Dear Global Exchange Supporter,
Global Exchange recently returned from Mexico where we joined thousands in Cancun for the United Nations COP16 – Climate Change Conference. Here's our story:
We assembled in the paradoxical location of Cancun, Mexico – the site of unsustainable mega-tourism, to talk about the impacts of climate change on communities and present real solutions to the perilous situation we are in.
We brought a message of hope, and a set of just, concrete solutions for addressing the urgent climate crisis facing all of humanity. Effective climate legislation. Realistic and achievable emissions targets. Protections for ecosystems and the communities that inhabit the planet. Recognition of the rights of nature.
We were ready to make something happen. To raise the voices of the thousands of grassroots communities around the world demanding real solutions.
But we were turned away. Sent back. Shut out. Handed false solutions.
But we are NOT giving up!
We need solutions. What we got from the negotiators in Cancun were the kinds of market-based mechanisms that do nothing to address the root cause of the problem. A social, cultural, and economic framework that is based on the idea of limitless growth, of boundless consumerism, of treating the earth as a thing to be used and abused at our leisure.
There is another way, and we’ve seen it.
When we met with members of the international community in Cochabamba, Bolivia for the People’s World Conference on Climate Change last April,1 it was clear that there are people out there (and a lot of them) who recognize the true roots of the problem we’re facing. In fact, the 35,000 participants in this groundbreaking event signed on to the People’s Accord. This document proclaims the untrammeled right of the earth to exist, of streams to flow, of trees to grow, and calls on the governments of the world to recognize these rights and to protect them. The Bolivian delegation to the UN talks presented the People’s Accord but found that they were marginalized out of the final ‘agreement’ that was reached in Cancun.2
The lesson from Cancun is clear. We cannot rely on government officials meeting in plush golf resorts to offer us solutions. If we want to be heard at the UN, then we need to go home and build the revolution of change in the places where we live.
We will to link arms with our friends and build a real movement for rights—for nature and for our communities.
The solutions will come from organic farmers and social entrepreneurs. They will come from activists who confront corporate polluters. They will come from passionate environmentalists putting even more pressure on their governments. They will come from those fighting for climate justice in their communities around the globe. Ultimately, they will come from a grassroots global movement steeped in the values of mother nature.
They will come from us.
Join Global Exchange in promoting climate rights and in passing local laws that protect the rights of nature and our rights to a healthy planet and future.
To support this work and receive a copy of the report we launched in Cancun, "Does Nature Have Rights: Transforming Grassroots Organizing to Protect the People and the Planet," participate in our Give a Gift of Membership program.
To learn more about our experience in Cancun – check out our Climate Justice Blog.
1. Planet and the People First: A Global Exchange Report Cochabamba, Bolivia 2010.
2. "Bolivia Decries Adoption of Copenhagen Accord II Without Consensus," Global Exchange Climate Justice blog.