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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

No Decisions About Us Without Us

It's about that time ya'll..Admist the growing pressure to make a deal inside and outside, police and conference officials have kicked into plan smack down. After arresting over 1,000 people at the march on Saturday, the police have begun to target movement leaders and armed with laws pre-passed locally that allow them to arrest anyone who looks like they might be planning actions or demonstrations. They are looking to head off and undermine what's going to happen anyway. Today.

The conference has restricted access to accredited delegates since Tuesday, only 1,000 people from civil society (that's for the whole planet!!) can come inside the meetings. On Friday, that number will be 90. On the inside, tensions flare at the apparent side meetings and back room deals being cut, talks are on the brink of collapse.

This morning thousands will march to the fences surrounding Bella Center, delegates with credentials in hand, demanding to come in under the slogan: No Decisions About Us Without Us!! More details and updates to come..

Monday, December 14, 2009

Phoenix Rising in the North-US Climate Justice Movements Support Real Climate Solutions

By Roxana Aguilar, SAJE/Los Angeles, California
Members from several US Environmental Justice and Climate Justice grassroots organizations met today inside the Bella Center to discuss our visions for climate justice in the United States and around the world. I felt honored to sit in the room with people who have fought for environmental and climate justice since before colonization.
We agreed to call an end to the ecological tyranny of our government in the States and abroad. It is no coincidence that the same countries who historically exploit(ed) our people are also at the forefront of driving false carbon market solutions that further degrade our human rights, our land, and our spirits.
We honored those in the US suffering from diseases and disproportionate pollution. We agreed to fight together. We shall rise like a phoenix from the ashes and raise our voices against climate injustice. Tomorrow we will march with our brothers and sisters from Via Campsesina for Food Sovereignty. Fight for and end to the exploitation of our indigenous brothers and sisters in sovereign nations in Mexico, Central America, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands, and communities of color in the United States! Fight for Climate Justice Now! Rise Phoenix, Rise!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

First impressions and status updates

I stepped out into the Copenhagen airport to the buzz of language and look of letters I could not make meaning of, struck by a feeling of curiosity of how and why pretty much for everything around me. It was a good feeling, curiosity is a good thing.

Copenhagen is clearly braced for this event, from all spectrums. The city is beautiful, a combination of modernity and antiquity. Upon arrival I linked up with Jacqui and Kalila, fellow travelers on the Movement Generation delegation, which includes folks from grassroots organizations primarily from Grassroots Global Justice and Right to the City Alliance. Gopal was ready when we arrived, giving us the most important information we needed to know – There are 100,000 marching in the streets heading to the bella center, with indigenous caucus at the head. Do you want to settle in or…do you wanna go!? You can imagine our answer.

So where are things at:

There are many issues at play, overall however the overarching debate seems to be whether or not the agreement coming out of Copenhagen is legally binding, or a revision and continuation of the Kyoto Protocols. The U.S. is pushing to kill the Kyoto Protocols, instead pushing a non-binding, and seemingly not specific or uniform commitment to reduce carbon emissions. Basically, they're saying - hey let's all go home and do what we can do and come back and talk about it again next year and share what we've done. That's right - despite the science, despite the fact that coming to this point most agree that something definitive and decisive must be done to avoid ecological disaster.

What's on the table is simply unacceptable for nations of the Global South. The President of the Maldives said he would not be willing to join in such a suicide pact. After details of a backroom deal being worked out, which included developed countries commiting to public financing 2010-201[2] to an average of [10 billion] annually to devleoping countries collectively, the President of the Pan African Global Climate Group shot back that this amount of money wouldn't even cover the costs for coffins for his people.

On another front, the forum is moving towards restricting access to the Bella Center on Tuesday, which is unprecedented in recent history. The majority of non-governmental participants will be excluded from the process. This exclusion of civil society may prove to be a pressure point towards action as the week goes on. There are a tremendous amount of issues at play with the goal of consensus, it is looking like an agreement is unlikely. Just today, it was announced that negotiations were suspended when nations of the Global South withdrew. The key question unfolding is - who gets to frame the outcome or lack of one?

the road to cop

Friday, 11 of December.

I sat with my arms wrapped around the back seat of a taxi cab, peering out at the clogged artery otherwise known as a new york city street on a friday night thinkin..ain't no way i'm gettin to this flight on time..

willie, el borinquen, had picked me up. on his way home, just after 5pm but said, 'mija, you looked too cold, i had to stop.' and i was thankful (and cold!). we cruised to John F Kennedy airport, talking about our favorite puerto rican restaurants - we agreed that La Fonda Boricua was tops. (Its on 106 between Lex and case you wanna try it). He told me he's lived in the city of New York since he was 8 years old, a native of El Bronx.

i took on willie's cool, and shook off my nerves at missing yet another flight. traffic all around us, and when he got an opening he didn't punch it, just cruised on through. for a minute i forget i'm on my way somewhere and that i'm late, but then he asks me where i'm going. and i answer - oh, yeah! copenhagen. 'a si?! y que hace un mexicanita como tu en ese lugar??' [oh yeah? what's a lil' mexican like you doing in that place?!]. and i sat back, and said the first words that came to my mind, 'To see if we're ready to save the planet.'