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.

Seattle Grandmothers Block Department of Ecology Entrance Before Oil Hearing

grannyFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
Contact – Abby 206 484 9857

More photos and media will be available throughout the day.

Grandmothers Block Department of Ecology Entrance Before Oil Hearing

Lacey, WA – Currently, seven members of the Seattle Raging Grannies are blocking the entrance to the Department of Ecology headquarters, stalling traffic and preventing employees from entering work. The groups are sitting in rocking chairs chained together across the Department’s vehicle entrance. They are telling workers that the Department is closed today for a “Workshop on How to Say No to Big Oil.” Today’s action coincides with hearings on a controversial study on the safety of oil trains conducted by the Department of Ecology. Hundreds are expected in Olympia to express concern at the study’s narrow scope and omission of risks to the environment or treaty rights.

“We’re here to help the Department of Ecology learn how to say no to the oil industry,” said Beth DeRooy. “After granting permits to four illegal oil train terminals and letting former BNSF executives write their oil study, I was worried the folks over at the Department never learned how to say no and needed a little help from their grannies.”

Since 2012 the Department of Ecology has granted permits for oil-by-rail terminals at four of Washington’s five refineries. Terminals in Tacoma, Anacortes and at Cherry Point outside of Bellingham, have begun taking trains while a fourth is under construction at the Phillips 66 refinery in Ferndale. Environmental groups have argued that the these terminals are illegal under the Magnuson Act, which prohibits expansions at Washington refineries that may increase the amount of oil they handle. Permits for a fifth oil-by-rail terminal at Shell’s Puget Sound refinery are currently under consideration.

“Hot on the heels of record wildfires, Governor Inslee’s so-called Department of Ecology is going to ignore the environment in this study? They’re acting more like the Department of Oil Trains,” stated Cynthia Linet.

Last year Governor Inslee directed the Department of Ecology to conduct a safety study on the extremely controversial shipment of oil by rail. The governor’s study has been criticized for ignoring impacts on the environment, treaty rights and global warming, as well as failing to question whether they should build oil-train terminals in the first place. The Department of Ecology has declared that impacts on the environment, tribal treaty rights or local economies are “ancillary” and not being considered. The Department has also come under fire after revelations that a number of the study’s authors are former BNSF executives.

“You’d think bringing exploding trains to help oil companies devastate Native American communities in North Dakota would be easy to say no to, but it looks like the Department of Ecology needs a stern lesson from their grannies,” said Carol McRoberts.

Many of North Dakota’s oil wells are on tribal lands of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara nations. In addition to spills and other local pollution, the oil boom has brought tremendous social costs to the communities. Deaths from auto accidents, drug abuse and violent crime have exploded; housing shortages force many to live in substandard conditions; and sexual violence such as rape and sex trafficking have become prevalent in a once small community.

“My daughter is 15 months old and my heart aches that I do not even want her to be at home for fear of what she’d be exposed to,” said Kandi Mossett, a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara nations who submitted written testimony to today’s oil train hearings. “This oil boom using fracking has been devastating for us and no amount of money can ever give us back what’s being lost.”

Protestors handed out doughnuts and coffee as they turned away employees’ cars. They also handed out a flier explaining “How to Say No To Fossil Fuels.” The flier calls on the Department of Ecology to reject all new fossil fuel projects proposed for Washington and to explicitly link their rejection to concerns about global warming. Climate justice activists point out that if all proposed fossil fuel terminals are built, the Northwest will be transporting five times more carbon than the Keystone XL Pipeline.

“It’s grandma’s common sense – we need to keep carbon in the ground to stop catastrophic global warming, and if they can’t ship it, they have to leave it in the ground,” said Rosy Betz-Zall.

But while he has been widely hailed as one of the greenest governors in America, Inslee has yet to outright reject a major fossil fuel project, or even declare a moratorium on projects that would increase dangerous shipments of explosive oil.

“Governor Inslee talks about being a climate champion, but he keeps saying ‘maybe’ to new fossil fuel projects, when what we need is a solid ‘NO’,” said Deejah Sherman-Peterson. “Take it from your granny: if you want to say yes to something good – a just, clean energy future – you have start by saying NO to something bad – building more fossil fuel infrastructure.”

Today’s protest follows an intense wave of opposition to oil-by-rail across the Northwest this summer with protestors locking themselves to barrels of concrete and sitting atop tripods to blockade railroad tracks across Washington and Oregon.

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Citizens Disrupt Southwestern Energy Presentation over Fracking Projects on Elsipogtog First Nations Land

For Immediate Release: June 25, 2014

Contact:
Angie Viands
angiemariev@gmail.com
312-217-0145

Video of Action:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8QN4uWWq26qaGIya0EyenJpbzg/preview

RT ChiCitizens Disrupt Southwestern Energy Presentation over Fracking
Projects on Elsipogtog First Nations Land

Chicago, IL–Two protesters interrupted a Southwest Energy (SWN) presentation Wednesday at the Global Hunter Securities 100 conference in Chicago by taking off their shirts and unfurling a banner to an
audience of investors that read, “The people resist SWN, you lose your
shirt!”  The banner referred to how increasing public resistance SWN’s
controversial hydraulic fracturing projects in Elsipogtog first
nations land, public land in Pennsylvania and other locations is
successful in slowing down and preventing projects and therefore makes
them unwise investments.

Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” involves forcing large amounts of
water or other substances deep underground to break shale rock to
release trapped oil and gas. Fracking has raised the ire of people
globally due to air and water pollution, earthquakes and large amounts
of greenhouse gases that are tied to the process.

Attempts to frack Elsipogtog first nations land have been met with
fierce opposition from the Mi’kmaq people during the past year. Canada
has given permits to SWN to frack, but Elsipogtog lands were never
ceded. In October of 2013, SWN brought in police to uphold an
injunction and arrested 40 people that were among many more attempts
to stop fracking in their community. Less than a week ago, more road
blockades to halt fracking activity resulted in 12 arrests. Community
resistance has resulted in delaying SWN’s activity.

“A recent scientific study found that that public resistance to these
oil and gas projects is successful because it delays them and costs
the company money. Sometimes they end up canceling the project.” said
Joy Holowicki one of the participants in today’s action referring to a
study titled Cost of Company-Community Conflict in the Extractive
Sector.

In Pennsylvania, SWN is moving forward with unpopular plans to frack
in Loyalsock State Forest. This mostly intact forest will become
fragmented and further impacted by fracking well pads, pipeline and
roads.  Just this month, more than 200 people rallied at the
Pennsylvania state house to call for an end to fracking in
Pennsylvania state parks and forests.

When asked why she interrupted the SWN presentation Gloria Fallon of
Rising Tide Chicago said, “We are here today to stand in solidarity
with the Mi’kmaq people, residents in Pennsylvania and all other
communities impacted by Southwestern Energy’s destructive projects. We
are working to prevent hydraulic fracturing in Illinois as well.
Nobody should have to live near dirty, dangerous fracking.”

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CALL FOR SUPPORT: Donations Needed for N30 Legal Expenses!

Dear Friends, Supporters, Comrades and Community,

As you may recall, a lively protest took place on the streets of Chicago’s financial district last November 30, on the 10th anniversary of the “Battle of Seattle” and a week ahead of the big UN climate summit in Copenhagen.  Several groups from across the city had come together to demand just, equitable, and effective solutions to the climate crisis, starting with the shut-down of the Crawford and Fisk coal plants in Chicago’s Little Village and Pilsen neighborhoods.  The November 30th (N30) event also targeted “false solutions” to climate change like carbon trading, nukes and agrofuels, and was part of a national day of action for climate justice.

Now, the city has decided to charge these folks $8,340, with a deadline of mid-August to pay the fines.





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