U.S.-Based Grassroots Organizations Celebrate Indigenous People's Day by Joining Global Day of Action for Climate Justice

[www.ggjalliance.org, www.ienearth.org]     

Contact: Jen Soriano, Cell 415-572-7154, Email jen@ggjalliance.org

October 12, 2010 [United States] – Indigenous people's movements from around the globe have called for an international day of action for climate justice on October 12.  U.S.-based grassroots organizations that are members of the Indigenous Environmental Network and the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance are answering the call by supporting educational forums on climate change, current policy proposals, and alternative solutions for climate justice.

This global day of action will be part of a week of protests, demonstrations, forums, sit-ins, and other actions that will be carried out to:

Oppose the commodification of life
Promote the defense of land and water and the right to live well
Warn of the imminent danger of environmental catastrophe and identify those responsible
Demand amnesty for all indigenous leaders, and social and environmental activists who defend the rights of peoples and Mother Earth

The October 12 events occur following another day of climate action, the 10/10/10 Global Work
Party. “However,” says Jihan Gearon of the Indigenous Environmental Network, “the call to action for Indigenous Peoples’ Day is distinct. Native people are not ‘just getting to work’ to stop global warming. We’ve been stewarding the natural environment since the beginning of time.  Our approach is not simply to address the symptoms of the problem but to attack the root causes.”

Activities being planned around the U.S. include Appalachian actions against mountaintop removal, workshops in multiple regions on the Cochabamba People’s Accord accord, gardening days and education on local community resilience in Oakland, and potential actions against the Texas oil companies supporting Proposition 23, a bill designed to undermine the growing clean energy economy in California.  In San Antonio, members of the Southwest Workers Union will show through their  Roots of Change Urban Co-op that producing local organic food and using solar power are community-based solutions to climate change, while in Los Angeles, members of the Labor/Community Strategy Center and the Bus Riders Union will hold an educational forum on the Cochabamba People’s Accord as part of their clean air, clean lungs, clean buses campaign.  The objectives of these educational activities is to build grassroots capacity to address the climate crisis directly.

These local struggles and other around the globe are connected by a common commitment to global well-being, the right to good living, the non-commodification of nature, and respect for the dignity of all peoples and of Mother Earth.  They are also connected by the  understanding that market-based carbon trading and carbon offset programs are barriers to achieving this vision, and will only intensify the ecological problems facing our communities.   

“GGJ is joining this Global Day of Action because we are an alliance made up of communities who have to deal with the harshest impacts of climate change,” said Cindy Wiesner, political coordinator of GGJ.  “We are communities of struggle in the U.S. joining international allies like La Via Campesina to demand that political leaders, including the Obama administration, reject false market-based solutions like REDDs in favor of local community solutions that can work on a global scale.”

This day of action is just one of many social movement events that will happen leading up to the Conference of Parties (COP) and UNCCC negotiations on climate change in Cancun.  Grassroots movements will converge at the negotiations November 29-December 10 to bring strong opposition to stop REDD programs that threaten forestland and indigenous people's homes livelihood and cultures, and to advance an agenda for grassroots solutions that reject false market-based policies in favor of real systems change.

Grassroots Global Justice is a national alliance of grassroots organizations building a popular movement for peace, democracy and a sustainable world. We support each other's local struggles and collaborate with international allies who share our commitment to building a transformative social justice movement beyond borders.  We work across issues and regions to develop agendas by and for working-class people, poor people, indigenous people and communities of color that can help lead to a good life for all.