Obama des Etats-Unis et Xi de Chine ont signé un accord climatique bilatéral

November 18th, 2014 by EARTH PEOPLES

Obama des Etats-Unis et Xi de Chine ont signé un accord climatique bilatéral. De nombreux media britanniques et américains et de nombreux Démocrates en Amérique ont présenté ce traité comme un grand pas en avant. Beaucoup de Républicains américains l’ont attaqué sous prétexte qu’il irait trop loin.

On peut penser que si les Républicains sont contre, alors cela peut être une bonne chose ? Et bien non, en fait il s’agit d’un accord désastreux.

Regardons d’abord les chiffres.

Les Etats-Unis ont accepté de réduire leurs émissions de gaz à effet de serre par 28% en dessous du niveau 2005 d’ici à 2030. Mais 2005 a été l’année où les émissions des USA ont été les plus élevées. Elles ont déjà diminué de 10% en 8 ans. Obama maintenant promet qu’elles diminueront encore de 18% en 15 ans.
La Chine a signé pour atteindre ses émissions maximum d’ici 2030. La croissance économique chinoise est actuellement 10% par an. Si cette croissance continue, les émissions chinoises en 2030 seront quatre fois plus élevées qu’elles ne le sont maintenant. Mais la croissance économique ne va pas continuer ainsi et il y aura d’ici-là des progrès sur l’efficacité énergétique. Malgré cela, il s’agit en fait d’une promesse de doubler les émissions chinoises pour 2030.

Les USA et la Chine produisent entre eux presque la moitié des émissions CO2 mondiales (45%). Si les USA les réduisent par 18% et la Chine double ces émissions, cela signifie que le total augmentera par un tiers.

Malheureusement, la réalité est encore plus alarmante : même s’ils réduisaient leurs émissions par deux, ces deux pays continueraient à augmenter les quantités de CO2 émises dans l’atmosphère chaque année et donc la planète continuerai de réchauffer. Mais, au contraire, ils se sont mis d’accord pour augmenter la quantité de CO2 émise ! C’est une promesse de continuer à réchauffer la planète encore plus vite chaque année !

Mais ce n’est pas tout. Après quinze ans d’augmentation des émissions, nous allons devoir réduire ces émissions encore plus vite pour retourner au niveau de départ. Même si ces deux pays réduisent leurs émissions aussi vite qu’ils les augmentent pour le moment, nous ne pourrions retourner au niveau présent qu’après 2040. Et ces émissions présentes, tout le monde est d’accord qu’elles sont trop élevées.

Et il y a encore pire ! Toutes ces promesses, ne sont que des promesses. Rien de légal ne force ces pays à les tenir. Et ces promesses sont à propos de 2030. Ce ne sont même pas des promesses de réduire les émissions par 1% l’an prochain !
Mais, enfin, le plus pire du tout, c’est le fait que ce soit un accord entre les USA et la Chine. Deux hommes représentant deux pays prennent les décisions pour le reste du monde. Ils ont confiance que tous les autres pays, c’est- à-dire sept milliards d’humains, les suivront.

Leurs personnels ont négocié cet accord dans le plus grand secret. Toute la panoplie de négociations des Nations Unies, le traité de Kyoto, toutes ces réunions, ces experts, ces négociations, tous: redondants. Le Président des Etats-Unis et le Président chinois décide l’avenir du monde. Et ils ont pris la mauvaise décision.

C’est pour cela que la «Campaign Against Climate Change» fait campagne pour un million d’emplois climatiques, un véritable investissement dans l’emploi qui peut réduire les émissions et créer des emplois. Comme l’a dit Naomi Klein, nous avons besoin de mouvements sociaux de masse pour agir contre le changement climatique. Et c’est pourquoi, comme beaucoup, nous cherchons à mobiliser les gens pour des manifestations importantes le 7 Mars 2015 et durant le COP à Paris en Décembre 2015.

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Press Conference by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

October 22nd, 2014 by EARTH PEOPLES

16 October 2014

Good morning

It is a pleasure to meet you, six weeks after taking up this post. I feel extremely honoured to have been appointed High Commissioner for Human Rights – a position that has been gaining in strength through the tenure of each and every one of my predecessors.

Together with my staff, we have a mandate to “protect and promote” human rights for everyone everywhere. That is a truly daunting responsibility, especially when – by comparison with the needs – our capacity to deliver is paper thin.

I have to say I am shocked.

Shocked that just six weeks into this job, I am already having to look at making cuts, because of our current financial situation. This comes at a time when our operations are stretched to breaking point in a world that seems to be lurching from crisis to ever more dangerous crisis.

Human rights are currently under greater pressure than they have been in a long while. Our front pages and TV and computer screens are filled with a constant stream of Presidents and ministers talking of conflict and human rights violations, and the global unease about the proliferating crises is palpable. The UN human rights system is asked to intervene in those crises, to investigate allegations of abuses, to press for accountability and to teach and encourage, so as to prevent further violations. Time and time again we have been instructed to do these and other major extra activities “within existing resources” – which is like being asked to use a boat and a bucket to cope with a flood.

Human rights is recognized as one of the three pillars of the UN system, the others being development and peace and security. There has also been the clear recognition, in the Human Rights Up Front initiative, that without good governance, rule of law and human rights protection, peace and development efforts can be seriously compromised. For 2014 and 2015, OHCHR was allocated only about US$ 87 million per year – a small fraction of the regular budget allocations to the peace and security and development pillars. The Swiss population, including all us foreigners living here who love Swiss chocolate, paid over 10 times this amount on chocolate last year.

My Office currently receives around 3 percent of the UN regular budget. This covers about a third of its total expenditures. A number of States are discussing raising our regular budget allocation to an initial 5 percent over the next few years. I heartily endorse this proposal and urge its adoption as soon as possible.

In the meantime, most of our funding depends on voluntary contributions, to cover almost all of our field activities around the world as well as essential support work at headquarters, and even some core mandated tasks, as well as substantial hidden costs arising from others. However, the current level of voluntary contributions is insufficient to cover this level of activity.

By “mandated tasks” I mean our support for the ever more active Human Rights Council, for which we act as Secretariat; our support for the growing number of Special Procedures mandate-holders and to the human rights Treaty Bodies; and our support for the increasing number of commissions of inquiry and fact-finding missions requested by the Security Council or by the Human Rights Council. There are currently no fewer than six of these under way, with a seventh possibly just around the corner. Prior to 2013, it was unusual for there to be even two of these running concurrently.

Please don’t get me wrong. We welcome these tasks, which are a reflection of the increasing priority being placed on human rights by governments, and their growing willingness to confront violations, to order invaluable in-depth examinations of major human rights crises and to prevent their recurrence. But year after year we have to battle to find the resources to fulfil all these tasks, and more and more often we are having to decline requests to undertake additional activities and to establish new presences to support Governments in their efforts to improve their records. Despite strong backing from many donors, the level of contributions is not keeping pace with the constantly expanding demands on my Office.

The extent of OHCHR’s fund-raising difficulties has grown ever more stark over the past few weeks. To put it bluntly, we are going to be at least US$ 25 million short of our needs for this year.

Resolving this extraordinary disconnect between what we are asked to do and what we are given to do it with, is a top priority. The Office has to be put on a more stable footing if it is to do justice to its extensive and visionary mandate. It seems that we can no longer rely on Governments to match all our needs, let alone fund some of the extra activities we ought to be undertaking if we are to take that mandate seriously. So we will have to push forward the discussion about how to draw on additional sources of funding.

OHCHR has developed a results-based management system to streamline and focus our work. But at present the Office is as lean and tightly run as any organization I have seen. The staff works with impressive dedication and skill, despite extreme hardship conditions in many field operations.

The Office is stretched to its limit, with some desk officers obliged to cover seven or eight countries or to support multiple independent human rights experts and committees; a sprawling, impenetrable web-site that needs a complete overhaul; and not one single staff member focusing full-time on an issue as stark and vital to human rights as climate change – with its multiple implications for displacement, statelessness, land-rights, resources, security and development.

We are already paring back everything we can, and services are starting to suffer. States come to us asking for technical assistance programs, but it is becoming increasingly likely that we will have to turn them down. These include programs to help vet security and police personnel and train them to respect human rights and refrain from torture. We also risk having to turn down some requests for assistance with legal reforms to rewrite unjust and discriminatory laws.

We have asked to open country offices in Honduras and Burundi, and I am far from certain that we will be able to do so. Some states have asked us to retain presences that we may instead have to close down for lack of sufficient resources. And we have dozens of pending requests for human rights advisors to be deployed to UN field presences. This is a deplorable situation. There should be UN human rights offices everywhere they are needed, and certainly everywhere they are wanted.

My predecessor, Navi Pillay, publicly flagged the funding problems back in 2011, but I think that many people at the UN, myself included, failed to grasp the scale of the issue because she and the staff were doing such a remarkable job, despite their threadbare resources. This is not sustainable.

I could list the several-billion-dollar budgets of other UN entities. But I don’t wish to imply that I want to divert funds from them, because humanitarian agencies in particular need every cent they can get, especially when we are now seeing the largest number of forcibly displaced people since World War II. Refugee and migratory movements are predominantly the product of human rights violations, including those that occur during conflicts, as well as persecution, poverty, failure to protect and fulfil social and economic rights, and discrimination. Migratory movements are also often fuelled by a failure to respect the right to development, which encompasses social, economic and civil and political rights.

Again, to put it into a perspective everyone can relate to – without trying to trivialize the following expenditures – a single new highway bridge often costs as much or more than our overall annual budget of around US$ 250 million. We are asking for less than the amount Americans were forecast to spend on costumes for their pets at Halloween – and that includes my family who live in New York. And during the 12 months ending 30 June 2014, the amount spent on iPhones would fund the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for 391 years. Or put another way, our entire annual budget was the equivalent of one day of iPhone sales during that period.

We are not asking very much. And some Governments – in fact most Governments – of countries with huge economies are devoting very little to the international human rights system, despite talking loudly and proudly about human rights in their foreign policy.

Any number of business tycoons could pay off our missing 25 million without blinking – and I would be very grateful if one did. But, frankly they shouldn’t have to. States created the office of the High Commissioner. They created the international human rights system and they should ensure we have the necessary resources to support it.

When the UN Human Rights Office cannot afford to put people on the ground – to monitor, to report, to train, to advocate – the cost may be high. Much of our work is about contributing to prevention. Prevention of violations, prevention of conflict, prevention of the spread of disease too – something I will come to shortly. When human rights go wrong, the price the people of the world pay in bloodshed, in wrecked economies and paying for humanitarian aid is simply titanic – in the tens if not hundreds of billions. Even one mid-sized crisis averted through good human rights groundwork would pay back the modest UN human rights budgets for decades to come.

I will now turn to two monumental crises which will inevitably cost us all many billions to overcome. The twin plagues of Ebola and ISIL both fomented quietly, neglected by a world that knew they existed but misread their terrible potential, before exploding into the global consciousness during the latter months of 2014.

The ability of Ebola to lay waste to human lives on an immense scale is now being realized. Its potential to devastate the human rights of those who survive, of entire countries and regions, is barely being considered. Underestimating the critical importance of human rights – in particular the right to health, to education, to sanitation, to development and to good governance – played in creating this crisis in the first place has barely been discussed.

Human rights are not an airy ideal. They address epidemics and similar threats to life very directly. Human rights can prevent disease, and they can also help cure disease. It is vital that human rights be integrated into the response to this appalling tragedy, because only a response that is built on respect for human rights will be successful in quashing the epidemic.

Ebola thrives at the intersection of chronic poverty, failure to deliver adequate public services, and failures of public trust in the authorities. It should be obvious that any response must address those points. We must also beware of “us” and “them”, a mentality that locks people into rigid identity groups and reduces all Africans – or all West Africans, or some smaller, national or local group – to a stereotype. As the international community accelerates its medical assistance, it is also vital that every person struck down with Ebola be treated with dignity, not stigmatized or cast out. Not only is it wrong to dehumanise and stigmatise people; this kind of discourse also drives people who need treatment into hiding, which reduces their chances of recovery and exposes others to risk.

My Office is also drawing up guidelines on quarantine, because, if imposed and enforced injudiciously, quarantine can very easily not only violate a wide range of human rights, but in so doing accelerate the spread of diseases like Ebola. I also want to point out that the introduction of criminal penalties into public health responses is very likely to backfire, by driving the epidemic underground. And placing people who may have the disease in overcrowded prisons will obviously simply compound the catastrophe.

Now to turn to the world’s other most active and destructive agent: ISIL.

ISIL is the antithesis of human rights. It kills, it tortures, it rapes, its idea of justice is to commit murder. It spares no one – not women, not children, nor the elderly, the sick or the wounded. No religion is safe, no ethnic group. It is a diabolical, potentially genocidal movement, and the way it has spread its tentacles into other countries, employing social media and the internet to brainwash and recruit people from across the globe, reveals it to be the product of a perverse and lethal marriage of a new form of nihilism with the digital age.

But ISIL, like Ebola, did not arrive out of the blue. ISIL was able to spread insidiously and then, once it had gathered enough momentum, to storm across borders from Iraq into Syria and from Syria back into Iraq, and from its cameras and computers via YouTube into our homes.

A mission is under way, as requested by the Human Rights Council in its special session on Iraq, to investigate alleged human rights violations and abuses that have been, and are being, committed in the country. And I repeat my call to the Government of Iraq to consider acceding to the Rome Statute, and, as an immediate step, to accept the exercise of the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction with respect to the current situation.

As well as working with UNAMI to produce regular updates on the terrible situation in northern Iraq, we intend to issue another updated count of reported deaths in Syria before the end of the year. We do not yet know the precise grim tally that statistical analysis will reveal, but I can tell you it will be well over 200,000 reported deaths since the killing of the first innocent protestors by Syrian Government forces in March 2011.

Sadly, Ebola, Syria and Iraq are not the only explosive tragedies affecting the world. Just in the region I come from, there is continuing conflict in Yemen, Libya and recently in Gaza. We are also engaged in serious dialogue about human rights issues in Bahrain and Egypt, as part of our efforts to grapple with long-standing human rights deficits and serious violations in several countries in the region, including the entire occupied Palestinian territory.

In Europe, there is Ukraine, where – as our report last week showed – people continue to be killed despite a tenuous cease-fire.

In Africa, conflicts and violations, including sexual violence, continue in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Mali, worsening the already chronic poverty, lack of food security and arrested development. In Asia, the appalling and protracted human rights situation in the DPRK is finally on the international radar thanks to the efforts of the International Commission of Inquiry, and of Navi Pillay who urged the Human Rights Council to set up that Inquiry. We note the recent stated willingness of DPRK to accept for the first time technical assistance in relation to the Human Rights Council.

The migrants of the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and the Americas – fleeing poverty and hopelessness, conflict and persecution, as well as organised crime and insecurity, continue to die in their desperate efforts to find a better, more dignified life. Or, if they make it, they risk experiencing exploitation, and increasing racism and xenophobia in their destination countries. In parallel, there is an alarming increase in the number of major political parties in European and other industrialized countries proposing, and on occasion implementing, regressive and even abusive migration policies, often forming coalitions with smaller xenophobic parties or co-opting their policies. The voices that protest such policies are increasingly drowned out.

I have painted a bleak picture of the world of human rights facing the new High Commissioner. But it is far from bleak in every respect.

While no country is perfect, I believe – notwithstanding everything I have just said – that human rights are now being widely upheld in more countries than ever before. It seems to me that the broad trajectory of humanity is a positive one, and that in an increasing number of communities and countries, all human beings are seen as fully equal in dignity, and their rights are largely observed. Within families and within nations, despite all the violations and conflicts I listed earlier, violence and discrimination have broadly speaking decreased in the past few decades, and continue to do so.

Credit for that should go to all those countless brave and committed men and women – civil society activists, journalists, lawyers, state employees and politicians – who over the decades have eventually succeeded in firmly rooting international human rights norms in their societies. It is our job, in the UN Human Rights Office, to help them as best we can.

And that is perhaps the biggest privilege that I will experience as High Commissioner. Because what these people have achieved over the past couple of centuries, and what they will continue to achieve in this one, is one of the most remarkable things in the history of mankind. That is something the likes of ISIL will never understand, and for that reason humanity will eventually prevail.


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69th General Assembly of the United Nations Ministerial meeting of 25 September 2014 “Regulating the veto in the event of mass atrocities”

September 26th, 2014 by EARTH PEOPLES

I would like to thank the organizers of this meeting, France and Mexico, and particularly Minister Laurent Fabius, for leading this important discussion on whether the Security Council’s permanent members should refrain from using the veto in situations of mass atrocities. I am honoured to be invited to participate.

The privileges granted by the UN Charter to the Council’s Permanent Members come with responsibilities of course. For the proper functioning and the legitimacy of the UN collective security system, it is crucial the Council acts – and is seen to be acting – in ways that further the objective of securing global peace and security, in conformity with justice and international law. The narrower political, economic or commercial interests of one State, should not trump this or, at the very least, should provide no shelter to those who perpetrate gross human rights violations, crimes against humanity, war crimes or genocide – the world’s worst criminals.

All Member States, including the Council’s permanent members, have legal obligations regarding protection of the lives and dignity of human beings. These include peremptory norms, or jus cogens obligations, that are incumbent on all States; and other obligations arising from States’ accession to specific treaties. States must respect the objects and purposes of the relevant norms and treaties, and must at the very least refrain from undermining them.

Thus, Member States should refrain from decisions which would undermine or obstruct action that seeks to further these norms. Surely, ladies and gentlemen, a State-Party to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which has undertaken to prevent and punish genocide, should not, according to this logic, impede collective action of the Security Council when it is designed to prevent genocide? And in the case of grave breaches of international humanitarian law or war crimes, then surely States-party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions – as are all five permanent Council Members – which have committed not only to respect those Conventions but also to ensure their respect – should not block action by the Council that would uphold those Conventions?

It is a moral and a legal obligation to save lives. In recent years, the Council’s inability to take decisive action regarding a number of appalling crises has led to enormous, avoidable, human suffering. It has shaken confidence in our institutions. It has granted time and space to the perpetrators to commit more violations, and made them far less likely to provide access to UN officials or to respond to their concerns.

Therefore, from a human rights perspective, the adoption of a code of conduct on use of the veto, in very specific circumstances where well-founded facts demonstrate that international crimes are occurring or about to occur, would demonstrate on the part of the permanent members of the Council that quality of leadership and responsibility which our world so badly needs. The status quo is ultimately harmful for all, primarily for the victims of course, but also for the Council’s standing and legitimacy, and therefore for the capacity of the UN to deliver peace and stability where they are needed most desperately, on the ground.

Members of the Council have been mandated to act collectively in the pursuit of peace and security. They have a clear and urgent responsibility towards the women, men and children who are threatened by war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The power to use the veto is, like all powers, a power to be exercised responsibly.

A commitment not to use the veto when quick and decisive action is needed to avert or halt gross human rights violations, war crimes and other international crimes would have a powerful preventive effect: would-be perpetrators may, in many instances, refrain from engaging in such crimes if they expect the Council to act promptly and decisively.
Thank you. 7.6 minutes

André-Michel Essoungou
Public Information Officer
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
New York Office (OHCHR NYO)
United Nations
E-mail: essoungou@un.org
Tel: +1 (917) 367-9995
Web: newyork.ohchr.org

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Climate Justice Resurfaces amidst New York’s Corporate Sharks

September 25th, 2014 by EARTH PEOPLES

By Patrick Bond

Hope for action on climate change comes not from the apparently paralysed heads of state and their corporate allies, but from grassroots activists.

The world’s largest ever march against climate change on Sunday brought 400,000 people to the streets of New York, starting a lively parade at Central Park. On Tuesday, 120 of the world’s political leaders – notably not including the Chinese and Indians – gathered 25 blocks away at the United Nations. The message they got from society was symbolised by the march route: instead of heading towards the UN building, the activists headed the other way, west.

This directional choice reveals that hope for action on climate change comes not from the apparently paralysed heads of state and their corporate allies, who again consistently failed on the most powerful challenge society has ever faced: to make greenhouse gas emissions cuts necessary to halt certain chaos.

Instead, momentum has arisen largely from grassroots activists, even those fighting under the worst conditions possible, amidst denialism, apathy, corporate hegemony, widespread political corruption and pervasive consumer materialism. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the place which according to Pew Research polling of major countries, suffers the second most poorly educated citizenry on climate (only 40 percent acknowledge it is a crisis): the United States itself. (Keep travelling west and the country with the least knowledge of climate – only 39 percent are informed – emerges on the horizon: China. In Brazil, awareness is 76 percent.)

So the main encouragement offered by this march, for me as a witness to similar but smaller outpourings of protest at UN Summits in Copenhagen, Cancun, Durban, and Warsaw between 2009-13, comes from the harsh terrain crossed, especially at gaudy Times Square: amongst the most culturally insane, ecologically untenable and politically barren on earth. The US not suffers a congressional science committee led by Republican Party dinosaurs who deny climate change, but its civil society is populated by far too many single-issue campaigning NGOs unable to see outside their silos, defeatist environmentalists many of whom are coopted by big business, and mild-mannered trade unions scared to engage in class and environmental struggles.

Nevertheless, it is here in the US that the most extraordinary victories have been won by climate activists against coal-fired power plants (300 have either been shut or prevented from being constructed). In addition to a huge battle against Canadian tar-sand oil imports, which included 1200 arrests at the White House three years ago, there are countless micro-struggles against fossil fuel extraction and refining sites, whose activists made up the most vibrant delegations at the march.

Many of the battles involve black, Native American, Latino and low-income people, who because of an exceptionally wicked history of environmental racism – akin to South Africa’s systematic dumping of pollution on blacks – have had to take leadership where the ‘Big Green’ NGOs comfortable in Washington DC have failed miserably: insisting on justice as a central component of social-ecological harmony.

This movement named itself ‘Environmental Justice’ in 1982 when deadly toxins were dumped in a North Carolina landfill and African-American communities fought back. In earlier times, the cry was ‘Not In My Back Yard!’ (Nimby) – but as critical mass emerged and links became clear between oppressed people who saw that their plight was not just local racism but systemic ecocide, it became ‘Not On Planet Earth!’ (Nope!).

As climate activists increasingly became concerned with justice since the early 2000s, beginning perhaps most forcefully with Ecuadoran eco-feminist NGO Accion Ecologica’s work in the Amazon, slogans rang out: ‘Leave the oil in the soil, the coal in the hole, the tar sand in the land, the shale gas under the grass.’ Beyond just conservation, these slogans reflected front-line concerns as well as the need for the Global North to pay its climate debt and begin a Just Transition to post-carbon civilisation.

In New York on Sunday, a renewed Climate Justice Alliance – a name I last heard in Copenhagen five years ago – was the main network connecting dozens of these struggles by people of colour (especially Indigenous Peoples) across North America. They offer a vision that includes a fairer distribution of costs and benefits of climate policy, and a transformative view of a world economy that must go post-carbon and post-profit if our species and countless others are to survive.

What the march did, better than any other event in history, was demonstrate the unity of activists demanding genuine emissions cuts and government funding of an alternative way of arranging society. Whether public transport, renewable energy, organic agriculture oriented to vegetarian diets, new production systems, a shift in our consumption norms, new ways of developing cities (so as not to resemble ghastly US suburban wastelands) and even ‘zero-waste’ disposal strategies, the huge crowd showed support for genuine post-carbon alternatives.

Public health activists in the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power warned of resurgent opportunistic infections thanks to climate change. Anti-war activists connected the dots between global warming and Middle East and African oil, as well as renewed water wars. Democracy activists noted the Koch brothers’ and other fossil fuel corporations’ malign influence in Washington and state capitals. Dozens more such groups related their particular concerns to our more general survival.

Even better, not a single sign I witnessed over six hours traipsing back and forth from start to finish promoted establishment ‘fixes’. We have been bombarded with ‘false solutions’ by business and their government allies in climate policy debates the past fifteen years: carbon trading, carbon capture and storage (‘clean coal’), lacing the air with sulphur as a coolant, dropping iron filings in the ocean to create algae blooms (to suck up CO2), biofuels which cause landgrabbing, nuclear energy, genetically modified organisms and other geo-engineering frauds.

That was surprising because the social media campaigning group Avaaz.org had paid for signs plastering New York subways this week, hinting at corporate greenwashing. “What puts hipsters and bankers in the same boat?”, one Avaaz advert asked, on a backdrop of ocean water, illustrating the commonality of our plight. This was also a reference to the October 2012 flooding of Wall Street by Superstorm Sandy, shutting off the subway as waters rose to the tune of $60 billion in damages – a profound wake-up call to the climate-sleepy, politically backward island of Manhattan.

Sorry, Avaaz allies, in my experience nothing but trouble comes from inviting bankers into coalition. After all, they cannot even sort out their own industry’s messes, and evidence of their involvement in climate politics is appalling. Banker logic promotes carbon trading, in which the air itself is privatised and sold to the highest bidder. It has been a disastrous experiment in the European Union since 2005 where carbon credit prices fell nearly 90 percent amidst persistent scamming.

Many feared that for-profit ‘Green Economy’ gimmicks like carbon trading – resurgent now in California, China, South Africa, Brazil and Korea – would result from a big march lacking a central demand. As activist-writer Arun Gupta put it the day before the march, in Counterpunch ezine: “This is one of those corporate-designed scams that in the past has rewarded the worst polluters with the most credits to sell and creates perverse incentives to pollute, because then they can earn money to cut those emissions. So we have a corporate-designed protest march to support a corporate-dominated world body to implement a corporate policy to counter climate change caused by the corporations of the world, which are located just a few miles away but which will never feel the wrath of the People’s Climate March.”

It was a valid fear, yet Gupta’s critique proved excessively cynical. The prevalence of eco-socialist and anarchist marchers generated repeated anti-capitalist slogans. No one believes that the UN promise to ‘put a price on carbon’ can incrementally address the crisis, given how erratically the trading mechanisms have so far set that price, in a world continually battered by financial speculation.

So on Monday, several more thousand hard-core activists turned out at “lood Wall Street, which the Occupy Wall Street movement helped prepare. The planning session I attended was beautifully illustrated by activists using the water metaphor as a way to show participants the ebb and flow of people, attempting to block roads and access to the stock market and nearby banks, amidst an anticipated police crack-down. Even though New York City now has a progressive Democratic Party mayor, Bill de Blasio, there continue to be persistent police abuses, what with the return of the notorious chief Bill Bratton.

But on Monday from 9am-6pm, 3000 activists took first Battery Park at the island’s southern tip, then achieved a seven-hour long occupation of Broadway at the site of the Wall Street raging bull statue. Though police ultimately arrested 100, what with the world’s media glare they were under pressure from de Blasio not to bust heads in the process.

The crowd had been revved up by Canadian writer Naomi Klein whose new book, This Changes Everything, explicitly challenges capitalism as a mode of production. And from Cape Town, so too did Archbishop Desmond Tutu again call for divestment from fossil-fuel corporations, and reinvestment in post-carbon technologies.

The UN heard mostly meaningless babble from heads of state on Tuesday – for example, South Africa’s Jacob Zuma trying to pretend that three massive new coal-fired power plants, widespread fracking, vast increases in coal exports and deep-sea oil drilling all underway now can be made consistent with cutting emissions by 34 percent by 2020, as he promised in Copenhagen. But the hundreds of thousands who turned out on Sunday and a hundred thousand more across the world who had solidarity marches show conclusively that while there remains paralysis above, there is movement below. Climate justice has just received a new lease on life.

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Like a Dull Knife: The People’s Climate “Farce” (Quincy Saul, Truthout)

September 19th, 2014 by EARTH PEOPLES

By Quincy Saul, Truthout

In the lead-up to any large-scale protest, it is useful to bear in mind the potential dangers and drawbacks of such an endeavor. On the eve of what is being advertised as “the biggest climate march in history,” we might reflect on Malcolm X’s experience of the March on Washington, as recounted in the Autobiography of Malcolm X:

“Farce in Washington”, I call it. . . . It was like a movie. . . . For the status-seeker, it was a status symbol. “Were you there?”. . . . It had become an outing, a picnic. . . . What originally was planned to be an angry riptide, one English newspaper aptly described now as “the gentle flood”. . . . there wasn’t a single logistics aspect uncontrolled. . . . They had been told how to arrive, when, where to arrive, where to assemble, when to start marching, the route to march. . . . Yes, I was there. I observed that circus.

Of course, not everyone present concurred with Malcolm X about the March on Washington – and even in a top-down format, one hopes the upcoming march could draw much-needed attention to the climate movement. The question is: At what cost? In this vein, what follows are a few reflections on the buildup to the September 21 People’s Climate March in New York City, to provide some concrete analysis of concrete conditions, and propose some solutions.


The climate justice movement has an expiration date. If the tipping points in the earth system are passed, and the feedback loops begin their vicious cycle, human attempts at mitigation will be futile, and climate justice will become an anachronism – or at worst a slogan for geo-engineering lobbies. Thousands of scientists have come to consensus on this point, and many years ago gave us a deadline: A carbon emissions peak in 2015 followed by rapid and permanent decline.

In other words, we have roughly four months to work for climate justice. The world is literally at stake; all life on earth is at risk. Never has there been a more urgent or comprehensive mandate.

Even the guardians and gatekeepers of the ruling class, from politicians to scientists, are forthcoming on this point. Listen to Al Gore: “I can’t understand why there aren’t rings of young people blocking bulldozers, and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power plants.” He said that in 2007. It is in this context that we must seek to better understand and analyze the People’s Climate March.

“An Invitation to Change Everything”

The People’s Climate March has a powerful slogan. It has world-class publicity. But the desire to bring the biggest possible number of people to the march has trumped all other considerations. The results are devastating:

No Target: The march is a U-turn through Times Square, beginning at a monument to genocide (Columbus Circle) and ending . . . in the middle of nowhere. Here in New York City where the ruling class of the whole world has made their diverse headquarters, the march will target none of them. The march will not even go near the United Nations, its ostensible symbolic target.

No Timing: The United Nations will convene leading figures from all over the world – several days after the march. The march does not coincide with anything, contemporary or historic.

No Demands: Again, to attract the largest number of people, the march has rallied around the lowest common denominator – in this case, nothing. Not only are there no demands, but there is in fact no content at all to the politics of the march, other than vague concern and nebulous urgency about “the climate,” which is itself undefined.

No Unity: While a large number of people are sure to converge on Columbus Circle on September 21, the only thing they will have in common is the same street. The revolutionary communists will link arms with the Green Zionist Alliance and the Democratic Party, and compete with Times Square billboards for the attention of tourists and the corporate media.What is the binding agent for this sudden and unprecedented unity? Fifty-one years later, the words of Malcolm X still ring true: “the white man’s money.”

No History: Instead of building on the momentum of a decades-old climate justice movement, this march appears to be taking us backwards. Here’s what Ricken Patel of Avaaz, one of the main funders of the march, said to The Guardian: “We in the movement, activists, have failed up until this point to put up a banner and say if you care about this, now is the time, here is the place, let’s come together, to show politicians the political power that is out there on there.”

It is as if the massive mobilizations outside the United Nations meeting in Copenhagen (2009), Cancun (2010) and Durban (2011) never took place, let alone the literally thousands of smaller, more localized actions and gatherings for climate justice. At all of these gatherings, activists convoked the world to demonstrate the power of the people, under banners which were far more radical and transformative than anything we have seen so far for this march.

No Integrity: The invitation to change everything has been permitted and approved by the New York City Police Department. This permit betrays a lack of respect for the people who will be making sacrifices to come all the way to New York City to change the world, and a lack of integrity among those who want to change everything, but seek permission for this change from one of the more obviously brutal guardians of business as usual. This lack of integrity sets up thousands of earnest souls for an onset of depression and cynicism when this march doesn’t change the world. This will in turn be fertile soil for everyone and anyone hawking false solutions.

No target, no demands, no timing, no unity, no history and no integrity amounts to one thing: No politics. The whole will be far less than the sum of its parts. The biggest climate march in history will amount to something less than Al Gore.

In discussions over the past month with a wide range of people – UN diplomats, radical Vermonters, unionists, professors, liberal Democrats, etc. – the same thing has been repeated to me by everyone: “If we get a huge number of people, no one will be able to ignore us.” “The mainstream media will be forced to cover it.”

So what is being billed and organized as The People’s Climate March, and An Invitation to Change Everything, turns out to be a massive photo op. The spectacle of thousands of First World citizens marching for climate justice, while they continue to generate the vast majority of carbon emissions, brings to mind the spectacle of George W. Bush visiting New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

So what are we left with? James Brown knew, when he said: “You’re like a dull knife; Just ain’t cutting. You’re just talking loud; And saying nothing. Just saying nothing. Good luck to you; Just allow you’re wrong. Then keep on singing that; Same old money song . . .”

So What Are We Going to Do About It?

This is not the place to complain, but to propose solutions. If we are unsatisfied with this march and its leadership, we have to provide an alternative. As James Brown knew, we “have to pay the cost to be the boss.” Here are some suggestions for starters:

We are going to stop lying to the people. This is the primary and cardinal rule of revolutionary politics. To invite people to change the world and corral them into cattle pens on a police-escorted parade through the heart of consumer society is astoundingly dishonest. From now on, we will stop lying to people. Climate justice requires nothing less than a global revolution in politics and production; it requires a historic transition to a new model of civilization, which will demand great sacrifice and creativity from everyone.
We are going to stop making demands of anyone or anything but ourselves and each other. The powers that be are deaf, dumb and deadly, and we will waste no further time trying to pressure or persuade them. We are going to stop speaking truth to power and start speaking truth to powerlessness. Either we are going to become the leaders we have been waiting for, starting now, or we are going to resign ourselves to the inevitability of catastrophic climate change and the sixth mass extinction.
We are going to return to the source. This means three things: (A) Return to the common people from the delirious heights of symbolic protest politics, with dedication to concrete local work, to divorce food, water, shelter and energy systems from capital. (B) Return to the livelihood and wisdom of our ancestors, the indigenous peoples of every continent, who have lived for thousands of years in harmony with nature, and who still possess the knowledge and skills to restore balance. (C) Return to the sun – a second Copernican revolution and a heliocentric energy policy. Either we return to a subsistence perspective that has prevailed for the majority of human history, or all future development of productive forces must be based exclusively on solar energy.
We are going to get arrested! The only thing that we can do to meet the deadline for climate justice is to engage in a massive and permanent campaign to shut down the fossil fuel economy. But we have to do this strategically, not in the symbolic cuff-and-stuffs that are a perversion and prostitution of the noble ideals of civil disobedience and revolutionary nonviolence. So we are going to shut down coal plants; we are going to block ports, distribution centers and railway hubs where fossil fuels are transported; whatever it takes to keep the oil in the soil. We’re going to put our bodies between the soil and the sky.So let’s make sure that the call to “Flood Wall Street” on September 22 is the “angry riptide” it should be, and not “the gentle flood.”
We are going to join the rest of the human race. For 200 years too long, citizens of the United States have been parasites and predators on the rest of the world. To prevent climate catastrophe, we are going to leave our imperial hubris behind, and join with the revolutionary ecosocialist uprisings that are sweeping the global South.

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Berlin: Aufruf zur gemeinsamen Teilnahme an der Klimademo am Sonntag, 21.9.2014

September 19th, 2014 by EARTH PEOPLES

Liebe Mitstreiter,
gemeinsam mit Tausenden von Demonstranten in New York, London, Paris und weiteren Städten auf allen Kontinenten wollen wir die Politiker, die am Klimagipfel 2 Tage später teilnehmen, an ihre Verantwortung für diese Welt erinnern! Die Filmaufnahmen dieser Demos werden auf der Konferenz gezeigt werden.

TREFFPUNKTE am 21.9. um 14:30 Uhr
14 Uhr – Alexanderplatz – Fußgänger Demo mit Silent Climate Parade.
14.30 Uhr – Mariannenplatz Kreuzberg – Fahrrad-Demo
16.30 Uhr – Potsdamer Platz/Ebertstraße (Vor ‘Vapiano’) – Kinder- und Familiendemo

All drei Demozüge führen zum MAL SCHNELL DIE WELT RETTEN am Brandenburger Tor.

In Richtung Straße des 17. Juni wird es eine eine Schnippeldisko-Vokü geben, Upcycling-Events und Workshops sowie Infos und Diskussionen mit Umwelt- und Klimagruppen.

Wir sammeln uns an den angegebenen Treffpunkten. Abmarsch Richtung Brandenburger Tor – Ankunft Brandenburger Tor: ca 17 Uhr. Dort beginnt dann eine große Kundgebung mit vielfältigem Programm bis in die späten Abendstunden. Wir sollten dort noch eine Weile beieinander bleiben. Zwischen 17:30 und 18:00 Uhr werden Luftballons auf den Weg nach New York geschickt.

Die Demos sind als Silent Climate Parade konzipiert: das heißt für die Fußgänger TANZEND zum Brandenburger Tor zu ziehen. Die Musik dazu kommt über Kopfhörer, die man sich individuell am Neptunbrunnen bei den Hauptveranstaltern ausleihen kann (Ausgabe ab 13 Uhr, Personalausweis dabei haben!). Abgabe der Kopfhörer ab 17 Uhr am Brandenburger Tor.

Weitere Informationen:
Alle Aktionen auf dieser Demo sind umweltfreundlich, Musik wird über Kopfhörer gehört, auch die Luftballons, die zwischen 17.30 Uhr und 18.00 Uhr am Brandenburger Tor auf den Weg nach New York geschickt werden, sind biologisch abbaubar.

Bitte auch Information in Englisch lesen: Like a Dull Knife: The People’s Climate “Farce” (Quincy Saul, Truthout)Klick hier

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Berlin: Aufruf zur gemeinsamen Teilnahme an der Klimademo am Sonntag, 21.9.2014

September 19th, 2014 by EARTH PEOPLES

Liebe Mitstreiter,
gemeinsam mit Tausenden von Demonstranten in New York, London, Paris und weiteren Städten auf allen Kontinenten wollen wir die Politiker, die am Klimagipfel 2 Tage später teilnehmen, an ihre Verantwortung für diese Welt erinnern! Die Filmaufnahmen dieser Demos werden auf der Konferenz gezeigt werden. Unter der Regie von Avaaz wird eine Großdemo vom Alexanderplatz zum Brandenburger Tor führen.

UNSER TREFFPUNKT am 21.9. um 14:30 Uhr
Alexanderplatz, Nähe Neptunbrunnen am Bauzaun Richtung Rotes Rathaus. Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/eAWbX

Wir sammeln uns am angegebenen Treffpunkt. Abmarsch Richtung Brandenburger Tor ca. 15 Uhr. Ankunft Brandenburger Tor: ca 17 Uhr.Dort beginnt dann eine große Kundgebung mit vielfältigem Programm bis in die späten Abendstunden. Wir sollten dort noch eine Weile beieinander bleiben. Zwischen 17:30 und 18:00 Uhr werden Luftballons auf den Weg nach New York geschickt.

Die Demo ist als Silent Climat Parade konzipiert: das heißt TANZEND zum Brandenburger Tor zu ziehen. Die Musik dazu kommt über Kopfhörer, die man sich individuell am Neptunbrunnen bei den Hauptveranstaltern ausleihen kann (Ausgabe ab 13 Uhr, Personalausweis dabei haben!). Abgabe der Kopfhörer ab 17 Uhr am Brandenburger Tor.

Weitere Informationen:
Alle Aktionen auf dieser Demo sind umweltfreundlich, Musik wird über Kopfhörer gehört, auch die Luftballons, die zwischen 17.30 Uhr und 18.00 Uhr am Brandenburger Tor auf den Weg nach New York geschickt werden, sind biologisch abbaubar.

Mehr Info in Englisch hier

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Marina e o velho poder colonial

September 19th, 2014 by EARTH PEOPLES

Por Elder Andrade de Paula, Professor Associado do CFCH/Universidade Federal do Acre.

Ao deparar-me com essa fotografia em que Marina Silva escuta Fabio Feldman (SP) lembrei-me imediatamente do livro de Frantz Fanon intitulado Pele negra máscaras brancas. Particularmente da introdução feita por Samir Amin em uma edição de 2009 intitulada Piel negra máscaras blancas (Ediciones Akal, Madrid, España).
Ao tratar das relações entre colonialismo interno e externo, Samir Amin afirmava o seguinte: “Os fenômenos de colonialismo interno se produzem pelas combinações particulares da colonização da população, por uma parte, e a lógica da expansão imperialista, por outra” (Amin, 2009; 5).
Considero Marina Silva uma representação de “tipo ideal” desse amalgama de colonialismos interno e externo. O circulo de poder que a envolve opera nessa dupla dimensão. Deve-se considerar que sua formação foi fortemente influenciada pelo ambiente politico e ideológico que permeou a “modernização” capitalista no estado do Acre nas quatro ultimas décadas. Após a expansão do colonialismo interno capitaneado pela ditadura militar aconteceu a transição para um capitalismo verde que reciclou o colonialismo externo, valendo-se, sobretudo, da instrumentalização dos conceitos de “mudanças climáticas”, “desenvolvimento sustentável” e “governança ambiental” como versículos da nova catequese da “sociedade civil”. O indevido uso da imagem de Chico Mendes tem servido para legitimar essa “pregação”.
A trajetória de Marina deve ser entendida nesse contexto. Num primeiro momento, na condição de atingida diretamente pela expansão colonial interna, participa das lutas de resistência como militante da esquerda revolucionária (Partido Revolucionário Comunista-PRC).Naquele período, além desse tema do colonialismo interno não aparecer como relevante em boa parte dessa esquerda, ele acabava sendo reproduzido nas suas práticas politicas. As relações com a “intelligentsia” do Sudeste e Sul do Brasil eram também marcadas por certo sentimento de inferiorizacão. Em síntese: no momento em que teve maior proximidade com o pensamento crítico, Marina não teve a oportunidade de estudar e compreender o colonialismo interno como fenômeno marcante da formação social dos países periféricos em especial os latino americanos. Ou o que pode ser ainda pior: assimilou pela esquerda o que potencializaria posteriormente pela direita.
No momento seguinte, após dois mandatos parlamentares (vereadora de Rio Branco e deputada estadual), aproximou-se do poder oligárquico regional capitaneado por Jorge Viana e chegou ao Senado (1995) onde completou sua adesão ao establishment. Na condição de senadora e em seguida na de ministra do Meio Ambiente transitou com mais intensidade e desenvoltura em redes transnacionais vinculadas aos “negócios ambientais” e ao mundo das finanças, bem como aquelas ligadas à esfera religiosa. A conversão ao Neopentecostalismo parece decisiva na assunção do papel que passou a cumprir na reprodução do velho poder colonial.
No exercício do primeiro mandato de senadora (1995-2002), o seu gabinete teve papel ativo nas estratégias de atuação do Programa Piloto para a Proteção das Florestas Tropicais(PPG7) junto a “sociedade civil” na Amazônia. O seu marido, Fabio Vaz, foi coordenador (1996-99) do Grupo de Trabalho Amazônia (GTA) , ONG criada por iniciativa do Banco Mundial para servir de mediadora, como representante da “sociedade civil” nesse Programa gerenciado pelo referido Banco.
Entre outros feitos, o GTA articulado com grandes ONGs ambientalistas internacionais, atuou decisivamente na cooptação do Conselho Nacional dos Seringueiros e outras centenas de organizações sindicais e não sindicais atuantes na esfera da sociedade civil. Os resultados dessa política são bastante conhecidos, conforme mostramos em diversas publicações, como a indicada no link a seguir http://revista.fct.unesp.br/index.php/nera/article/viewArticle/1391.
Nos seis anos que ocupou o cargo de ministra do Meio Ambiente, Marina não mediu esforços para institucionalizar a agenda do capitalismo verde. O Ministério do Meio Ambiente (MMA) foi transformado em uma “trincheira institucional” por grandes ONGs internacionais, como a WWF e promoveu avanços consideráveis na atualização dos colonialismos interno e externo na Amazônia, como ilustra a arquitetura do Plano Amazônia Sustentável (PAS), acalentado carinhosamente por Marina como “sua criação”.
Sob a gestão de Marina no MMA, os servidores do IBAMA conheceram de perto sua “nova política”, quando realizaram uma greve contra o desmonte do órgão levado a cabo via Medida Provisória. As intenções com essa medida foram claramente facilitar o licenciamento para os grandes projetos e potencializar as politicas de privatização dos bens comuns.O caso mais emblemático dessa privatização dos bens comuns foi a iniciativa de encaminhar para o Congresso e aprovar em tempo recorde (um ano)a Lei 11284/2006 que instituiu o regime de concessão de florestas públicas para fins de exploração privada. Estamos tratando de algo em torno de 50 milhões de hectares de florestas na Amazônia.
Além desse presente para as corporações ligadas ao comercio internacional de madeiras tropicais, incentivou-se a exploração madeireira dita “sustentável” com o argumento de que combateria a “exploração ilegal”. Bom para a WWF que, em seis anos, teve o salto da área de exploração certificada com o selo do FSC (vinculado a WWF) de aproximadamente 400 mil para 3 milhões de hectares de florestas (Relatório de Gestão do MMA 2003-2006; p. 54). Na mesma página do referido Relatório informa-se que as “florestas plantadas” (nome pomposo para designar monocultivo de eucalipto) saltaram de 300 mil para 600 mil há/ano. Basta.
O que não foi possível concretizar no MMA avançou bastante no estado do Acre, graças ao empenho das oligarquias aliadas de Marina e também de seu marido Fabio Vaz que participou do “governo da Frente Popular” até agosto do corrente. Nesse estado – apresentado por grandes ONGs ambientalistas internacionais como “modelo de economia verde”- está em curso um processo acelerado de desregulamentação para intensificar a mercantilização e financeirização da natureza. Os resultados preliminares dessa mega espoliação podem ser vistos no Dossiê: O Acre que os mercadores da natureza escondem http://www.cimi.org.br/pub/Rio20/Dossie-ACRE.pdf
Enfim, procuramos mostrar que Marina não é uma incógnita como insistem em repetir os grandes meios de comunicação. Eles a tratam assim não por “desconhecimento” mas por convencimento de sua eficácia para ocultar os interesses das grandes corporações capitalistas envolvidas também na sua candidatura. Marina, com essa trajetória, identificada com a matriz do capitalismo verde e com o domínio colonial subjacente, se for eleita tentará conduzir as políticas de governo de forma mais submissa ao imperialismo comandado pelos Estados Unidos da América e seus aliados. Tudo indica que as repercussões negativas desse fato nas lutas emancipatórias no Brasil e na América Latina seriam muito fortes….

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After the Climate March, Then What? Flood Wall Street

September 19th, 2014 by EARTH PEOPLES

By Rachel Smolker, Co-director, Biofuelwatch

This coming week in New York City promises to be interesting. Ban Ki Moon has called for the UN Climate Summit where President Obama and other heads of state will likely call for voluntary measures and vague aspirations at the beck and call of the corporations that currently have a stranglehold on the global economy. A week of climate related events will be brought to the city by “The Climate Group”, courtesy of Duke Energy, Goldman Sachs, BP, Swiss Re and others.
The Peoples Climate March, neatly permitted and funded, is scheduled for the day prior to the summit. Chris Hedges refers to the march as “symbolic” . Quincy Saul referred to it as a “farce”, with “no politics”. Anne Petermann points to the lack of demands and “big umbrella” approach, as a recipe for false solutions.

Those critiques may be on the mark, but perhaps it can also be argued that such big umbrella symbolic actions have some merit here in the U.S. where deniers have sown such a vast ocean of ignorance and confusion.

In any case, there is one rather clear advantage: many people will be in NY.

Some will be content to call on “them” (congress, politicians, the UN, the Pope, Grandma…) to write a blank check for some unspecified “action on climate”. They will play right into the hands of the corporate wolves in sheep’s clothing who peddle false solutions and have laid elaborate and deceiving plans for profiteering from the climate crisis.

But there are also many with a deep and abiding understanding of the depth and breadth of the climate, economic, ecological, social, political crisis we are facing and its’ common twisted roots. They will not just travel to NY, march in an orderly and permitted fashion, and then go quietly home afterwards feeling satisfied and personally redeemed.

They will be there, some long beforehand, doing the serious heavy lifting required to build a movement. They will be participating in the “Convergence for People, Planet and Peace Over Profit”, discussing strategy, sharing knowledge and forging plans for the future monumental task that is “System Change Not Climate Change”. They will link up to learn from and build solidarity with frontline communities and activists atThe People’s Summit.

They will stick around after the march to get on with the relentlessly demanding work of building the “post-march world” which means moving mountains, confronting the criminal corporate behemoths, speaking truth to power, putting their hearts, souls and lives on the line to make and shape a just, peaceful, healthy and yes, even potentially beautiful, future.

What less can we aspire to?

Those who will take on this task are mothers and fathers who care for future generations. They are people who cannot simply accept the drowning of nations and starvation and violent obliteration of millions. They are people who cherish and understand the intricate grace of nature and mourn its brutally evident dying. They are those who can still hear the voices of their ancestors calling on them to live honorably as stewards on this earth.

They are people who understand that climate change is not just one among an army of issues, but rather it is the “perfect storm” of all issues — a sum greater than all its parts, spawned by a convergence of abuses: from wars and genocides to drilling, pumping, burning and mining the place to ruins, from racism, sexism and colonialism, to spewing toxic chemicals, mowing down ecosystems and poisoning the oceans.

Climate Change is not just an “inconvenience” to be resolved by plugging into some other currency of extraction (“sustainable, green and renewable” energy). It is the defining context of our lives and of this time in the history of life on earth.

To lessen the damages, push back the tides, and save what remains, including our own little skins, will require no small measure of change. No little tweakish reform here or there, a little money trickling down from the 1 percent over there, a green job for him and a solar panel for her will get us close to where we need to go. It will demand system change of a sort we can barely yet imagine.

Naomi Klein’s new book This Changes Everything articulates the situation simply and artfully: “the problem is not carbon, it is capitalism.”

So, the first step following the march promises to be a bold one, aimed straight at the heart of the raging beast of capitalism: Wall Street. On the morning of the 22nd, taking their cue from Occupy Wall Street, a flood of blue people will gather at Battery Park and then move to “flood” the New York Stock Exchange, to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience, directly confronting the system that both both causes and profits from the crisis at the expense of life.

Here’s to a fierce, invigorating and boldly targeted step for the climate justice movement. Bring on that better and beautiful future!

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September 19th, 2014 by EARTH PEOPLES

Original article here

-The Responsible Agricultural Investment (RAI) Principles being negotiated under the auspices of the CFS (Committee for World Food Security) are meant to promote responsible investment in agriculture and food systems that contribute to food security and nutrition, and support the progressive realization of the right to food. They address the core elements of what makes investment in agriculture and food systems responsible; identify who the key stakeholdersare, and their respective roles and responsibilities with respect to responsible investment in agriculture and food systems. They are meant to serve as a framework to guide the actions of all stakeholders engaged in agriculture and food systems. [cited from the text, here: http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/cfs/Docs1314/rai/Endorsement/CFS_RAI_Principles_For_Endorsement_Ver_11_Aug_EN.pdf
-Since 2013 there have been 3 intergovernmental sessions to negotiate the RAI principles, involving all sectors — member states, civil society, the private sector, etc. The May negotiations were not completed due to a large number ofdisagreements about definitions, scope, roles and responsibilities, and an additional session was added for August. At this session the negotiation came close to completion but Canada objected to the text related to Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), resulting in this text (paragraph 9iv) of the text being bracketted. This document is now intended for approval by the CFS Plenary (Oct 13), but there are the problematic brackets.
-There is lots of diplomacy underway to try to get Canada to remove its objection. The CFS governing bodies (Advisory Group and Bureau) would of course prefer to resolve the bracketed FPIC text as soon as possible, and is having discussions to resolve this. The CSM [Civil Society Mechanism] who also participates in the Advisory Group, feels there is still need the maximum outside pressure to make this happen. Even though pressure is mounting from other member states [even the US removed their objection to this language], Canada has stood alone in the past.
-In August, several organizations in Canada issued statements, wrote to Canada’s reps in Rome, and/or sent notifications to their networks in early August during the RAI negotiations. These include: Food Secure Canada, the National Farmers Union, and the Council of Canadians.
-Through the CSM, indigenous and other networks are putting pressure on Canada and go to the media in the coming 2 weeks. This is in tandem with the support and statements coming from the International Indigenous Treaty Council that is meeting in Oklahoma this week.
Mani Jorge Stanley and Taina Lady, who are indigenous reps involved in the RAI negotiations, have issued a statement that was presented to the CFS Advisory Group [see below]. Statements and support from Canadian First Nationsnetworks and others is following suite.
– Canada is now the ONLY country standing in the way of ratifying the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (RAI). If Canada had agreed to the text the RAI agreements would have been signed this past August. Canada’s stance puts the entire RAI negotiations in danger, goes against the views of the majority of states, and the overwhelming support within the Committee for World Food Security (CFS), and the wider international community for curbing irresponsible investment.
– The only text that has NOT been agreed on reads “[Effective and meaningful consultation with indigenous peoples, through their representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent under the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples and with due regard forparticular positions and understanding of individual States;] (principle 9(iv) in this document:
– This text is lifted directly from the previously-negotiated Voluntary Land Tenure Guidelines, and viewed by civil society as the MINIMUM text needed protect FPIC. FPIC is included in the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples and in declarations by the UN General Assembly.
– Civil Society is wary that weakening the text here, will create precedent and weaken it in other agreements as well. This issue is a non-negotiable ‘red line’ for the CSM – and indicated to the CFS Advisory Group and Chair yesterdaythat CSM will not support the agreement in the absence of this text on FPIC.
– Ironic Factoid: The last day of negotiation was August 8th. Late into the evening, everything was bracketed/table for a subsequent meeting, only a few hours shy of The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples celebrated every year on Aug 9th!
– Canada’s objection is clearly linked with its agenda and interests in resources domestically and internationally.
More Info on RAI: http://www.fao.org/cfs/cfs-home/resaginv/en/

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