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From the People’s Social Forum to the People’s Climate March!

Demand Climate Justice at the People's Climate March
By: 
Michelle Winter

August 6, 2014

A month after the People’s Social Forum (August 21-24 in Ottawa), the People’s Climate March (Sunday, September 21 in New York City) will be the largest climate march in history.
 
Over 550 organizations from across North America are mobilizing to bring people to the march—including Indigenous, environmental and labour organizations. World leaders of government, business, finance and civil society will also be heading to New York that week for Climate Summit 2014 on September 23.
 
UN Summit
The mandate of this UN Summit on Climate Change is to “galvanize and catalyze climate action,” asking (these leaders) “to bring bold announcements and actions to the Summit that will reduce emissions, strengthen climate resilience, and mobilize political will for a meaningful legal agreement in 2015.”
 
It’s billed as a unique opportunity for leaders to champion an ambitious vision, anchored in action that will enable a meaningful global agreement in 2015: “The Summit will be an important milestone to mobilize political commitment for the conclusion of a global agreement by 2015, as well as to spur enhanced action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build climate resilient communities.”

This is a distinctly different and more energetic tone than has been set for past summits. It indicates a certain awareness of intensifying pressure. So let’s go!
 
It’s an historic summit on climate change and one that the folks at peoplesclimate.org are constructively, hopefully and peacefully building the march around. Since the actions of heads of state to date have sent a clear message that “we, the people” aren’t being heard (and therefore don’t matter) we have to continue to raise our voices high and en masse.
 
People’s Climate March
As the march organizers write: “With our future on the line, we will take a weekend and use it to bend the course of history… In New York City there will be an unprecedented climate mobilisation—in size, beauty, and impact. Our demand is a world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet. In short, a world safe from the ravages of climate change.”
 
As noted on peoplesclimate.org “this moment will not be just about New York or the United States. Heads of state from around the world will be there, as will the attention of global media. We know that no single meeting or summit will ‘solve climate change’ and in many ways this moment will not even really be about the summit. We want this moment to be about us—the people who are standing up in our communities, to organise, to build power, and to shift power to a just, safe, peaceful world. To do that, we need to act—together…With our future on the line and the whole world watching, we’ll … take to the streets to demand the world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities.”
 
Given the urgency of the climate crisis, this particular change is past due, and we need to be there to call for it now.
 
Save the planet, sink Harper
Harper and the provincial Premiers’ inhumane record on climate change demands a strong response and presence from north of the border. The Council of Canadians, 350.org and the Canadian Labour Congress are supporting the march, organizing contingents and buses, and we need to be organizing similarly through our other unions and organizations. If you’ve always wanted to be an organizer, this is an excellent place to start and there’s a ton of great information at peoplesclimate.org about how to organize a bus, so no one needs to reinvent the wheel.
 
After the march we need to continue organizing and spreading this movement throughout our neighbourhoods, schools, universities and colleges, and our workplaces.
 
Capitalism created, and is worsening the climate crisis. Capitalism is founded on the colonization of indigenous land, endless extraction from nature’s finite resources, and the exploitation of workers regardless of the consequences for people and the planet. Through the climate justice movement we can see a glimpse of a better world—of indigenous sovereignty, environmental sustainability and green jobs. To get there we need to connect every fight for reform to a revolutionary transformation of society and of our relationship with nature. Only a world run by people, not profit, can heal our planet.
 
So on September 21 bring your noise makers, drums, banners and your beautiful voices. Oh, and don’t forget your passport—the border creators are ever vigilant.
 
How to participate
Find a bus from Toronto or Ottawa to New York:
Toronto 350: www.bit.ly/350bus
Council of Canadians: www.bit.ly/CoCbus
Organizers transportation page: www.bit.ly/gettomarch
 
You can also find the People’s Climate March on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/301805359975258/
 
Can’t make it to New York? Join or organize a march locally: www.bit.ly/localmarch

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