some 200,000 people in north-east of European Russia, belonging to Shamanic and Christian, namely Old Believers, beliefs. Komi-Izhemtsy form a sub-group in Izhma district, known for their well-preserved reindeer husbandry tradition. For many decades, they earned their living from traditional activities: fishing, berries, reindeer herding, hunting, gardening, milk farming. Now all these activities are under threat: the area becomes so heavily polluted with toxic oil products that cows and reindeers get poisoned and fish intoxicated.
Unfortunately, the voting which took place in Izhma, has no legal force, unless the claims are supported by federal environmental authorities (Rosprirodnadzor) – if this happens, Lukoil risks losing its license for drilling in the area.
But it’s an unprecedented event for Russia: “We witness a historical event that could give new spirit to Russian civil society in people’s fight for their rights”, says Vladimir Chuprov, energy expert at Greenpeace Russia.
Before, on March 30th, 150 residents from 13 different villages at a meeting in the Izhma district unanimously voted for a resolution demanding that Lukoil-Komi should leave the district. Lukoil managers were invited too, but failed to appear.
People are outraged with multiple violations of environmental laws by the company and its disregard to the interests of local population. The participants compiled a long list of claims to Lukoil during the meeting.
Here are just a few examples of why the local residents are now ready to kick the company out of the district:
- In February 2014 the villagers of Krasnobor woke up to find that Lukoil had started constructing four new oil wells just 200 meters next to their community, in the forest where they used to collect berries and mushrooms. The community had never been given any notice of the work, much less been invited to any negotiations with the company.
- In March 2014 Lukoil tried to clean spilled oil by burning it, which caused heavy air pollution. “For two days after the accident we could see black smoke from 10 kilometers distance”, – claim locals.
During 16 years in the district, Lukoil earned billions polluting the water, poisoning many hectares of swamps and forests. People complain that the cases of cancers became more frequent, three men died of cancer during the previous week alone.
“We have to live on the disposal dump of oil industry” – say locals. “We can’t even sell our houses and move away, because they cost nothing”. Even though Lukoil’s oil business is very profitable, the locals live in poverty, as the company prefers not to employ them and pays little attention to local social issues.
Lukoil is listed among top 50 global energy corporations responsible for climate change. It is responsible for 3.87 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions till year 2010, according the recent research by Climate Accountability Institute.
The situation’s unfolding is hardly predictable. “It’s very likely that oilmen and the authorities will try to tighten the screw on environmentalists and human rights organizations”, – warns Chuprov. “But it won’t solve the problem for them. Sooner or later, Lukoil will have to change its politics. The same holds true for Rosneft, Gazprom and other fossil fuel companies”.
P.S. If you’d like to follow up with the Komi and help them hold Lukoil accountable, please get in touch with us by e-mail Yuliya [@] 350.org.
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I will keep this short, as the image below speaks for itself.
Global Power Shift is scaling up the climate movement in an unprecedented way – it is sparking climate action all over the world.
After our massive gathering in Istanbul last year to train young leaders in grassroots and climate activism, thousands of youth have joined regional events, organised mobilisations and launched campaigns to fight the climate crisis in country after country — Australia, Ukraine, Canada, Vietnam, France, Kenya, Philippines, Brazil, Egypt, China and India are just some of them. And we’re not done yet — more Power Shifts are planned for the coming months! Check this awesome timeline to see what the teams are up to.
From national summits to months of action, these teams are building innovative, bold climate activism in their regions. They are exposing fossil fuel corporations and pressuring their leaders to take serious action. They are promoting and implementing clean, renewable energy, reaching and engaging frontline communities, and highlighting climate impacts. They’re working with well established partners and articulating effective, coordinated campaigns to tackle climate change. But most of all — they’re taking climate leadership and shifting the power!
There’s still a lot to do and we’re certainly going to see many powerful, inspiring campaigns sparking across the planet. But we are so excited about how Global Power Shift is moving so far that we wanted to share the news with you. Can you share the infographic with your friends too?
At the AGM of German energy giant RWE today, Fossil Free activists called on investors to ditch their shares in the company. The activists argued that the high risk that much of RWE’s assets will become stranded, and the company’s business model that is wrecking the climate make investments unacceptable, especially for local governments.
Fossil Free activists unfurled banners that read, “Leading the way means accepting responsibility! Divest from fossil fuels” referring to a marketing message of the corporation. They also addressed the audience with speeches and confronted the board of directors with questions. The AGM was accompanied by load protests from various civil society groups outside the venue.
RWE has seen major losses over recent years. Chairman Peter Terium admitted that this is RWE’s own fault since the company has bet on its fossil fuel portfolio for too long. RWE is the single biggest emitter of CO2 among energy giants in Europe. Almost 80% of RWE’s electricity is generated from fossil fuels, mostly coal.
RWE’s dramatic losses have hit local governments that invested in the company hard. They had to depreciate their assets by millions. It’s time for cities to divest from RWE and other fossil fuel corporations. Their public money should be invested in local, community-led renewable energy projects that will create local jobs and benefits
The post Activists call on investors to ditch shares in Europe’s biggest CO2 emitter appeared first on Fossil Free.
Last Thursday, anti-apartheid icon and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu came out with an article calling for an “apartheid-style boycott to save the planet.” Tutu says we can halt climate change if we use the tactics that worked in South Africa against the worst carbon emitters: fossil fuel companies. This was followed by news on Saturday that Pitzer College in Southern California had come up with a breakthrough climate action plan that included divesting its holdings from fossil fuels by the end of the year.
It was colleges and universities that spearheaded divestment during the apartheid era. Today, in the face of catastrophic climate change, the tactic is once again being championed by colleges and universities. Over the past two years, students on hundreds of campuses have launched campaigns demanding that our endowments no longer be invested in the fossil fuel industry. The movement has garnered success at numerous institutions and has fostered collective planning and action between campuses.
Earlier this month, from April 4 to 6, more than 200 students from across the United States and Canada gathered at San Francisco State University (SFSU) for the 2014 Fossil Fuel Divestment Convergence. It was a time for to us to dig deep, link up, and take action. These three threads were the core threads weaving through the fabric of our convergence. This gathering was second annual student-led Fossil Fuel Divestment Convergence. The first took place at Swarthmore College early last year.
Coordinated by the Fossil Fuel Divestment Network — which was formed just over a year ago as a platform for building solidarity across campuses — and the California Student Sustainability Coalition (an Earth Island Institute project), the event was organized to cultivate youth organizing capacity and leadership on climate justice. The convergence featured diverse speakers and panels on social justice and environmental and new economy communities that helped guide us as climate organizers and showed us how to challenge prevailing assumptions about the fossil fuel divestment movement. Organized around “collective liberation” and economic transformation, the convergence was testament to a new kind of momentum in the climate movement, and to the radicalizing pull of the call to divest.
Day one began with cheerful and excited young faces gathered before a stage during the welcoming ceremony. Students and recent alumni, each representing their own campaigns and strategies to address the growing climate crisis, introduced themselves to share their wisdom with one another.
The evening plenary featured an array of motivational speakers, closing with a speech by Tim DeChristopher, founder ofPeaceful Uprising. Saying that the future of young people had been put at risk for the sake of short-term profits, DeChristopher had some harsh words for the baby boomer generation, whom he called “complacent” and too vested in “compromise” over the well being of the planet and future generations. “The job of students in the climate movement is to be the uncompromising moral of truth,” he said. DeChristopher challenged the crowd to share their anger and to confront those standing in the way of climate justice. “This anger is really a manifestation of love,” he said. “Anger that something isn’t right and that we want to fix [it]”
Day two hosted hosted workshops and panels pertaining to environmental justice and solidarity organizing.
Henia Balalia, an organizer and former director of Peaceful Uprising, led a workshop rooting the climate crisis on overlapping systems of oppression. She stressed that environmental degradation was being exacerbated by existing economic, racial, and social injustices — an interconnectedness that should define our understanding of the climate crisis and our response to it. We must build movements across issues and beyond divisions based on race, class, and gender and elevate voices that have been historically marginalized. Doing so, she says, will lead to a profound “decolonization of minds and institutions.”
Bay Area activists Barnali Ghosh and Anirvan Chatterjee led a similar workshop. They stressed that the effects of climate change are global, yet profoundly unequal. Countries like Bangladesh and Maldives risk going underwater despite having contributed very little to the crisis. Ghosh and Chatterjee spent a year traveling around the world aviation-free in an effort to report on and learn more about the impacts of climate change across the world and possible solutions. Ghosh connected their and other environmentalists’ fight to curb aviation pollution to students’ divestment campaigns. Divestment challenges the “monolith” that is the fossil fuel industry, she said.
A second set of workshops featured speakers and panelists on issues pertaining to organizing strength.
Gopal Dayaneni of the justice and ecology group,Movement Generation led a workshop called “Weaving the Fabric of the Next Economy” where he challenged the framing of the divestment movement. Rather than to look to the atmosphere as the source of our troubles, we should look down at ourselves — our human labor and military-industrial complex — to understand the climate crisis, he said. “Our job is to realign our economic well being with the principles of Mother Earth,” he said. As we oppose and expose the forces that are driving climate change, our job is to make a “just transition” away from an economy based on extraction and towards ecological restoration. Dayaneni urged us to invest in an economy that is “decentralized, democratized, and diversified,” one in which consumption is reduced and wealth is redistributed.
Later in the day, Christine Cordero of the Center of Story-based Strategy led all-convergence training on narrative power analysis. Dubbed “Winning the ‘Battle of the Story’ for Climate Justice,” the training could be summed up by one line: “It’s not about what we don’t know; it’s about what we already know.”
“Humans are narrative animals,” said Cordero, who addressed the power of the stories in shaping our understanding of the world around us. People have a tendency to take what’s meaningful over hard truth. Indeed, when it comes to the climate, the reports we read or see often shroud the negative impacts to frontline communities and the threat to future generations. Cordero says understanding how to win the “battle of the story” for public opinion is critical to all our efforts as organizers, advocates and communicators to make positive change.
Day three was themed around the next steps for the divestment movement. Students divided up into affinity groups to network and strategize, with the goal of laying foundations for long-lasting networked relationships between campaigns and organizers. As the day came to a close, many left with a shared feeling of optimism.
Prianka Ball, a Bryn Mawr College student who’s originally from Bangladesh, says her experiences back home mobilized her around climate issues and led her into the fossil fuel divestment movement. Ball has previously worked with the Bangladesh Youth Environmental Initiative, a group that promotes awareness of local and global environmental issues, especially climate change adaptation, among Bangladeshi high school and university students. She said attending the convergence made her feel “more hopeful because there are other people working on the same issues as me.”
As a second-generation American whose family is from Bangladesh, I was especially moved upon learning of youth-led climate activism happening there. The efforts of Bangladeshis aren’t often heard of in the United States, even though it will be hit the hardest by the crisis.
Organizing around the looming climate crisis can be overwhelming. It can amount to days of slow, often, thankless work. Often, it feels lonesome — as though you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. But the convergence reminded us that we are not alone in this fight. It was inspiring to see so many peers organizing around similar issues across the continent and the world.
Daniel Adel, Contributor, Earth Island Journal
Daniel Adel, a former Earth Island Journal intern, is studying Environmental Studies, with concentration in Environmental Sustainability and Social Justice, at San Francisco State University.
The post A Fresh Boost of Energy for Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaigns on US Campuses appeared first on Fossil Free.
Institutional Investor magazine asks: is climate change an ethical issue or a risk management issue? And does it matter?
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Pacific Climate Warriors across the region, have begun building traditional styled canoes as part of the #StandUpForThePacific campaign being run by climate change network, 350 Pacific.
To announce the launch of the Canoe Build, the Pacific Climate Warriors chose the 12th of April as their Day of Action.
These canoes are being built with a unique purpose in mind – they will travel with the Pacific Climate Warriors on a historic journey to Australia.
In Australia, they will use the canoes to communicate their message on climate change. They will stand up peacefully but powerfully to the fossil fuel industry, in order to protect their islands in the face of climate change.
These are some of the amazing actions that took place across 12 of the Pacific Islands:
- In Vanuatu they launched the Canoe Build Project with traditional dances, dialogue on cultural values of canoe building and inter island sailing, as well as a ceremony to allow the spirits of the High Chiefs to travel with the Pacific Climate Warriors.
- In Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, The Warriors are already underway building the canoe, and are supported by the village of Enipein, Kitti who will show them the process of traditional canoe building.
- Warriors in Tonga performed the Tongan Sipi Tau (war dance) and worked with wood carvers to begin their canoe building.
- In Tokelau they called on the support of the people of Atafu, who are famous for building canoes
- In Papua New Guinea, the Climate Warriors walked through Port Moresby and raised public awareness about Climate Change, the role of the Pacific Climate Warriors in the region and how citizens could support the movement.
The #StandUpForThePacific campaign is really an opportunity to involve many young people across the region in the climate movement. It is also a very good opportunity to have young people reconnect with various elements of their culture and traditions. In this case, the traditional art of Canoe Building.
This is just one way young people can stir up the cultural and traditional warrior spirit within them, take action and be part of the solution.
Over the last few months, 350 Pacific Climate Warriors, have undergone training in leadership, climate change awareness and traditional understanding, to prepare them for the remainder of the Stand Up For The Pacific Campaign.
Countries that are part of the campaign include: Papua New Guinea, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tokelau, Niue, Cook Islands, Federated Sates of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, Tuvalu, Nauru, Kiribati and Fiji.
All photos taken by the Tar Sands Blockade (http://www.tarsandsblockade.org/).
Post written by Stephanie Thomas
On April 9th over 75 people gathered together in Houston, TX, to greet President Obama as his motorcade left a fundraiser for Democrats. We came with a purpose: to tell him to stop deportations and stop the Keystone XL Pipeline. Community members met at a busy Houston intersection at rush hour, and then we walked through the posh neighborhood of River Oaks to meet Obama with our signs and chants.
This rally brought together a variety of groups representing both immigrant rights and climate and environmental justice. Groups represented included Texas Undocumented Youth Alliance, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (t.e.j.a.s.), Houstonians Against Tar Sands, Houston NoKXL and 350.org, among others.
Walking through River Oaks, I felt a deep sense of pride in myself and those joining the protest. Here in Houston, one of the major centers of the fossil fuel industry, we offered ourselves up with our message that our continued dependence on fossil fuels is unacceptable and dirty tar sands will not be tolerated.
And the issues of deportation and the Keystone XL pipeline are not separate. As our society burns up more and more fossil fuels, we increase atmospheric CO2 and impact the climate system. Droughts, flooding, and other climate-induced natural disasters, as well as disasters caused by natural resource extraction and militarism, are bringing more and more people to the United States, to which our president has responded by increasing the number of deportations, with this administration reaching now over 2 million. Deportations divide our families: fathers and mothers separated from their partners and their children, brothers and sisters, cousins…people are being torn from their network of support, creating deep trauma in communities, done as part of a political bargaining chip.
One participant called his cousin via cellphone to share the gathering with her. She had been deported only days before the rally. The suffering caused by the separation of families through deportations was made painfully visible as he expressed his anger and frustration to the crowd.
In Texas, the southern Keystone XL pipeline has already begun to flow crude and construction is underway to build a lateral pipeline to connect refineries in Houston with the southern Keystone XL. If the northern Keystone XL pipeline is approved and built, even more dirty tar sands oil will be brought to the Houston area. Many times, the same communities already dealing with issues such as deportation must deal also with environmental pollution and air quality issues. The Keystone XL pipeline puts already vulnerable communities at an even greater risk of disease.
As the evening went on, we called upon President Obama: “Stop deportations! Stop the Keystone XL pipeline!” And as we continued, we chanted: “Deport the pipeline!”
“It does not cost the world to save the planet” — Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of the IPCC Working Group III
The Working Group III contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report released yesterday provides a comprehensive assessment of all relevant options for mitigating climate change through limiting or preventing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as activities that remove them from the atmosphere. The previous two reports outlined the underlying science and the impacts of climate change.
To avoid the worst impacts of climate change at the lowest cost, the report envisages an energy revolution ending centuries of dominance by fossil fuels.
In doing so, it clearly lends support to the growing divestment movement. It states, simply: “[M]itigation policy could devalue fossil fuel assets, and reduce revenues for fossil fuel exporters.” In other words, time to DIVEST if you haven’t already.
Just last week, Archbishop Desmond Tutu added his voice in support of the growing divestment movement and called for an anti-apartheid style campaign against fossil fuel companies, which he blames for the “injustice” of climate change.
In his words: “It makes no sense to invest in companies that undermine our future. Already some colleges and pension funds have declared that they want their investments congruent with their beliefs.”
The solutions to make the shift from fossil fuels to renewables are clear. We need to stop pumping money into a rogue industry that is determined to maximize its profits at any cost. Divestment is the means to shift investments away from coal, oil and gas companies and into a more equitable and sustainable energy economy.
Investors have scientific evidence that if you put your money into fossil fuels you are complicit in wrecking our future.
We now know that catastrophic climate change can be averted without sacrificing living standards. The IPCC WGIII report concludes the transformation required to a world of clean energy and the ditching of dirty fossil fuels is eminently affordable.
Furthermore, the report states that diverting hundreds of billions of dollars from fossil fuels into renewable energy and cutting energy waste would shave just 0.06% off expected annual economic growth rates of 1.3%-3% Moreover, the analysis did not include the benefits of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, which could outweigh the costs. The benefits include reducing air pollution and improved energy security.
Fossil fuel companies and their financiers take note: the era of fossil fuel energy is ending.