Resistance and Solidarity at COP20, Lima

cambiosistemico

An answer to the climate crisis is emerging right now from Lima, Peru, but it’s not COP20.

At COP 20, political elites haggled over a draft UN climate deal that they hope to ratify next year in Paris. It’s a bad deal. It is narrowly focused on unenforceable commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Those reductions won’t even begin till after 2020 and won’t keep temperature rises below two degrees celsius. At the same time, rich countries, and the corporate lobbyists behind them, worked for a deal that won’t stop them from expanding the extractive industries cooking the planet. And it does nothing to help poor nations adapt to climate change and sustainably lift their people out of poverty.

But outside COP20, a real response to the crisis is emerging: solidarity and resistance.

Thousands of people, representing indigenous communities and their allies from all over Latin America and the world came together for the Cumbre De Los Pueblos, (People’s Summit).

The People’s Summit was an unprecedented moment, particularly for bringing together so many communities from the Amazon and Andean Highlands of Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. Many of these communities are actively resisting extractive projects like gold mining, petroleum extraction, and logging. These communities are connecting their struggles to protect their water from extraction, forests from expropriation and communities from state violence around a framework of justicia climática (climate justice). They are addressing the need to confront neoliberal capital, the system that finances and drives the climate crisis.

Nilda Rojas

The People’s summit hasn’t just created a space for solidarity. Its also created a space for resistance. The communities present are demanding autonomy, so when the news broke that Evo Morales, the President of Bolivia, might speak at the event, many were furious. Nilda Rojas, an Indigenous woman of Consejo Nacional de Ayllus y Markas del Qullasuyu explained that a summit with government officials is not a peoples summit. Her community faces state violence that Evo Morales is responsible for. His presence would undercut the autonomy and potential of the summit and communities fighting for their land and water.

People rallied against government inclusion. On Monday, activists with the Ecuadoran group YASunidos used drums and banners to disrupted a speach by the mayor of Lima. After the disruption, Caravana Climática used its radio equipment to broadcast and amplify voices from dozens of indigenous communities saying they were unhappy with government inclusion. The dissent spread, and in the end Evo Morales did not speak.

Conga No Va

On Tuesday, hundreds from  the region of Cajamarca, Peru arrived in Lima. They immediately took the streets with a giant, river like banner. The people of Cajamarca are fighting the expansion of one of the largest open pit gold mines on the planet, Minas Conga, owned by the U.S. based Newmont Mining Corporation. The energy intensive mine threatens the water supply of Cajamarca, and state repression of protests has lead to the murder of at least five community members.

On Wednesday, up to 20,000 people took the streets in Lima to march in defense of Mother Earth. Nowhere in this march of 20,000 indigenous people, ecologists, feminists, anti-capitalists, could you get away from beautiful banners, and contagious protest songs for land and water and against neoliberal imperialism.

policestop2

Demonstrators also confronted the World Climate Summit, a meeting of representatives from Multinational corporations. Even though the Police had used tear gas to disperse the initial march, many reconvened in a park closer to the Hilton where the corporate summit was gathering. We marched straight to the Hilton but were stopped one block from the target by a dense police line. In sight of the summit, we held a rally, standing in solidarity with those killed by state violence and denouncing the multi-nationals poisoning our land, water and climate.

semillas

If there is one lesson from the week, that is never doubt that you are alone in the fight for climate justice. We are a truly global, and growing, movement.

As we learn to work together, we are creating a real answer to the climate crisis, one based on communities protecting their land, water and forests from the industries destroying the planet. We are coming together to keep fossil fuels in the ground, ensure forests belong to the communities that live there and demanding water be protected as a common good.

The political elites at COP20 won’t end the climate crisis. We will.

Update, December 14: Edited to reflect that the COP20 released a draft climate accord in the early morning of Sunday, December 14.

Dispatch From Lima: Climate Justice At COP20

peruCross-posted from chriseaton [dot] net

Dear ones and fellow travelers,

I arrived safely in Lima Wednesday night, but even before I got here the grave challenges and inspiring opportunities of the COP20 United Nations climate negotiations had set into full swing. I’m traveling here on behalf of Rising Tide North America to organize actions and communications for climate justice.

La Caravana Climatica

On Tuesday Ecuadoran police repeatedly harassed our friends with the Caravana Climática (Climate Caravan) as they headed to Peru on the last leg of their journey. In the middle of the night the police seized their converted school bus!

The Caravana Climática had traveled all the way from Northern Mexico to Ecuador without problems. Along the way they worked with and recorded the voices of dozens communities fighting for climate justice. In Ecuador, The Caravana teamed up with YASunidos, a collective fighting oil extraction in Yasuni National Park in the Amazon. It seems that the Ecuadoran government wants to prevent YASunidos from rallying around their struggle in Lima and making sure the world knows that the only way to build a just and sustainable future is to keep the oil in the ground!

The bus might remain in custody for 7 days but the Ecuadoran government unleashed an outcry. YASunidos, the Caravana and its allies quickly created a social media storm exposing Ecuador’s political oppression. We we’re even able to reach out to Democracy Now! and make sure this embarrassment does not escape international attention.

Will you help protect the Yasuni by watching and share Democracy Now’s short segment found at the following link?

Members of YASunidos and the Caravana will not be deterred. They’ve continued on by other means and will join us today in Lima.

CasActiva

Here in Lima, the climate justice movement is set by frustration and possibility. I spent my first full day Yesterday at the CasActiva convergence space. The space, organized by Peruvian and Bolivian youth activists with Tierra Activa, is now full of beautiful art and art making and has at least four (four!) wifi routers to help activists organize and communicate out to the world.

Last night, a climate justice assembly gathered at the space. Real frustration, even agony was present. NGO allies with observer status inside the UN negotiations reported that the negotiations we’re not going well. Emissions targets are weak. Rich nations won’t discuss technology transfer and fight to use climate funds to make our planet even less hospitable with increased border patrol and even coal plants. Carbon traders and petrol states are pushing hard for false solutions like carbon capture and storage.

The potential for a terrible international climate agreement sparked a impassioned debate in the assembly. A woman from the Philippines—whose country might face another super-typhoon this week—asked when is it time to say enough, and work to discredit the UN. Another comrade from Madagascar responded that UN is discrediting itself but we need to fight for nations with no historical responsibility for climate change. Compañeros from La Caravána Climatica its time to make clear that local movements will fight for the real solutions to climate change, keeping oil in the ground, community protected forests, and ensuring water is a common good for all and not a commodity for corporate industries.

One clear sentiment emerged from out of this frustration and debate: the global climate justice movement must be more than the United Nations. Think about that, what would it mean to be more than the United Nations? To me, these are the central questions of Lima. What is the global climate movement? What unites us? And since a compromised UN process will never be enough (or even worse than nothing), what will our global movements create for ourselves?

In Solidarity,

chris

Canadian Police Arrest 24 Resisting Kinder Morgan Pipeline on Burnaby Mountain

burnabyRCMP arrests 24 on Burnaby Mountain
Caretakers call for ongoing solidarity presence, say “This pipeline will not be built”

VANCOUVER – RCMP have arrested at least 24 Burnaby Mountain caretakers and supporters today, as police moved in to remove a long-standing protest presence against Kinder Morgan’s pipeline survey crews.

Arrests include
– Sut-lut, a S?wx?ú7mesh elder who started the sacred fire onsite
– Kaleb Morrison and Erin Flegg who have been at the site for months
– Adam Gold, a named defendant in Kinder Morgan’s injunction and civil law suit
– A tree sitter who has been camped out on top of Borehole 1 drill site
– Tamo Campos, David Suziki’s grandson who has been supporting the site for weeks.

Fourteen of those arrested have been released on civil contempt charges, the other ten remain in-custody.

Kinder Morgan crews, escorted by RCMP, are currently at the clearing and have begun work. The Burnaby Mountain caretakers are calling for an ongoing presence at the mountain, as well at the RCMP detachment at 6355 Deer Lake Avenue.

“We are sending a clear message that the pipeline will not be built on unceded lands without the consent of Indigenous nations and the approval of all those who love these lands,” the group gathered has declared.

For photos and updates on the situation: https://www.facebook.com/burnabymountain

UPDATE: Wall Street Clogged by Flood of Climate Protesters

tumblr_ncbxrzy9K91tlno9ro3_500Media Advisory

September 22, 2014

Phone: 406-356-6316

floodwallstreet@riseup.net

www.floodwallstreet.net/media

Photos from the event: https://www.flickr.com/photos/127254211@N08

UPDATE: Wall Street Clogged by Flood of Climate Protesters

Sit-in Points Finger at Corporations in Flood Wall Street Action

New York, NY — Today, thousands of protesters wearing blue sparked a national conversation about the role of corporate power in climate politics when they shut down portions of lower Broadway.  Following the Stock Exchange closing bell, an estimated 100 people were arrested by the NYPD in the Flood Wall Street action which was organized to hold corporations and banks accountable for their role in creating the climate crisis.

Quotes from organizers and participants of Flood Wall Street

“Our goal was to connect climate change to Wall Street and amplify stories from the front lines. We definitely did that. We did it by disrupting business as usual in the heart of the world’s most important financial center.”

-Yotam Marom, Flood Wall Street Organizer

“Indigenous peoples are here at Flood Wall Street to send a direct message to the financiers of the global climate crisis and the fossil fuel regime since we are on the frontlines of the impact of fossil fuel development as well as experiencing disproportionate impacts of the global crisis. We have so much at stake, and a shared ambition to target the international financiers to throw a wrench in the system and disrupt commerce and business as usual here in the belly of the beast in the United States of America.”

-Clayton Thomas-Muller, #IdleNoMore

“The people and the land of Appalachia have been suffering for decades from the decisions made on Wall Street. We need a new economy built from the ground up.”

-Terri Blanton, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

“We are here representing the communities who are suffering directly from an exploitative, extractive economy that doesn’t respect people’s dignity, or human, labour, and civil rights. We are here to lift this voice and to send the message that we have the opportunity to create an economy that values humanity and dignity. We are here to redefine a just transition, where all communities have equality, access to resources, and also an economy that is good for the people and the planet.”

-Abel Luna, Migrant Justice

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Flood Wall Street is a response to the Climate Justice Alliance’s call for non-violent direct action in the week before the United Nations Climate Summit.