Grassroots for Global Justice
By Cindy Wiesner
2015 is a decisive year for the climate and environmental justice movement internationally. As we head toward the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in France this December–there is a pitched battle being waged between the social movements based in front-lines communities bearing the brunt of the climate and economic crisis, and the very corporations who have been driving the climate crisis and are now the official sponsors of the COP21 negotiations.
Grassroots Global Justice and the Climate Justice Alliance are paving the Road to Paris and Beyond, beginning with the launch of the Summer of Our Power and building our pressure toward the It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm delegation, bringing a large grassroots delegation to Paris to confront our own government leaders, and demand true solutions to the climate crisis.
The Role of the US
As social movements inside the United States, we have a critical role to play to address the US government’s global leadership in watering down true regulation, and greenwashing false solutions such as carbon trading, fracking, and nuclear power.
We’re seeing a blueprint of the Paris agreement in the United States with President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which has no clear commitments to emissions reduction, decentralized ways [for] states to decide whether or not and how they want to implement, and no language around environmental justice principles or policies… Obama’s Clean Power plan is putting fracking as an option, nuclear as an option, and we know the devastating impacts these can have in communities and worldwide…. This is what the U.S. government is going to bring to the climate negotiations on an international levell: new forms of advancing capitalism but painting it green.
The movement for climate justice has a long road ahead, and our ability to interject in the Paris COP21, expose the green washing of false solutions, and join the global social movements in calling for true regulation and genuine alternatives will be critical for real intervention that our movments must achieve.
System Change Not Climate Change!
A growing slogan that social movements of the Global South, inside the US, and across Europe are united under as we head toward Paris is System Change, Not Climate Change! Fundamentally, the economic system that places profit above nature, humanity and mother earth is the driving cause of the crisis. Through joint struggle and practice, we have been building with both a deep social movement coalition, the Cliamte Space, and a broad and powerful united alliance, the Coalition Climat 21. Our collective power at the global scale is reflected by the leadership of the people most impacted by climate change, who are best positioned to pressure governments for more meaningful action, and to plan for how vulnerable communities can best survive climate change.
GGJ Delegates head to Paris this week.
GGJ is sending three delegates to the Climate Coalition 21 International Preparatory Meeting in Paris this week. I will be representing as the National Coordinator, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance and Co-Chair of the Climate Justice Alliance along with Kali Akuno, co-founder and coordinator of Cooperation Jackson, an emerging network of worker and consumer cooperatives in Jackson, MS; and Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network, Bemidji, MN, and coordinating committee member of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance.
We will be meeting with the social movement allies in Europe, incuding Alternatibas who will be organizing a global village of alternatives during the COP 21 in Paris this December. We will share lessons from the People’s Climate March in September 2014 and our mobilization of frontline communities.
Stay posted for more updates as we return and jump back into action with the Summer of Our Power launch in Jackson, the 10-year commemoration of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and October 14th National Day of Action called by the People’s Climate Movement.
From the forefronts of crisis, to the frontlines of change – we are on the rise!