Call for Submissions–Growing the Roots to Weather the Storm—Perspectives on the UN Climate Summit and the People’s Climate March

Call for Submissions–Growing the Roots to Weather the Storm—Perspectives on the UN Climate Summit and the People’s Climate March

Last fall, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that the opening of the UN General Assembly’s 69th General Debate session would be delayed to make time for a one-day United Nations Climate Summit on September 23, 2014.  The UN Climate Summit, which is being billed as a ‘solutions-driven summit,’ is being held one year in advance of the COP21, the Paris summit where some world leaders hope to negotiate a legally binding and universal agreement on climate change.

Shortly after the announcement of the New York summit, several NGO’s most notably 350.org began calling for a mass mobilization in New York in the lead up to the UN Summit.  The mobilization, which is now known as the “People’s Climate March” is being billed as the largest climate march in history.  In the call to action for the People’s Climate March “With our future on the line and the whole world watching, we’ll take a stand to bend the course of history. We’ll take to the streets to demand the world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities.”

The call to action has now been signed onto by over 400 organizations, ranging from large NGO’s like the Sierra Club to grassroots groups like the Climate Justice Alliance. The Climate Justice Alliance, the Ruckus Society, and Rising Tide North America have put out a parallel call to action demanding that local, national, and international decision makers support local communities in “building Just Transition pathways away from the ‘dig, burn, dump’ economy, and towards ‘local, living economies’ where communities and workers are in charge!”

These calls for bold action in New York have generated a significant amount of excitement and engagement in communities across the continent.  But the focus on this mass mobilization and this global legislative process raises some important questions for organizers committed to confronting the root causes of climate change:

  • Can we use a mobilization like this to build and amplify our ongoing community based work?
  • How can mass mobilizations align with local work in a way that emphasizes and reinforces, and does not distract from local struggles?
  • How can we use moments and mobilizations like this to build capacity for radical climate justice organizing?
  • What does radical or transformative climate organizing mean to you?
  • In what ways are you participating in New York and why?
  • What are you working on now at home, and does New York impact it?  If so, what are your hopes for the mobilization and other events?

There are exciting and dynamic possibilities for using moments like this to amplify grassroots work, raise the voices of frontline communities, and build a stronger, bolder, and more connected climate justice movement.  But taking advantage of this opportunity requires careful and deliberate thought and analysis and strategic action.

Rising Tide North America is compiling a collection of essays on the September New York City Mobilization aimed at answering these questions and others.  The title of the compilation will be “Growing the Roots to Weather the Storm—Perspectives on the UN Climate Summit and the People’s Climate March.”

Join the important discussion and share your perspectives on the UN Climate Summit and the People’s March.  Submissions should be 500 to 1,500 words and submitted to analysis@RisingTideNorthAmerica.org by August 15, 2015.  Illustrations, cartoons, poems, drawings and photographs are also welcome.

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