And Action: How the climate movement is changing the world this week

• October 30, 2012
Protestors at the Defend our Coast Solidarity Rallies, Oct 24

Copyright: Zack Embree, 2012. All rights reserved.

“You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.” – George Lorimer

There is no challenge too daunting and no industry too powerful to stop the climate movement from fighting for a better future. Whether they’re bringing together 5,000 people against the Tar Sands in Canada or 50 people against climate silence in Washington, they’re fearless and unstoppable. And they’ve had quite a week. Read on:

Thousands say no to Tar Sands pipelines in Texas & British Columbia

Last Monday, thousands of British Columbians gathered in record numbers at the Victoria Legislature to ‘Defend our Coast’ against two controversial Tar Sands pipelines proposed for the province. Together with First Nations elders, progressive political leaders and environmental activists from Greenpeace, Forest Ethics and the David Suzuki Foundation, attendees braved cold winds and rain to plant a banner the length of a supertanker across the Legislature lawn. The message to the federal government and oil companies was clear: no Tar Sands – not now, not ever.

Organizers from The Dogwood Initiative and followed up the rally with a day of targeted action at nearly 70 political offices around the province. In total, more than 12,000 people participated in both protests, creating a powerful wall of opposition and reminding political leaders that residents want firm commitments to stop tanker expansion and the Enbridge and Kinder Morgan pipelines.

See photos from both days on the Defend our Coast website. Sign the No Tankers petition from Dogwood BC.

At the same time, the occupation of the Keystone XL construction site in east Texas has officially entered its second month. It’s been 37 days since a small group of concerned activists climbed into the trees in Winnsboro, and the protest shows no sign of flagging. If you’d like to show solidarity with the Tar Sands Blockaders, please watch, like and share our video message to them from the Defend our Coast rally, or contribute to their donation fund here.

When will politicians break the Climate Silence?

Since our last blog, the final US Presidential debate passed without a mention of climate change from either candidate. But that’s not stopping our allies at Forecast the Facts and from pushing them hard at every opportunity. After the second debate, Forecast the Facts launched Climate Silence, a website tracking all of the times President Obama and Governor Romney have actively talked about climate change. Unsurprisingly, the results were disappointing. Using their research and a smart rollout of Facebook visuals, they rallied people  together outside the third debate in Boca Raton, Florida and crowdfunded an ad to run on MTV before President Obama’s scheduled appearance. Clearly the pressure worked, as Obama talked extensively about climate change. Public pressure has an impact!

“The answer is number one, we’re not moving as fast as we need to. And this is an issue that future generations, MTV viewers, are going to have to be dealing with even more than the older generation. So this is a critical issue. And there is a huge contrast in this campaign between myself and Governor Romney. I am surprised it didn’t come up in one of the debates.” – President Barack Obama

Watch his full response here.

Uniting for Biodiversity in Hyderabad

For most of the past few weeks, UN delegates were cloistered in Hyderabad, India for the 11th Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD). As addressing climate change is an essential part of preserving global biodiversity, many of our partners were in attendance. As one journalist covering the event summed it up “No one talks about climate change. They don’t need to. It’s not the elephant in the room. It is the room.”

Amnesty International, Greenpeace India and the Kalpavriksh environmental Action Group used the CBD to launch a report urging the Indian government to issue a moratorium to stop coal mining in India’s forests until proper environmental and social assessments are carried out. Adding more public attention to the call, activists scaled the iconic Charminar monument hours away from the CBD convention center and pinned an anti-coal banner to its balcony. The 60 foot banner read “Stop Coal Crimes – Save Indian Forests.”

The conference concluded with positive outcomes as developed countries committed to increasing their financial support to 10 billion dollars by 2015.

Continuing the Energy Revolution in Europe

While North America struggles against the power of fossil fuel companies, Europe continues to lead the way towards a renewable energy future. Last week Greenpeace teamed up with the European Renewable Energy Council to release the 2012 Energy [r]Evolution Report. Their most impressive finding? Making the EU carbon-free by 2050 would generate $3.9 trillion in economic rewards. Learn more.

Saving Kyoto in Australia and New Zealand

As the weeks tck down towards COP18 in Doha, Qatar, it’s becoming more and more uncertain as to whether Australia or New Zealand will sign on to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. To raise pressure on these governments, activists worldwide are holding a  #Kyoto2 twitterstorm calling on these two countries to sign on. Learn more in this radio interview with UN Climate Chief Christiana Figueres.

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