Report Back: Climate Justice in Copenhagen Conference Call

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Thanks to everyone who joined us for an excellent conference call discussion this morning, on Climate Change in Copenhagen. The Conference Call Series of WEA’s Women and Land Initiative highlights the work of Indigenous environmental justice leaders each month, and this month we were honored to speak with Tom Goldtooth and Jihan Gearon of the Indigenous Environmental Network.

Jihan is the Native Energy and Climate Organizer for IEN, and Tom is the Executive Director. Both are bound for Copenhagen next month, to ensure that this global policy-making forum fully accounts for the voices and experiences of Indigenous peoples and communities of color worldwide, and adequately redresses the economic and environmental inequalities at the root of climate change.

Jihan and Tom first spoke with us about the fundamentals of climate justice, which is a movement to alleviate the unequal burdens created by climate change, implicating a justice-based approach to climate policy. According to the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, people of color, low-income and Indigenous communities are usually the first to experience the negative impacts of climate change, including natural disasters, public health crises, and displacement. These communities bear a disproportionate burden from ill-conceived strategies like carbon trading, and from the impacts of mineral extraction and energy production systems which cause climate change.

Jihan shared with us the Ten Principles for Just Climate Change Policies in the U.S. Principle #1: Stop Cooking the Planet! Other principles include the protection and empowerment of vulnerable people and communities, the required participation of communities in climate negotiations, and the ceasing of fossil fuel exploration, among others.

We then moved into a discussion of Copenhagen, specifically, and global climate policy-making, generally. Our speakers shared that international decision-making processes have tended to both exclude Indigenous peoples and people of color, who are the most impacted by both climate change-inducing processes and the so-called “solutions” to those problems, and to actively reinforce systems of injustice.

As one example of many, the Bali Action Plan — adopted in 2007 in Indonesia — agreed on a comprehensive 2-year process culminating in decision-making at Copenhagen on long-term global goals for emissions reductions and other key concerns. However, the Bali Roadmap makes no mention of Indigenous peoples or traditional knowledge. These types of exclusions characterize the climate negotiations, and our speakers illustrated the paramount importance of advocating for Indigenous peoples and people of color to have a place at the negotiating table.

IEN calls for “ambitious action to rapidly stabilize the concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions to ensure temperature rise is well below 350 ppm CO2 equivalent, and for temperature rise to be limited to no more that 1.5 degree Celsius.” Such action cannot rely on schemes like cap and trade and REDD, which serve to further concentrate climate impacts in Indigenous peoples, low income people and people of color communities, and which do not adequately address the core concern of excessive energy consumption in the Global North.

Given this picture, what can we do? Jihan offered us a variety of practical means to work towards climate justice at home. By focusing on environmentally just and economically equitable sustainability efforts at the local and regional level here in the United States, and advocating for fundamental policy shifts around energy production and usage, we can move towards balance on earth.

Ultimately, our “shared vision must acknowledge the future survival of the Circle of Life [and] affirm the vital role of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. It is the Indigenous Peoples who have the knowledge to teach the world how to adapt and how to ensure a paradigm shift from the current economic model of development.”

We will keep a close eye on the climate negotiations in December, and will report back on the perspectives and experiences of Indigenous and people of color leaders as we receive updates.

Upcoming WEA event: Climate Justice in Copenhagen

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Women’s Earth Alliance presents the next call in the WEAving the Worlds Conference Call Series:

Climate Justice in Copenhagen : What’s at Stake for Indigenous Peoples and Communities of Color

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009 at 9AM Pacific / 10AM Mountain/ 11PM Central/ 12PM Eastern

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Next month, the world will be watching the United Nation’s Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, as negotiators attempt to agree on a new global framework for addressing climate change. Will the talks adequately include the voices and address the concerns of indigenous peoples and people of color, who experience the most immediate and egregious impacts of a warming planet? Join us to learn about the promises and perils of global climate policy from climate justice leaders on their way to Copenhagen.

“Let us work together to create just climate and energy policy that does not sacrifice one segment of our population and their way of life so that a privileged few can thrive.” – Jihan Gearon, Indigenous Environmental Network

Featured speakers will include:

The call will be moderated by Caitlin Sislin, Advocacy Director for WEA’s Women and Land Initiative.

“With rising temperatures, human lives—particularly in people of color, low-income, and Indigenous communities—are affected by compromised health, financial burdens, and social and cultural disruptions.” Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative

Please RSVP to events@womensearthalliance.org to receive call-in information. The call will last one hour and will be recorded for archival purposes.

 

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Event Series Finale a Huge Success

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WOW!

Tuesday’s event hosted with CommuniTree and Art in Action was such a special gathering of friends, colleagues, partners, family, and folks who were new to the work of Women’s Earth Alliance. As Joanna Macy noted during her talk, together, we certainly modeled an “adventure in collaboration!”

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The Brower Center’s first ever Eco-Art and Urban Farm Reception was fabulously coordinated by CommuniTree and Art in Action. The good sounds of master kora player Youssoupha Sidibe provided the perfect soundscape to experience the powerful work of Planting Justice, Mo’Betta Foods, Kulture Freedom, People’s Grocery, Oakland Food Connection, Healthy Hoodz, Farm Fresh Choice and Bamboo Bike ProjectRichmond Spokes!

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Last night was the third and last event in our event series WEAving the Worlds Fall 2009, Coming up From the Roots. We started this event series in September with Ashwini Narayanan from Microplace. She talked about the power of women and the potential of microlending to change the world. In October we learned about the green jobs movement from Vien Truong from Green For All and Wahleah Johns from Black Mesa Water Coalition.

Check out event photos on Flicker!

Join us! Joanna Macy and more on Tues, 11/10/09

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We’ve just returned from our 10 day journey through Northern India where we launched our Women and Agriculture Initiative (we blogged about it – take a look)!  Coming soon are pictures, a summary of the lessons we learned, and our next steps.  So stay tuned for that.  In the meantime…

Join us this coming Tuesday, November 10 for an energizing and  dynamic evening here at the David Brower Center.  It’s the last event in our WEAving the Worlds – Coming Up from the Roots event series (click here to learn about the first two events).  And it promises to be inspiring and fun.

Starting at 6:30pm : Eco-Art and Urban Farm Reception

Start the evening with a dynamic reception presented in partnership with Art in Action and CommuniTree, featuring sustainable agriculture and community resiliency projects including Green Media Arts Center, the first green arts and media center for low income youth in the Bay Area, along with live music provided by master kora player Youssoupha Sidibe.

 

Starting at 8:00pm : Amira Diamond and Joanna Macy

Amira Diamond, WEA’s Co-Director will report on WEA’s Fall 2009 India Women and Agriculture Learning Exchange.  She’ll tell us first-hand stories about women on the front lines of India’s sustainable agriculture movement; we’ll learn about communities creating resiliency through art and healthy solutions to our local and global food crises, and we will enjoy an artistic performance by Art in Action and CommuniTree.  Finally, we will experience the wisdom of Joanna Macy.

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Event details:

Reception 6:30pm, Program 8:00pm

David Brower Center, Goldman Theater

2150 Allston Way, Berkeley CA 94704

$15 in advance, $18 at the door

Purchase tickets here.  Activist tickets are available!

All proceeds to benefit Women’s Earth Alliance and CommuniTree.

Special thanks to our Promotional Partners Earth Island Institute, Young Women Social Entrepreneurs, Global Exchange, Global Fund for Women, HUB Bay Area, and Sacred Land Film Project.

And thanks to our event sponsors GreenHome.com and Back to Earth Organic Catering!

Coming Up from the Roots: another full house!

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Last night more than 75 people gathered for the second of three events in WEA’s Fall Speaker Series Coming Up from the Roots. It was dry and warm inside during the Bay Area’s first storm of the season. And the room was full of environmental leaders, fellow tenants of the David Brower Center, social justice activists, WEA Giving Circle members, friends, family and one 2 year old.

4017604819_f6fd8afb6e_oThis group gathered to learn more about WEA’s Women and Land Initiative, and to hear from four inspiring leaders:

  • Vien Truong of Green For All: Vien spoke about the critical need for working across sectors to create green jobs. She invited people to get involved, and you can learn more about her critical work forging a nationwide green jobs coalition here.
  • Wahleah Johns of the Black Mesa Water Coalition and WEA’s International Advisory Board: Her stories about passing legislation in the Navajo Nation for green jobs were inspiring! The focus, determination, creativity and sheer person-power to make that happen is humbling. You can read about it here.
  • Nina Simons of Bioneers. Nina talked about the power of women and what it means to be a woman leader. And that it’s Bioneers’ 20th year of convening social and environmental change leaders… Click here for more information about this year’s conference this weekend.
  • Adrienne Maree Brown of the Ruckus Society. She sang us a song that could be felt in our bones. It was a beautiful and peaceful way to end an evening.

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Our next event in this series, the final one of the season, will be held Tuesday, November 10 at 7pm. This will be a very special evening with Joanna Macy, a long time supporter of WEA and a member of our International Advisory Board. RSVP here.

 

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4017604859_2bcd8e999b_oWahleah Johns and Adrienne Maree Brown