To make personal changes is to do too little. Only great movements, only collective action can save us now. Only is a scary word, but when the ship is sinking, it can be an encouraging one as well. It can hold out hope. The world has changed again and again in ways that, until they happened, would have been considered improbable by just about everyone on the planet. It is changing now and the direction is up to us. There will be another story to be told about what we did a quarter century after civil society toppled the East Bloc regimes, what we did in the pivotal years of 2014 and 2015. All we know now is that it is not yet written, and that we who live at this very moment have the power to write it with our lives and acts.
There are all sorts of events going on, and it’s really great, because this is a coming together of people from all kinds of movements who care about the climate. We’ve been involved with the New York Climate Convergence, which begins on Friday afternoon with an anti-oppression training at Saint Peter’s Church and then moves into plenaries and a full day of workshops on Saturday. Over 100 workshops are being planned to really talk about the root causes of the climate crisis and what the real solutions are to it and how do we build a more effective movement to address the climate crisis. And then there’s also Trade Unions for Energy Democracy is doing a conference. There’s a youth conference on Saturday. On Sunday we’ll be marching. And then there’s been a call for people to come to the United Nations and occupy it to show some resistance. Starting Sunday night. That will run through the whole UN Summit. And, really, because–and we can get into that more–the real corruption of United Nations and their failure to take effective action around the climate crisis. On Monday morning we’ll be participating in Flood Wall Street, which is an action down in the New York Stock Exchange area to call out the climate profiteers. There’s also a people’s climate summit starting on Monday, organized by a lot of climate justice organizations, as well as there’s festivals and art events and really a lot going on. If people want to go to our website, PopularResistance.org or ConvergeForClimate.org, they can learn about these events.
Today, citizens from Calvert County, Maryland, angry that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) commissioners sent stand-ins to a meeting in their area on the controversial proposal to allow the Dominion Cove Point facility to convert from an import to an export terminal for liquified natural gas (LNG), took their case to FERC’s monthly meeting in Washington D.C. A group of 20 people, including members and allies of the Calvert Citizens for a Healthy Community, delivered what they described as “an unannounced intervention” in response to their feeling that the commission intends to rubber stamp the proposal without adequate assessment of the dangers to the surrounding community.
3.5% is all it takes. “The history of resistance movements shows that when 3.5% of a population gets mobilized on an issue, no government can withstand it,” explains Kevin Zeese, co-director of Popular Resistance, an organization working with System Change not Climate Change and Global Climate Convergence to put on the New York City Climate Convergence Sept. 19-21. The Global Climate Convergence represents a coming together of activists and organizers from across the country and the globe. The GCC seeks to mobilize some of that 3.5% – or, in fact, even 1% – as numbers as small have proven enough to facilitate real change in the past.
The People’s Climate Canastoria is a traveling, downloadable, power-point-meets-puppet-show, performable by anyone (including you!) It is currently in rotation in 9 cities across the USA and Canada (and online)! See it on Peoples Climate Arts. BUS PASSENGERS/CAPTAINS, CARPOOLS & TRAIN RIDERS: This is perfect to engage and inspire your fellow passengers or the public on your trip to NYC. Simply print out the cantastoria art and one of the the scripts to read aloud while showing the art: perfect for bus or car rides to the mobilization.
Saturday, September 20th 10:45a-12:15p NYC Climate Convergence 16 Beaver, 4th Floor FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC In the lead up to #PeoplesClimate March on 9/21, we’re particpating in a day of teach-ins and workshops. JOIN US! Formed by The Yes Men, the Yes Lab helps activists and organizations carry out media-getting direct actions. In this workshop, we will share some juicy nuggets of how we develop effective, fun and meaningful actions that you can use for raising climate awareness. We’ll also preview our brand new tool, the Action Switchboard, which is a human moderated online platform that will be released next month. It will allow you to initiate and join direct political actions, connect with supportive NGOs, receive training and resources to help put important issues into the spotlight, and share stories of your actions. Join Andy and the Yes Lab team to be among the first to get a peek!
An Ad Hoc Committee to Occupy the Climate Summit announced plans at Zuccotti Park on S17 to occupy the UN beginning on Sunday. People can arrive during or after the People’s Climate March and the hope is to have people there 24/7 until the end of the UN climate meetings. Join us at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza Between 46th & 47th Sts and 1st and 2nd Aves, across from U.N. The Climate March is only the prelude. . Throughout the day people will be leaving the March to assemble in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza across the avenue from the U.N. While it is impossible to predict how events there will unfold, there will be a significant number who will attempt to occupy the plaza for the duration of the U.N. Climate Summit, which ends on Wednesday, September 24.
Thousands of people from across the United States and around the world will be in New York this month for the United Nations’ climate meetings. Many groups are using this opportunity to build and strengthen the necessary movement of movements for climate justice. Our organization, Popular Resistance, is part of the Global Climate Convergence which is partnering with System Change not Climate Change to organize the New York Climate Convergence on September 19 and 20. It will consist of plenaries and more than 100 workshops and skill shares focused on real solutions to the climate crisis and discussion on how to work together more strategically. Speakers include frontline organizers, activists who are part of the global climate justice movement, scientists, academics, artists and more. Click here for the full schedule of events and names of speakers.
The U.S. Department of Defense is the largest industrial consumer of fossil fuels in the world. It is also the top arms exporter and military spender at $640 billion, which accounts for 37% of the total. Other western countries that are top military spenders like the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, have high carbon emissions per capita. Military expenditures are depriving the international community of the funds desperately needed to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis. Over the past two decades, the developed countries have provided a paltry $12.5 billion for the Global Environmental Facility, one of the first funding mechanisms under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate (UNFCCC). In ten years, the Adaptation Fund has only disbursed $150 million to help developing countries, which are the most vulnerable and least responsible for climate change. In 2009 at the UNFCCC 15th Conference of the Parties (COP) in Copenhagen, developed countries made a commitment to raise $100 billion annually by 2020 for the Green Climate Fund to finance the national adaptation plans for developing countries. This is less than 1% of global annual military expenditures. Yet, wealthy, industrialized countries have failed to make adequate pledges to pay their climate debt.
Hundreds of Canadians will join tens of thousands of people in the streets of New York City next weekend for one of the largest climate change mobilizations in history. Renewable energy advocates of all ages will be gathering as a part of the Tar Sands Free bloc at the march, which will coincide with the UN climate summit in New York. “While this will be one of the largest climate marches in history, it also isn’t just about size. It’s about showing that people are standing alongside those impacted most by climate change and extreme extraction,” said Eriel Deranger, communications coordinator for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, who will be marching in New York. “People are impacted from the extraction of carbon polluting industries such as the Tar Sands and fracking, as well as the way to the extreme impacts of climate change.” Travelling from Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Kingston and Halifax, among other cities, the Canadian marchers will join communities impacted by climate disasters like Hurricane Sandy, and Indigenous peoples resisting tar sands and other extreme extraction both in Canada and abroad.
“Vermont Gas lied,” said Will Bennington, a spokesperson for Rising Tide Vermont. “They’ve lied about the climate and environmental impacts of the project, they’ve lied to landowners and broken promises, and now they’ve lied about the cost of this project. The Public Service Board, and ultimately GOvernor Shumlin, have no reason to believe Vermont Gas is acting in the public good.” In July, Vermont Gas announced a 40 percent increase in the cost of construction for Phase 1 of the fracked gas pipeline. The company hopes to pass this cost on to ratepayers, increasing the price of gas at a time when many Vermonters are already struggling to heat their homes. Demonstrators oppose the pipeline because it will lock Vermont communities into decades more of dirty fossil fuel use, at a time when a rapid transition away from fossil fuels and extreme energy use is needed.
This week, tens of thousands of citizens will gather in midtown Manhattan to demand action to protect Earth’s climate. Timed to coincide with the first UN summit on the climate crisis, the People’s Climate March is being billed as the largest-ever demonstration to combat global warming. The organizers have refrained from attaching demands or even policy proposals so as to cast the widest possible net and present the assemblage as nonpartisan. This strategy has a certain logic, given the Republican stranglehold on the House and the clear possibility that the party will recapture the Senate in November ― although a strong streak of optimism is required to imagine that the GOP would permit meaningful climate legislation to come out of Congress any time soon.
Like Occupy Wall Street, the People’s Climate March has refused to issue a unified set of demands. It has, instead, favored “big tent” organizing. And like OWS, which took on the 1 percent’s power over the political process, this march is tackling an issue that many know is a serious problem but that still remains outside mainstream discourse Given this, it makes sense that similar tactics would be adopted in both messaging and structure. Like OWS, the march’s greatest success may ultimately be both its impact on the larger conversation and the continuing activities of its constituent parts — just as many Occupy-inspired groups did important work after the Zuccotti Park encampment was destroyed by the NYPD.