Climate Camps Sprouting Up Around the World
What’s that rumbling I hear?
It’s a movement thundering as they say “Ya Basta!” to climate change and fossil fuel extraction, and “Yes” to climate justice. Throughout the industrial North in Europe, North America, Australia and Aotearoa, Climate Camps are sprouting up next to their nation’s biggest polluters to take direct action. No more waiting on Obama, the United Nations, Duke Energy, Environmental Defense or whatever other all powerful entity to charge in and save the day.
Like Neil Young once said “We’re finally on our own.“
Climate Camp UK is setting up their camp next to the Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS) HQ outside of Edinburgh, Scotland. RBS is a major funder of the highly destructive Canadian Tar Sands. In Montreal, the Camp is focusing on the Enbridge Trailbreaker project this year, a transcontinental pipeline that would bring dirty tar sands bitumen to Montreal and beyond to Maine, eventually ending up on tankers heading to refineries in the Gulf Coast. In Australia, the camp is taking place at the Bayswater coal fired power station in the Hunter Valley. Other camps have, or are, happening in Sweden, New Zealand, Ireland and Wales.
In the U.S., there are no climate camps or convergences scheduled this year but much is still going on. Earth First! has had a revival and camps and rendezvous are happening from Colorado to upstate New York to Maine. Many of them focusing on corporate polluters. Much momentum is buiding around oil and gas lease auction monkey-wrencher Tim DeChristopher’s trial in Salt Lake City. Appalachians are joining activists from all over to country to rise up in Washington D.C. at a mass mobilization called “Appalachia Rising” on Sep 25-27.
Climate Justice Action, the organizing body around the direct action that took place in Copenhagen last December, is calling for a Global Day of Action for Climate Justice on October 12.
Since last year, we’ve had space open up for a global people’s climate justice movement. Mostly due to the inability of the ruling class to begin to resolve climate change.
Here’s what the “powers that be” have done so far to open up our political space:
- failed to give us an agreement in Copenhagen.
- failed to pass legislation in the U.S. that would have regulated carbon emissions. (The bill that they did have was full of industry giveaways, so I’m not crying too hard about the loss of that one.)
- And in contrast to the climate camps and people’s movements in the Global South, the Big Green NGO’s make climate and environmental movements look weak, craven and sold out. As long as we allow them to represent our movements, we are. Even Billl McKibben is beginning to sound like Peter Finch in Network.
This past April at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia, people’s movement from all over the world came together to once again converge indigenous movements and anti-corporate globalization movements (the last such convergence began in Chiapas when the Zapatistas rose up against NAFTA and carried our movements into Seattle, Prague and Genoa.)
Climate Camps are fertile ground for our movements that need to look less like K Street and more like Chiapas.