- by Patrick Mazza
|Join the EarthAction Network|
|As an individual|
|As an organization|
|Update Your Membership Information|
|What We Do|
|Who We Are|
|Board of Directors|
|Action Alert Archive|
|Yearly Campaign Reports|
- by Patrick Mazza
by Patrick Robbins
Getting your mind around climate change is hard. Confronting it requires us to deal with the ways that coal, oil, and gas have shaped nearly every aspect of our world, from our built environments to our economic systems — even our ideologies and patterns of thought. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t concrete actions each of us can take, right now. Here are 20 examples of things YOU can do (some details are US-specific).
1. Reorganize the mode of production so that surplus and capital is distributed equally throughout society, and workers have decision-making power over their labor.
2. Find out about fossil fuel projects being built or proposed in your neighborhood (most of which can be found in the records of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or the Environmental Protection Agency) and mobilize your community against them. Read these excellent resources on how to start organizing your community and spread them far and wide.
3. Understand that while climate change affects us all, there are specific populations who are more vulnerable than others — these are low-income communities, communities of color, coastal communities and communities on the frontlines of fossil fuel extraction. Find a frontline organization near you and offer to support their work. Ask them what kind of help they need and take direction from them.
4. Lay off the policeman, the commodities trader, the real estate agent and the speculator in your head.
6. After you’ve read about the crisis, let yourself feel grief. Don’t ignore your feelings, either through resignation or through forced optimism. Feel what you feel.
7. Talk about your feelings with your family and friends. Talk about what matters to you, about what the climate crisis threatens in your life. And when they are ready, talk with them about taking action. You will learn things that you didn’t know about your loved ones, and you will discover allies in unexpected places.
8. Find out if your local politicians have ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Call out any politician that participates in or is a member of groups designed to give corporations the power to write the law.
9. Become an active voice in your community, writing letters to the editor in local papers and building an internet presence to spread information.
10. Do not fall into the trap of feeling contempt for your fellow human. These feelings are guaranteed to undercut your work. If you encounter resistance, consider carefully where that resistance comes from. Radical empathy is not only good for the soul, it will actually make you a more effective activist.
11. Look in the mirror. Do you see someone with job security? Someone who is in a position of privilege within your society? Think about how you can use this privilege to destroy the systems that created it — for instance, you may have less to lose than others by getting arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience.
13. Build resilience — support spaces that are growing food, going off-the-grid, or supplanting the capitalist state in providing for our basic human needs. If you are able to do so, consider building these spaces yourself.
14. Don’t blame the poor — don’t blame the worker whose industry job is the only job he could get, don’t blame the woman who buys carbon-intensive food for her family because that’s all that her budget and her neighborhood has to offer, don’t blame the big family in the developing world that doesn’t have access to family planning. The poor are not the problem. If you need to blame anyone, blame the ruling class that controls the options available to poor people in the US and around the world, and whose policies, consumption habits and ideology are far, far more responsible for the crisis.
15. Again — don’t blame the poor. Seriously.
16. Walk by yourself at night under the dark sky. Recognize that you only have one life, that you have more power than you realize, and that there is a grace and a joy that comes from using that power for something bigger than yourself.
17. Recognize that the climate crisis is complicated — no one person is going to solve it by themselves, and any “list” that suggests as much is probably lying, or at the very least advancing an individual-based value system that sounds suspiciously like advertising.
18. Go ahead and make changes to your consumption habits. But also remember that no slave was ever freed by individuals choosing to purchase products that are free from slave labor.
19. Truly addressing the crisis will require building people power on a scale that the world has never seen before.
20. Build that power. I wish you so much more than luck.
Patrick Robbins is a writer, researcher and activist based in Brooklyn. He is currently working with Sane Energy Project toward the goal of an entirely renewable New York, and was an active member of Occupy The Pipeline from 2012 to 2014.
This articles was originally posted on This Changes Everything.
Image source: WWF
World War I, known at the time as the Great War, was thought to be the war that would end all future wars. All sides suffered an incredibly high number of needless deaths, and the war devastated an entire generation. In fact, the sheer amount of destruction and death has only been eclipsed by World War II.
Since it ended, all countries involved have held memorials to remember their fallen dead who sacrificed their lives for the good of their country. This fact is all the more so in England, where nearly a million people lost their lives. What they've done to commemorate their fallen soldiers is truly beautiful, while also helping us understand the true scope of these soldiers' sacrifice. Even a hundred years later, we should not forget their incredible acts of heroism.
Regardless of why their countries went to war, we should never forget the selfless acts of these brave men. Please share their story, and help remember their lives.
- On the heels of the September 21 People’s Climate March, a broad international network of NGOs is marking the first United Nations-led International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons by announcing plans for a major mobilization in the run-up to the critically important Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference. The NPT Review will be held at UN headquarters in New York City in April and May 2015.
Quoting the Call to Action, which was released today (see attached), Dr. Joseph Gerson of the American Friends Service Committee and a co-convener of the network said that “A nuclear weapon-free world can and must be achieved.” He continued, “The dangers of nuclear war didn’t disappear with the end of the Cold War. The United States and Russia engaged in potentially catastrophic nuclear weapons drills in the first days of the Ukraine War. ‘All options’ remain on the table threatening Iran, the U.S. has flown simulated nuclear attacks against North Korea, and scientists now tell us that an exchange of between 50 and 100 of the world’s more than 16,000 nuclear weapons would result in a global famine resulting in an estimated two billion deaths.”
Jackie Cabasso of the Western States Legal Foundation and also a co-convener of the international network, said: “The nuclear powers have refused to honor their legal and moral obligation to begin negotiations to ban and completely eliminate their nuclear arsenals. As we have seen at the United Nations High-Level Meeting for Disarmament and at the Oslo and Nayarit Conferences on the Human Consequences of Nuclear Weapons, the overwhelming majority of the world’s governments demand the implementation of the NPT. “We are working with partner organizations in the U.S. and other nations to mobilize international actions to bring popular pressure to bear on the 2015 Review Conference.”
The Spring 2015 Mobilization will highlight the inextricable connections between preparations for nuclear war, the environmental impacts of nuclear war and the nuclear fuel cycle, and military spending at the expense of meeting essential human needs - with $100 billion spent annually on nuclear weapons. The network demands that “the parties to the NPT …use the 2015 Review Conference to immediately, without delay, develop a time-bound framework for negotiating the elimination of their nuclear arsenals” and that the “four states outside the Treaty that have nuclear arms, India, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan….join any such negotiations.” Additional demands are to address the causes of climate change, and to cut military spending to meet human needs and to create green jobs.
"We have never faced a crisis this big, but we have never had a better opportunity to solve it."
- Presented to world leaders at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York, this short inspirational film shows that climate change is solvable. We have the technology to harness nature sustainably for a clean, prosperous energy future, but only if we act now. Narrated by Morgan Freeman, it calls on the people of the world to insist leaders get on the path of a livable climate and future for humankind.
Learn more about climate change and take action at http://takeaction.takepart.com/
The failure to fully monitor and regulate timber from such projects is undermining international agreements Cameroon has with bodies such as the EU, including its Voluntary partnership Agreement (VPA), part of the bloc's Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) action plan.
Greenpeace Africa obtained evidence that Uniprovince, a company owned by US agribusiness company Herakles Farms, has cut at least 10,000 m3 of commercially valuable wood. While official documents from the port of Douala show that a shipment of over 3000 m3 has already left Douala for the Chinese port of Zhangjiagang.
The Herakles Farms project in the country's South West region has proved highly controversial since its announcement in 2009 and attracted the opposition of local residents, civil society and international NGOs who say it threatens an area of important biodiversity value and the livelihoods of communities who live there.
This week we share a Mongabay article about new forestry laws in the works in Cameroon. This is the third story EarthAction shares in a series of recent articles about the unfolding situation in Cameroon. Click here to subscribe to our RSS Feed so you won’t miss a post.
The potential for new laws governing the use of forest resources this year in Cameroon promises an opportunity to stem the rapid loss of forest in the biologically diverse country. But the changes may ultimately not be what’s needed to save Cameroon’s forests.
Resting in the northwest corner of the Congo Basin, Cameroon hosts a dizzying array of biodiversity, including life-list favorites such as chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes ellioti) and forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis). But as countries outside of Africa begin to shore up their deforestation hemorrhage by slowing or stopping forest development entirely, foreign investors are searching for new areas to expand the farming of lucrative equatorial crops. At the top of the list is palm oil. Of its expansion in Africa, primatologist and conservationist Joshua Linder said, “It’s going to come with a force.” In the late 1980s, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund started working with leaders in Cameroon to find more money to govern.
“One way to do this in a country like Cameroon, where there was absolutely no industry, was to put the emphasis on exploitation of natural resources,” said Samuel Nguiffo, an environmental lawyer and founder and director of the Center for Environment and Development. So they changed forestry laws to encourage private investment in, among other things, the conversion of forest into fast-growing rows of oil palm trees.
Greenpeace's recent report reveals how Herakles Farms had illegally obtained a permit to export timber, most of which was illegally felled to establish a palm oil plantation in Cameroon. Their 'Licence to Launder' report demonstrates the persistent illegalities at the heart of the Herakles Farms project, indicative of a wider problem in the logging sector in Africa. If allowed to persist, this new development will also seriously undermine Cameroon’s Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU aimed at stopping illegal logging. The forests and people of Africa will have no protection if companies such as Herakles Farms are allowed to contravene national laws and ignore the rights of local communities.
This is the second story EarthAction shares in a series of recent articles about the unfolding situation in Cameroon. Click here to subscribe to our RSS Feed so you won’t miss a post.
"The oil palm plantation being developed by Herakles Farms in the southwest region of Cameroon – an area of great biodiversity surrounded by five protected areas – illustrates what happens when irresponsible companies are not held accountable to local laws and processes. The company’s activities pose a serious threat to forested areas and the communities who rely upon the forest for their livelihoods." - Greenpeace
For more on Herakles Farms and palm oil in Africa, click here.
TAKE ACTION Greenpeace has set up a quick and easy way for you to send a message to the Cameroon Minister of Forest and Wildlife and other important policymakers to save this forest.
Christiane Badgley, a journalist who has worked on stories and projects in Africa for more than 20 years, has had her article on Herakles Farms and their planned palm oil plantation in Cameroon published in Foreign Policy magazine.
"A New York tycoon won a sweetheart deal to build a massive "sustainable" palm oil plantation in Cameroon. What followed were accusations of intimidation, corruption, bribery, and deceit."
This is the first story EarthAction shares in a series of recent articles about the unfolding situation in Cameroon. Click here to subscribe to our RSS Feed so you won’t miss a post.
In 2009 Herakles Farms negotiated a deal with the Cameroonian government to cultivate a palm oil plantation in a region known for its rain forests and diverse animal population. The plantation would be more than 12 times the size of Manhattan. Herakles Farms claimed that upon implementation, the plantation would be one of the biggest commercial palm oil operations in Africa.
The project has been very controversial. Locals have accused the company of using donations of goods and services to gather support. Scientists have argued against Herakles' claims of environmental sustainability. Many observers question the economic benefits promised, fearing the project is much more likely to strip local communities of land and livehiloods than it is to lift them out of poverty.
Christiane Badgley: "Standing there, amid the desolation, I recalled the voices of local villagers: The forest is our life. Because of the deal their government struck with Herakles Farms, that life is now in danger."
Click here to view the article.
TAKE ACTION Our friends at Greenpeace have set up a quick and easy way for you to send a message to the Cameroon Minister of Forest and Wildlife and other important policymakers to save this forest.
Photo by Christiane Badgley
Our friends at the Sacred Fire Foundation who support people and projects to strengthen indigenous cultures around the world, sent us a wonderful announcement about their 2014 annual campaign. You can view their announcement here. We encourage you to support their work.
Their announcement included a link to a fabulous TEDx talk by Aleut Elder, Larry Merculieff, a 2012 Ancient Wisdom Rising presenter, teaching about this time in which "we have reversed the laws for living." See Larry's TEDx talk below.
Gratitude to the Sacred Fire Foundation and all the projects they support that are doing this important work.
EarthAction's mission is to inform and inspire people everywhere to turn their concern, passion, and outrage into meaningful action for a more just, peaceful and sustainable world.