Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Protests Around the World Call for Climate Justice at COP 17

People are coming together around the world to demand climate justice. Climate change activists continue their protests at COP 17 in Durban, South Africa and some of the protestors at the Occupy movement are also calling for "climate justice." While the occupy protests may lack the focus to auger meaningful change, they represent a mass-movement of people seeking social change.

On Saturday December 3, on what was called the "Global Day of Action", about 20,000 people from all over the world took to the streets to protest inaction in Durban. One of the protestors demands is the renewal of the soon to expire Kyoto Protocol, the world’s only legally binding agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Today will be the beginning of a strong movement that is going to challenge the rich nations of the world," said Global Day of Action subcommittee convenor Desmond D’Sa.

"We march today to show our outrage. We want to give the ministers, who will arrive next week, a clear message: You cannot continue to make excuses." Action Aid international climate justice coordinator Harjeet Singh

Protests in Manilla were one of scores of marches and rallies around the world on Saturday that demanded “climate justice.”

Nanay Leleng and other leaders of progressive organizations who marched toward the US Embassy last Saturday, in a parallel protest action with other environmentalists of the rest of the world, called on the public to help put pressure on these rich nations’ leaders as they confer in Durban, South Africa.

The poor are in fact the hardest hit by this climate change, said Nanay Leleng national president of Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), as she led protesters who marched to the US Embassy in Manila.

The ILPS, through the office of its chairperson, said in a statement, “those who pay lip service to environmental concerns deliberately refuse to come up with a binding international agreement on climate change, the monopoly capitalists wantonly continue its control, exploitation and consumption of world resources at the expense of the impoverished people and ravaged environments of the world.”

Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change told protesters in Durban: "You know where we stand, here with you." To make this more than a hollow statement, member states must also stand with protestors and make a consorted effort to make progress before the end of COP 17 on December 9.

A critical mass of the general population can help to push political leaderships to seriously engage efforts to address climate change. The world is increasingly united in its demand that leaders reach an agreement on environmental issues.

"We demand urgent and strong action on climate change. We can’t just keep talking and keep wasting time," Singh said.

As Greenpeace has said, it is time to listen to the voices of ordinary people not polluters.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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