Journalist and author Bill McKibben is one of the most prominent climate change activists in the USA, and is founder of the growing network 350.org. He is coming to the UK for a speaker tour this week, and before he set off, I caught up with him over Skype from my house in Oxford.
Adam Ramsay: The climate movement in the UK grew to a peak around 2009, around the time of the Copenhagen talks, then died off and there's been a lot of introspection about that. Is that a pattern we've seen globally, or just in the UK? What should be done about it?
It's disconcerting to find so few faces in the prominent ranks of the environmental movement that reflect the realities and experiences of those bearing the brunt of climate collapse. Estimates show that since 1990 more than 90% of natural disasters have occurred in poor countries and that, globally, communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by air, soil and water pollution. Numbers also demonstrate that low-income households are hit the hardest by disasters, due to factors such as poor infrastructure and economic instability.
Dear AFL-CIO President Trumka and Our Sisters & Brothers in the Labor Movement:
There is a movement growing across the country and around the world–a movement to fight climate change and build a sustainable future for the planet and its people. This movement will define the 21st Century in the same way that seven great social movements defined the best of the 20th Century: labor, civil rights, environment, LGBTQ equality, women’s, migrant rights, and peace & freedom.
MORE THAN 6,000 environmental activists assembled in Pittsburgh for PowerShift 2013, sponsored by the Energy Action Coalition (EAC). This fourth PowerShift reflected the broader changes taking place in the environmental movement, with more emphasis placed on grassroots struggles, climate justice, racism and indigenous rights. This year's conference was the first to be held outside the Washington, D.C., area. The choice of Pittsburgh as the location signifies the deepening of locally based resistance to extreme energy extraction and growing criticism of fracking practices nationwide.
Architecturally, a keystone is the wedge-shaped piece at the crown of an arch that locks the other pieces in place. Without the keystone, the building blocks of an archway will tumble and fall, with no support system for the weight of the arch. Much of the United States climate movement right now is structured like an archway, with all of its blocks resting on a keystone — President Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline
Before Tzeporah Berman began her current position as head of the North American Tar Sands Coalition, Tides Canada had already established these structures to create near-total control over budgets– and therefore, most decisions– for staggering numbers of organizations. Berman was around at the time, working for PowerUp pushing forward offsets garnered by river destruction. Some of the participant organizations already had working partnerships with multiple tar sands producers. The over-whelming majority were already greased by primarily high donors and foundations.
When C&C published Chris Williams’ article Strategy and tactics in the environmental movement last month, we said that we hoped it would “promote a much-needed discussion on how to build the fight against climate change in particular, and against capitalist ecocide as a whole.” That’s just what has happened. For weeks it has been the most frequently read article in Climate & Capitalism, and many other websites have linked to it. Now, we’re pleased to publish a reply to Chris Williams by Sasha Ross is a member of the Earth First!
With tar sands, fracking and mining all on the rise, there's never been a more important time for a strong environmental movement in Canada. Surveying the landscape of organizations, one thing is missing: democracy. Which is to say, meaningful informed participation among equal participants. The images are familiar. People gathered together, making pivotal decisions about their collective direction in community halls, church basements, and conference rooms. Heated debates, pivotal votes, historic gatherings and galvanizing speeches.