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Democracy Now! Spotlights Indigenous Activists From ITR Delegation: Paris “Police State” is the Reality Frontline Communities Live With

Mon, 11/30/2015 - 3:39pm

Democracy Now! caught up with It Takes Roots Delegates Dallas Goldtooth, and his father Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network. “If you look at the scenario we’re facing right now in Paris, you have a heightened police state, you have unreasonable bureaucracy, limited resources,” says Dallas.  “This is our element as frontline communities. This is the world we exist in.” Watch the Segment

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Video Special: Healing Ceremony by Indigenous Environmental Network

Mon, 11/30/2015 - 11:45am

Ahead of COP21, Films for Action in collaboration with the New Internationalist Magazine showcase indigenous and majority world voices from the frontlines in the fight for climate justice. Watch a powerful video featuring Indigenous members of the It Takes Roots Delegation, and with the Indigenous Environmental Network. Watch this powerful video.

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the struggle for climate justice is a struggle for racial justice

Mon, 11/30/2015 - 10:15am

by brandon king, CooP Jackson

yesterday while at the Eiffel Tower, i saw two Roma womyn hustling a homeless, handicap petition. i thought nothing of it and gave them some euros. as my comrade went to give this sister change, a self-proclaimed “vigilante” cursed the womyn, told them to scram, and ripped up their petition, telling us that what they’re doing was fake, a scam.

brandon king at the human chain action with over 10,000 people who defied the protest ban in order to stand up for peace and climate justice.

this is our fourth day in Paris, France and i have not even begun to catch my bearings. just yesterday i was pick-pocketed by other Africans for my iphone 6 and gloves, after visiting Alternatibas’ commons/convergence space along the outskirts of Paris. they are building an alternative to climate change and the energy crisis in concrete ways to lower emissions of greenhouse gases in all sectors. it was really cool to see their space and to hear about their work. for them to be at the scale they’re at with over 10,000 members, i find very impressive.

but yeah. i thought about those two incidents as i reflect on why we’re even here in the first place. to demand climate justice and to say no to the false solutions that the COP21 delegates are retorting.

even though i was super upset that my phone was stolen, i couldn’t help but think about the conditions that contribute to people’s decisions and what choices everyday people actually truly have. especially migrants.

i think about the COP, and these corporations and governments who make decisions that have global implications. these world “leaders” who have no regard for life, and actually have had the audacity to enslave mother nature, and in some cases, other humyn beings. this COP meeting is the 21st of it’s kind, and they still haven’t been able to come to an agreement, let alone put a break on carbon emissions. in fact, over the previous 20 COPs, carbon emissions from fossil fuels have risen 50%, as the nations of the world have put global trade and profits over life itself.

frontline communities prey on each other because we never actually see our true enemies. these corporations and world “leaders” manage an economy that’s based on a non-logic of perpetual growth even though there’s clear limitations on how much resources can actually be extracted.

the recent terrorist attacks in Paris coupled with the heightened repression that Arab, African and Muslim communities have experienced is a direct byproduct of these imperialist wars for control over fossil fuels. the capitalist system and the states that protect and enforce it, creates the conditions that make the oppressed and exploited turn against each other. my oppressed and exploited sisters and brothers, systemic survivors, were the people that swindled me and my comrade out of a couple of euros and stole my phone.

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Defying the ‘Shock Doctrine’ in Paris as Thousands March Despite Protest Ban: CommonDreams Quotes Cindy Wiesner

Mon, 11/30/2015 - 6:31am

CommonDreams‘ update on Sunday, Nov.29th actions in Paris before the COP21 kickoff quotes It Takes Roots delegate Cindy Wiesner from the press advisory on how the demonstrators on Sunday “…stood in defiance …to defend democracy, reclaim the streets, and stand in solidarity with people living alongside fracking wells, REDD projects, and nuclear facilities—all rejecting these false solutions that COP21 is intending to advance.” Read the full article 

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MEDIA ADVISORY: Paris Climate Accord is a Crime Against Vulnerable Communities

Mon, 11/30/2015 - 3:45am

MEDIA ADVISORY
November 30, 2015

Carbon markets and offsets are the trojan horse that the fossil fuel industry is pushing through the Paris climate agreement

A broad alliance of leaders from communities on the frontline of the climate crisis have traveled to Paris to speak out against the proposed global climate agreement, saying that it falls far short of what is needed to avoid global catastrophe.

With more than 100 delegates from dozens of climate impacted communities across the US and Canada, the It Takes Roots delegation is calling on world leaders to come out of Paris with an agreement based on real solutions.

“Climate catastrophes are a reality right now. But the COP21 is not based on that reality, only on what is politically expedient. The agreement is based on a carbon market that allows developed countries to continue to emit dangerously high levels of greenhouse gasses through shell games, imaginary technofixes, and trading schemes that result in land grabs and human rights violations,” said Alberto Salamando, a human rights expert with the Indigenous Environmental Network.

“The UNFCCC process has been hijacked by the fossil fuel industry, which is seeking to expand pollution markets and privatize and sell everything from our air to the algae in our water. From cap and trade in California, to the carbon trading requirements of the Clean Power Plan, the US is aligning other member states around false solutions instead of holding steadfast to renewable energy and other genuine sustainable solutions,” said Kali Akuno from Cooperation Jackson in Mississippi.

“Our delegation is more than 25 years in the making. From the People of Color Environmental Justice Summit, through the Kyoto Accords, and the entire COP process, we have been the voice of urgency and clarity at every turn, because protecting our communities, our families and the planet has been our only true interest. We know, just as these negotiators do, that real reductions require a fundamental shift from the extractive economy and stopping climate pollution at the source,” said Jose Bravo of the Just Transition Alliance.

“Members of our delegation include a young person from Alaska whose community will be evacuated in the next ten years because of sea level rise. They are mothers and children living alongside fracking wells, coal mines, and oil refineries. We don’t have the luxury of pretending that pollution trading works when we know that it is a hoax. The climate movement as a whole is growing in alignment that our survival requires the kind of leadership and strategies that come from the grassroots.” said Cindy Wiesner, National Coordinator of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance.

“We see through this latest attempt by world leaders to escape responsibility. If the Obama administration is serious about climate change they also have to be serious about the changes they are willing to make. Those changes will not be easy, but going the easy way and conceding to fossil fuel interests is what got us to this crisis in the first place. Coming into an international negotiation looking to avoid negotiations and responsibility is not ok. It’s time to change and stand with the people, not the polluters.” said Kandi Mosset from the Indigenous Environmental Network.

Media Contacts:

Dallas Goldtooth, goldtoothdallas@gmail.com;
Contact No:  +1708-515-6158 (US); +33 751 413 823 (Paris, France)

Preeti Shekar, preetishekar@gmail.com
Contact No: +33 751 401 911 (Paris, France)

For more information:
www.ittakesroots.org?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss
Follow us:

@ienearth
@ggjalliance
@cjaourpower

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10,000 people in Paris and over 600,000 Worldwide Take to the Streets for Peace and Climate Justice

Sun, 11/29/2015 - 8:27pm

By Cindy Wiesner, It Takes Roots Delegate and National Co-ordinator, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

On Sun, November 29th, a day before COP21 is set to kickstart in Paris with world leaders attending the opening week, more than 10,000 people took to the streets of Paris,  participating in a creative action called a “human chain.” The chain stretched the length of the intended march route in a powerful display of the voices of popular movements who have been shut out of the COP process through the protest ban. Later in the afternoon, hundreds of protesters took to the streets and over 280 people were arrested and faced police violence. Worldwide, more than 600, 000 people in 175 countries took to the streets, demanding real responses to climate change.

“Members from the It Takes Roots delegation stood in defiance today to defend democracy, reclaim the streets, and stand in solidarity with people living alongside fracking wells, REDD projects, and nuclear facilities – all rejecting these false solutions that COP21 is intending to advance,” noted Cindy Wiesner, with Grassroots Global Justice Alliance.

The It Takes Roots Delegation participated in the Frontlines and Indigenous peoples sections of the Human Chain devoted to representing communities directly impacted by the climate crisis at Sunday’s action co-organized by Alternatiba, Attac, 350, Friends of the Earth and many other members of the Climate Coalition 21.  Our powerful messages and demands were reflected through our colorful banners, signs, lively chants and feisty music marked the one hour human chain that spread for nearly two miles across the streets of Paris.

“Now it is more critical than ever to take to the streets to denounce the bad climate deal. COP21 will be the worst of all COPs because it will see the planet burn. We cannot accept that,” said Pablo Solon, former Climate Chief Negotiator from Bolivia and Climate Space Ally.

Grassroots activists from the global north and south are converging in Paris these next two weeks, outside of Le Bourget, where the official COP21 takes place, to demand that governments listen to people, and not the polluters. The It Takes Roots Delegation represents the global south within the global north, and also stands in strong solidarity with groups across the global south who are determined to have their voices heard as COP21 begins to unfold this week. This delegation will be an active participant and organizer of civil society led activities, workshops/panels at People’s Climate Summit,  and other creative ways to hold governments accountable to their people, not corporate powers.

Follow us at ItTakesRoots.org and #ItTakesRoots and Indigenousrising.org

Some photos from Sunday’s action below. More on our photos page.

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<p>It Takes Roots Delegates On Uprising

Sun, 11/29/2015 - 4:29pm

It Takes Roots Delegates On Uprising Radio with Producer Sonali Kolhatker, November 20, 2015

GUESTS: Diana Lopez is an organizer with the Southwest Workers Union for worker rights, environmental justice and community empowerment in San Antonio, Texas and has attended several UN climate conferences;

Shawna Foster, veteran of the US National Guard where she served as a Nuclear Biological Chemical Weapons Specialist. She is currently the Board chair of Iraq Veterans Against The War. Both Akuno and Foster are members of the It Takes Roots delegation to COP21.

The French government has canceled two major climate justice marches that were organized around the upcoming Conference of Parties talks in Paris (COP21) in late November, early December. The recent ISIS attacks in Paris that resulted in 129 dead, were impetus for the announcement. Tens of thousands of activists from around the world are expected to converge between November 30th and December 13th outside the international climate conference to demand that country representatives hash out a strong agreement to curb global warming and to fund adaption efforts by developing nations.

Activist groups in the United States representing people of color, and poor and working class communities, have planned a significant presence at COP21. Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, the Climate Justice Alliance and the Indigenous Environmental Network are leading a delegation of over 75 activists called It Takes Roots.

For more information, South West Workers Union and Iraq Veterans Against The War.

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Ecologist Highlights It Takes Roots Delegation: No War, No Warming: Build an Economy for People and Planet’

Sat, 11/28/2015 - 5:55am

In a feature update leading up to the COP21, The Ecologist highlights how climate change focused groups and organizations around the world are continuing to mobilize and organize in Paris, and spotlight It Takes Roots delegation’s strong message on: No War, No Warming – Build an Economy for People and Planet.’ Read the full article

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Yes! Magazine Profiles ITR Delegate Sarra Tekola: Meet 5 Everyday People Heading to the Paris Climate Talks

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 8:00pm

Yes! Magazine profiled It Takes Roots Delegate and precocious youth organizer Sarra Tekola in an article titled Meet 5 Everyday People Heading to Paris for the Climate Talks. Read the article

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Newsweek Features ITR Delegate Kandi Mossett: From North Dakota With Love

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 7:29pm

Noted environmental journalist Antonia Juhasz features It Takes Roots delegate and theIndigenous Environmental Network’s native energy and climate campaign organizer, Kandi Mossett in a Newsweek article on COP21, ahead of the Paris conference. Read the article

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EcoWatch: Paris and Beyond: Climate Movement Won’t Be Silenced at COP21

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 6:28pm

EcoWatch highlights It Takes Roots‘ Statement affirming our delegation’s participation at COP21 and in civil society formations after the terrifying Nov.13th Paris attacks. Read the article.

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Pam Lau Tee, ITR Delegate in Earth Island Journal: “No state of emergency will keep the people from building and strengthening the work for climate justice”

Mon, 11/23/2015 - 8:08pm

The Earth Island Journal spoke to It Takes Roots delegate and veteran organizer and peace activist Pam Tau Lee, on grassroots activists’ plans to mobilize for COP21.”Time and time again, it is has been proven that people and not governments make the peace,” says Pam. Read the article

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Maine-Based ITR Delegate Meaghan Sala on NPR!

Mon, 11/23/2015 - 6:17pm

Tune in online to Maine’s NPR station where ITR Delegate Meaghan Sala shares her story and why she is joining the It Takes Roots delegation in Paris. Listen to the Archive Link

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MEDIA ADVISORY: It Takes Roots Statement on the Protest Ban in Paris

Mon, 11/23/2015 - 1:29pm

MEDIA ADVISORY
November 23, 2015

No War, No Warming – Build an Economy for People and Planet

Despite the ban on Protest in Paris, we will be there to raise our voices against war, racism and pollution profiteering. We stand in solidarity with the countless victims of recent violence in Paris, Beirut, and Mali, as well as their families and loved ones.

The It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm delegation of over 100 frontline leaders from climate impacted communities across the US and Canada, including the Arctic, united under the slogan: No War, No Warming – Build an Economy for People and Planet. We stand against the criminalization of the defenders of Mother Earth and the illegitimate criminalization of protest, in particular during the COP21. Civil society, popular movements, indigenous movements and society in general have the right to raise their voices in dissent, especially when our futures are being negotiated. The voices of Indigenous peoples, youth, women and frontline communities need to provide guidance in these negotiations, now more than ever.

Climate justice seeks to address much more than greenhouse gas emissions, but the root systemic causes of climate change itself. Climate justice is about social and economic justice, and how democratic, peaceful and equitable solutions, not military violence, best serve the interests of humanity. The fossil fuel economy is a driver of this multi-faceted crises facing the world: causing resource wars; polluting our air, water and land; creating illness and death to people and of ecosystems; privatization of nature; economically exploiting Indigenous communities, communities of color and the working poor; forcing mass migrations; and, depriving millions of adequate food, access to water, housing, healthcare and healthy and safe employment.

As part of a global climate justice movement, we oppose the bombing of Syria. Over many decades we have witnessed that Western militarism has only increased the instability of the Middle East and other regions. This militarism abroad has also escalated the military complex at home in the United States, where communities resisting the industries causing climate change, have been heavily policed and targeted by police violence.

Our delegation is made up of grassroots leaders from Indigenous, Black, Latino, Asian and working class white communities. We know first-hand the violence and repression of state racism that exploits tragic moments like this. We reject rising Islamophobia and racism across Europe and North America, as well as the scapegoating of migrants and refugees. The global community has a human rights responsibility to refugees fleeing violence and fleeing for their lives. The roots of the Syrian crisis are linked to climate change, and those seeking refuge because of drought, repeated bombing, and the lack of humanitarian support from world governments.

We are in solidarity with undocumented peoples, migrants and people of color facing repression, raids, and police brutality in France and Europe. We know that people of color face extreme violence within and because of colonial States. We support our comrades in this time as we know they face even more racism, attacks and nation-State violence. We call for continued support for these communities and their organizing efforts. Understanding that our struggles are inextricably linked through globalization, militarization, and neo-liberalism, stemming from a long history of colonialism.

Taking action on climate is a essential to global stability and peace. Peace also includes the need to have peace with Mother Earth. Our movements are aligned across issues of migration, climate, human rights and rights of Indigenous peoples, Earth jurisprudence, jobs and housing. We are calling on world leaders, and President Obama in particular, to move toward inclusion over exclusion, renewable clean energy over pollution profiteering, cutting emissions at source over carbon trading and offset regimes, and peace over militarism.

We are inspired by the tenacity and humanity of people around the world, and we will continue to mobilize for Paris and to use our love, creativity and solidarity to make our presence known and felt. The protection of Mother Earth, as we know her, and our collective survival is at stake.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Media Contacts: Jaron Browne 415-377-2822, jaron@ggjalliance.org
Dallas Goldtooth 708-515-6158, goldtoothdallas@gmail.com
Preeti Shekar 510-219-4193, preetishekar@gmail.com

Follow us at: ittakesroots.org
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, @ggjalliance
Indigenous Environmental Network, @ienearth
Climate Justice Alliance, @cjaOurPower

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ITR Delegate Rossmery Zayas on Pacifica Radio’s La Onda Bajita Show

Fri, 11/20/2015 - 6:08pm

Listen to It Takes Roots Delegate Rossmery Zayas share her reflections and perspectives on San Francisco-Bay Area based KPFA 94.1 FM radio’s La Onda Bajita show. Listen to the archive show (scroll to 20 mins into the segment)

 

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First Ever Indigenous Women’s Treaty Signed of “North and South”

Fri, 11/20/2015 - 3:01pm

September 27, 2015 (New York City, NY) Today marked a historic milestone in the movement for environmental justice and indigenous rights. Indigenous women leaders of the North and South Americas signed a first ever treaty agreement declaring solidarity in the movement to protect Mother Earth from extractive industries.

Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca) and Pennie Opal Plan (Idle No More Bay Area), who serve as representatives on the Indigenous Environmental Network’s Delegation for the COP 21 United Nations Summit in Paris, met with Kichwa leaders, Patricia Gualinga and President of the Association of Sapara Women, Gloria Ushigua, who serve as representatives of the Amazon Watch Delegation.

Statement from Casey Camp-Horinek, of the Ponca Nation regarding the Indigenous Women of the North and South – Defend Mother Earth Treaty Compact 2015:

“We acknowledge this moment on Mother Earth for the 4th Red Moon of this year is eclipsing and offering us this chance to renew and defend the rights of Mother Earth as Indigenous Women. We gathered on this sacred day in ceremony to honor the ancestors who brought us to this point where we could stand strong in unified love of our Mother the Earth, our Father the Sky and the undying duty to protect the air, water, earth and all of our relatives for the future generations. We give thanks for the guidance and the support that made this day the sacred day that it has become at this historic Treaty between the Indigenous Women of the North and South. We invite and implore the prayers and the spreading of the word to rise up and join this movement that has begun in the times before us and moves into this wave of awareness across the face of our Mother.”

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IVAW Statement on Recent Attacks in Lebanon, Afghanistan, France, Iraq, & Nigeria

Fri, 11/20/2015 - 1:40pm

Our hearts and thoughts go out to the victims and families who have suffered from the acts of brutality committed in Beirut, Paris, Baghdad, Zabul and now multiple cities in Nigeria over the last number of days.

We condemn these terrorist attacks in Lebanon, Afghanistan, France, Iraq and Nigeria. We mourn with the victims and send our deepest condolences to their families. No one’s life should end in this way; no family should suffer the anguish and loss that these people are suffering.

For these attacks to stop, we must address their root causes and take responsibility for U.S. participation in the destabilization of countries that span the Middle East, North and Western Africa, and South and Central Asia. The deliberate destabilization of once functional states in the region, and the current bombardment of Yemen by U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, has created the perfect environment for groups like ISIS and Boko Haram to grow and thrive. We must see the rise of terrorism and the attacks in Paris for what they are, blowback for western intervention in the Middle East and elsewhere around the globe.

We, as current and former military members, understand that who the U.S. military kills is never certain and differentiating combatants from civilians is not a priority. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people have been killed and thousands of others are being stalked and killed by drones in at least seven countries, creating an environment filled with constant terror. Russia joining the bombardment of Syria and Iraq, the recent announcement of more troops to be deployed around the globe, and the extension of troop withdrawal in Afghanistan will only exacerbate an increasingly volatile situation until the “all out war” that France’s President Hollande called for is upon us. The end result of all of this can only be destruction, terror and lost lives, not only from predominately Muslim countries, but everywhere terror and war will inevitably reach.

We know from experience that declaring war on terrorism is a futile gesture that engages the world in a downward spiral of destruction. A full land war in Syria plays into the goals of terrorist groups and will undoubtedly destroy more innocent lives. Meanwhile, western countries will be no safer than before, in fact, increased blowback resulting from these actions will remain an ever present threat for years to come. An escalation of warfare will also violate civil liberties by establishing a securitization regime in France as an extension of the already existing “security measures” in the U.S., England and elsewhere

We call on the US and its NATO allies to:

  1. Exercise restraint and exhaust all avenues of diplomacy;
  2. Take full responsibility and hold themselves accountable for the illegality of the Iraq war and the continuance of the Afghanistan war, their colonial exploits, and their extra military actions which gave rise to the instability of various regions as we see today;
  3. De-escalate from the perpetual violence, and reduce militarization both at home and abroad; and
  4. Accept responsibility for the resettlement of all refugees, who are victimized by the so-called “War on Terror,” and resist scapegoating those with the least power in this tragic string of events.

Repeating the disastrous choices made by our nation after September 11th will result in nothing short of squandering the future of millions. This cycle of violence and exploitation has to end now.

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Democracy Now: Climate Activists Vow to Continue with Protests Ahead of Paris Talks

Thu, 11/19/2015 - 7:02pm
WATCH:

In the wake of the Paris attacks, climate activists and the French government are at odds over plans for a massive protest march on Nov. 29 ahead of the U.N. climate talks. French authorities are threatening to curtail public demonstrations and marches, but climate activists insist the right to protest and freedom of speech must be upheld even during a state of emergency. We speak to Alix Mazounie, the international policies coordinator at Climate Action Network France.

Read the full transcript on Democracy Now »

 

 

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It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm: The Road to Paris and Beyond

Thu, 11/19/2015 - 6:57pm

As the effects of climate change continue to hit peak levels of catastrophe, global leaders have been promising a new climate agreement through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP). From failing to sign the Kyoto Accord (1992), to undermining efforts for binding agreements at COP15 in Copenhagen (2009), the US has been playing a contradictory dual role of both moving forward a minimal level of climate action while assuring that the interests of transnational corporate polluters are protected. The insufficient pledges made by the US in Copenhagen in 2009, in addition to the pushing of false solutions such as carbon market, carbon trading and offset mechanisms, set a precedent that continues today. In December 2014, weeks before the COP20 convened in Lima, Peru the US and China announced a bilateral agreement that provides a weak foundation for a new UN climate agreement and sets the stage for a non-transparent and non-enforceable plan for cutting Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. The China-US deal dashed whatever small hopes existed that the COP20 would deliver an outcome to slow the mounting crisis.

This year, the COP21 will take place in Paris, France from November 30-December 11, 2015.We are skeptical that a new agreement reached in Paris will be bold enough, enforceable, and at the scale and pace needed to avert global catastrophe. President Obama’s proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) has been touted as a blueprint for honoring national commitments that may emerge in a Paris agreement. Yet the CPP has no clear commitment to emissions reduction, it allows too much flexibility for how states will implement the plan, and it requires no commitment to environmental justice principles or policies.

In order to achieve the policy shifts we need for the long-term, even the best inside strategies will not be strong enough if we are not organizing powerful, grassroots pressure on the outside as well. There is a promising, growing unity of social movements at the global scale led by the people most impacted by climate change, who are pressuring governments for more meaningful action, often while implementing their own real solutions on the ground and planning for how vulnerable communities can best survive severe impacts of climate change.

Copenhagen also sparked social movements, Indigenous Peoples’ movements and many Global South governments to declare “No deal is better than a catastrophic deal” and “We Need Systems Change, not Climate Change.” Leaders from frontline communities in the US who went to Copenhagen in 2009 on a delegation with organizations like Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ), Movement Generation and Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) came home determined to build a stronger global social movement around climate change. They went on to form the Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) and in 2013 launched the Our Power Campaign: Communities United for a Just Transition. IEN, GGJ and CJA have been leading the participation of frontline communities in the climate movement within the US as well as internationally. Grassroots International (GRI) has been partnering with and accompanying social movements taking leadership for climate justice in the Global South, particularly movements of small-scale farmers (such as La Vía Campesina), Indigenous Peoples and Afro-descendent communities.

During the lead up to the People’s Climate March in September 2014, which mobilized an estimated 400,000 people in the largest climate march in history, GGJ, IEN, and other members of CJA were instrumental in ensuring that Indigenous and frontline communities led the march and commanded the world’s attention as the forefront voices of the climate justice movement. The planning for the People’s Climate March also forged new relationships between the grassroots organizing sector and more mainstream climate organizations, laying the groundwork for ongoing relationships and a broader united movement for climate justice. GGJ and GRI worked together closely to ensure meaningful participation of international social movements in both the march and the Peoples’ Climate Justice Summit, which was an important space for US-based and international climate justice movements to share analysis and strategies with one another.

It will be critical in 2015 to build up the momentum and escalate actions so that by the time we get to Paris, there is consistent pressure from a worldwide movement calling for serious action by governments, rejection of carbon market mechanisms such as REDD+ and other carbon offsets and radical emission cuts. But the battle will not end in Paris, and movements are already making long-term plans to keep up the momentum and share strategies through North-North, North-South, and South-South exchanges, national and international joint strategy sessions and collective action in the streets of Paris.

Grassroots Global Justice (GGJ) is providing leadership nationally and internationally by convening and aligning many key networks and coalitions in the global climate justice movement. Through years of increasingly close collaboration, these emerging networks and coalitions have been deepening the engagement of civil society actors around the world who are not represented in the UNFCCC process, and developing shared analysis and strategy. GGJ has been a key player in a movement of grassroots leaders around the globe that are uniting to strategize effective solutions to the climate crisis, and to develop plans for action post-Paris. People around the world feel a real urgency to develop systemic alternatives, and are at a point where they will not accept decisions by world leaders that fail to kick-start an immediate transition to get us out of this global crisis.

Some of these key formations include:

The Climate Space, which began as a venue at the World Social Forum 2013 in Tunisia to discuss the causes of and alternatives to climate change, has now developed into an ongoing global people’s climate process through a network of 30 international organizations like ATTAC France, ETC Group, Focus on the Global South, Global Forest Coalition, Grassroots Global Justice, Indigenous Environmental Network, La Vía Campesina, Polaris Institute, World March of Women, and others.

The Coalition Climat 21 (CC21), which was convened by French civil society associations, networks and social movements to support diverse, inclusive and collective work toward COP21 in Paris. CC21 is comprised of over 100 organizations in France with European and international participation.

The Mobilization Support Team of the People’s Climate Movement which consists of 350.org, ALIGN, Avaaz, Blue-Green Alliance, Climate Justice Alliance, GGJ, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, Oil Change International, SEIU local 32BJ, Sierra Club, and Uprose.

Organizational Background

Grassroots Global Justice (GGJ) is an alliance of 58 US-based grassroots organizing (GRO) groups organizing to build an agenda for power for low-income people and communities of color. We weave and bridge together US-based GRO groups and global social movements working for climate justice, an end to war, and a Just Transition to a new economy that is better for people and the planet. GGJ was founded in 2005 as an alliance of organizations, with clear criteria that prioritize a diverse membership across race, gender, citizenship, class and sexuality, and comprised of people from frontline communities. GGJ was co-founder and co-anchor of Climate Justice Alliance, and now serves as co-chair. GGJ is also building the first-ever US chapter of the World March of Women, a global feminist movement.

Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) is a collaborative of 40 community organizations on the frontlines of the climate crisis, movement networks and support organizations. In 2013, CJA launched the Our Power Campaign (OPC): Communities United for a Just Transition, a national effort uniting communities fighting fossil fuels and other polluting industries around a common vision and strategy – to transition the economy in ways that reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the source, restore equity, and put decision-making in the hands of communities.

Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) was formed in 1990 by grassroots Indigenous peoples and individuals primarily in North America to address environmental and economic justice. IEN’s activities include building the capacity of Indigenous communities and tribal governments to develop mechanisms to protect sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, health of both Native/Indigenous communities and all living things, and to build economically sustainable communities. IEN is on the coordinating committee of GGJ and the steering committee of CJA, and was a founding member of both alliances. IEN has been participating in the UN climate negotiations and mobilizing Indigenous communities, North and in the global South since 1998.

Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the U.S. and globally. Since 1963, IPS works with social movements to promote true democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate influence, and military power, and is on the steering committee of CJA.

Grassroots International (GRI), founded in 1983, works in partnership with social movements around the globe to create a just and sustainable world by advancing the human rights to land, water, and food through global grantmaking, building solidarity across organizations and movements, and advocacy in the US. GRI is a member organization of both GGJ and CJA.

The post It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm: The Road to Paris and Beyond appeared first on It Takes Roots.

Jackson Free Press: From Jackson to Paris to Fight Climate Change

Thu, 11/19/2015 - 6:53pm

Published by Jackson Free Press  |  By Scott Prather  |  Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Six members of Cooperation Jackson, along with several children, a translator and someone to help with child care are headed to Paris, France, to lend their voices and efforts to the global fight against climate change at the United Nation’s annual climate conference, referred to as COP21, beginning Nov. 30.

The local contingent will join a larger delegation of nearly 100 people from the United States and Canada organized by the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, or GGJ.

“The goal is half protest and half affirmation,” said Kali Akuno, a longtime social-justice advocate and co-founder of Cooperation Jackson who worked in the mayoral administration of the late Chokwe Lumumba. 
 The political leaders and corporations involved in the official discussions about climate change are “playing games with the planet and with our lives,” Akuno added.

GGJ is helping pay for four members of the Jackson delegation to make the trip. The group works to connect working-class and oppressed communities from North America with social movements in the southern hemisphere.

Cooperation Jackson is also part of the Climate Justice Alliance’s “Our Power Campaign,” a parallel effort to end global warming while specifically supporting, connecting and learning from those communities of poor and working people who have directly suffered the effects of climate change.

The protest is important, Akuno said, because at this point the government and industry officials meeting at COP21 “control some of the key levers and institutions which can either save us or drive us further off the cliff.” So, he said, Cooperation Jackson is “joining with other communities of struggle throughout the world to send a clear message that this is not sufficient, that they have to do better, and we’re demanding that they do better.”

Exploring Alternatives at COP21

This year’s event comes just weeks after Obama’s rejection of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would have funneled one of the world’s largest crude oil reserves from the Alberta Tar Sands to the Gulf of Mexico.

The COP21 website emphasizes that world leaders will, for the first time in more than 20 years of UN climate negotiations, set a “legally binding and universal agreement” that aims to indefinitely keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius. But the Cooperation Jackson delegation will be in Paris as part of a parallel gathering of communities from across the globe converging to challenge the official standards that are set to emerge from COP21.

Sacajawea Hall, of Cooperation Jackson, said that it’s critical for communities of protest to send a message and hold leaders accountable, but also to connect with communities across the globe who are already practicing alternatives to the current oil-and-profit based economy that scientists say is threatening the planet.

“So much of it for me is gathering with other communities who are actively asking, ‘What do we want for ourselves and our world?’ and not just “What do we not want from our governments?,'” Hall said.

Both Hall and Akuno stress the need for the delegation to learn from the successes and failures of alternative-energy-based movements at COP21, and to bring those lessons home. Hall finds inspiration for her work in “the stories of what people, and women in particular, have been able to do with even less resources than we have here” in Jackson and in the United States as a whole.

First, Be the Change

Citing Mahatma Gandhi’s maxim that we must first try to “be the change we wish to see in the world,” Aina Gonzalez, another Jackson delegate, said this trip is a chance for Cooperation Jackson to “network, show our presence, make friends and build allies.”

Locally, Gonzalez is helping to launch Nubia’s Place Cafe and Catering, a food-service cooperative that will run out of the Lumumba Center for Economic Democracy, the group’s base of operations at 939 West Capitol St. in Jackson.

The cafe is an example of the integrated, sustainable economic alternatives Cooperation Jackson says it wants to model for the city and state. An urban farming cooperative will source the cafe and catering businesses, whose workers will have a share in ownership and management and receive what organizers call a fair, livable wage.

In turn, the business of sustainably producing and serving food will present the need and opportunity for sustainable waste management, recycling and composting practices. 
 The goal of making Jackson “the most sustainable city in the south” comes out of the “Jackson Rising” statement that former Mayor Chokwe Lumumba’s administration released in 2014. Akuno credits Lumumba’s administration with laying out the broad vision Jackson needs to incentivize local policies and business practices that are both just and ecologically sustainable.

The work of Cooperation Jackson hones in on one aspect of that broad social vision—the development of worker-owned cooperatives and alternative economic practices. In part due to Mississippi’s long history of rural and industrial worker organizations, Akuno says that “the conditions of Jackson are challenging but also ripe for cooperatives as a means of to getting to a solidarity economy.” Moving toward an economy that puts people’s needs over profit would, he believes, best serve the people who live and work in Jackson.

It Takes An ‘Eco-Village’

The ambitious goal of a zero-waste-and-emissions Jackson by 2025 is just one part of “The Jackson Just Transition Plan,” a climate-justice vision Cooperation Jackson released this week as part of the international “Our Power Campaign.”

The plan lays out a “Sustainable Communities Initiative” that has two primary components. The first is an “Eco-Village” in west Jackson, which will build on emerging cooperatives to develop the infrastructure for west Jackson residents to sustainably live and work in their communities. This part of the plan is predicated upon the creation of a Community Land Trust, controlled by residents, and a network of interconnected cooperatives that will provide affordable housing and jobs that respect workers’ rights.
 The plan also contains a “policy reform” agenda that aims to help city government realize the Lumumba administration’s vision of making Jackson the most sustainable city in the south.

The strategy articulates “zero waste” and “zero emissions” programs and outlines policies designed to mitigate ecological destruction while incentivizing just and sustainable business practices.

For example, it calls on city government to invest in localized food production and citywide recycling and composting programs, while transitioning to a city fleet and public-transportation system run entirely on renewables.

While “The Jackson Just Transition Plan” would require buy-in from city leaders to achieve policy reform, the plan grounds those policy goals in a political vision that looks to connect the dots between the environmental, economic and racial crises that have long plagued the south.

It is that political vision, as well as the nuts and bolts of what does and doesn’t work for communities engaged in similar struggles throughout the world, that the Jackson delegation says it hopes to discover, share, and refine in Paris.

“It’s important for the global community to come together to show that we already have the resources and power to create sustainable and just communities,” said Cooperation Jackson member Brandon King, a 31-year-old Virginia native with a background in activism and the arts who now lives in Jackson.

See Cooperation Jackson’s website at cooperationjackson.org. Email ideas to business reporting fellow Scott Prather at scott@jacksonfreepress.com.

The post Jackson Free Press: From Jackson to Paris to Fight Climate Change appeared first on It Takes Roots.

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