Communications Goals and Strategy for 1000 Durbans and COP17


Communications Goals

  • Highlight CJ and EJ issues and local struggles against pollution, expose corporate and military polluters
  • Connect local struggles to UN climate talks’ corporate agenda: REDD/offsets, “market-based solutions”, soil carbon and blue carbon trading.
  • Tell stories about community-based solutions and how they cool the planet
  • Build the profile of the climate justice movement in the US by connecting petition action to internationalist grassroots organizing for climate justice

II. Key Assumptions To Challenge: These are the frames we are fighting

We all have equal responsibility for climate change: This is the fundamental failure of the U.S. media narrative to understand or accept core concept of “climate debt,” and its underlying logic which is the recognition that the USʼs wealth is due in part to polluting the planet, which has robbed the South of opportunity. The Wall St Journal COP-15 coverage coined the meme “The Great Climate Shake-Down,” which echoes U.S. envoy Todd Sternsʼ “categorical rejection of guilt, culpability or reparations.”

Carbon absorption should have a Market Value: REDD (and carbon offset schemes in general) assumes that all carbon is equal, place doesnʼt matter and plantations are forests. Traditional knowledge/different cosmovisions, Indigenous Peoplesʼ rights and local impacts are left out of the frame.  Also ignores the value of non-commodification of nature and the moral argument that nature’s labor should not be traded on a financial market.

Assigning nature a market value is the best way to protect it: the notion that REDD and other carbon offset programs will lead to greater conservation of forests, wetlands, etc. simply because they now have a price on them and are owned as carbon offset territories.

The Market Will Save Us: Carbon Markets/offsets/REDD rely on assumptions that the market is fair, efficient and a necessary part of any global solution; Where governments fail, the market is the solution.  This ignores the possibility of a carbon bubble in which the rich will get richer from speculating on carbon while the 99% suffer from increased carbon emissions, land grabs, and commodification of water, soil and forests.

Carbon Fundamentalism: The assumption that “Itʼs just about the atmosphere” and “Itʼs a science problem” while the systemic roots of the crisis in the dominant economic model are left outside the frame.

Technology will save us!:  Grows out of carbon fundamentalism and the market narratives to promote techno-fixes (from geoengineering to GE biofuels) that distract us from systemic change.

Only the governments/UN can save us: Community solutions and social movements are left out of the frame.


III. Our Overarching Narrative

Some of the key messages we want to send fall within this version of the story:

Problem: Stop the 1% from profiting from pollution! The climate crisis is escalating, but the UN process is failing to address the roots of the problem. This is because the UN agenda is primarily driven by industrialized nations like the U.S. who are more interested in securing corporate profit than in making the visionary changes necessary for a just transition away from fossil fuels. 17 COPs and each year we are feeling more impacts of climate destabilization on our communities, cultures and ecosystems––drought, floods, destruction and displacement. But the U.S. and other wealthy governments are refusing to take responsibility, while each year the COP process becomes more corrupted by pollution-profiteers, fossil fuel interests and the Wall Street agenda.   

Solution: Tens of thousands of people will be gathering across the world on December 3 to demand urgent solutions to the climate crisis. As part of a joint call to action from La Via Campesina and Grassroots Global Justice, members of frontline communities disproportionately impacted by climate disruption and environmental racism will gather in Cancun and in 20 cities across North America to show the world that there is another way forward: The Cochabamba People's Agreement represents the vision of everyday people from all corners of the globe who are creating the solutions to climate change from the ground up, and calling for a global framework that respects human rights and the rights of Mother Earth.

Action: Community-based solutions cool the planet! We are coming together to take collective action as part of the "1,000 Durbans" global day of action, and to build mass peoples movements calling for Climate Justice! We are here to stand up for a global framework for just transition off of fossil fuels. We are here to oppose false solutions like carbon offsetting, which give polluters permission to poison our land, water, air, and bodies - and do nothing to address the root causes of climate change. Together community-based solutions can get our economy off of fossil fuels and on track to a just future for all.