ECO wants to draw the attention of negotiators to the tens of thousands of people here in Bangkok and around the world taking part in more than 600 Rise for Climate actions this weekend. In more than 80 countries, communities are taking part in a range of creative, distributed local actions in cities, towns, institutions, universities, and places of worship to demonstrate the urgency of the climate crisis. We are emphasising the increasing impacts we are all experiencing, particularly in the most vulnerable regions, while simultaneously showcasing innovative community-led solutions to keep fossil fuels in the ground and accelerate the just transition to 100% renewable energy.
ECO isn’t here just to criticise the (pretty slow) progress of these negotiations per se. But perhaps negotiators would like to look long and hard at the motivation, energy and leadership that people from California to Colombia and Thailand to South Africa are demonstrating this weekend. We are seeing the largest ever climate march the US West Coast has ever seen, the first ever virtual mobilisation (with holograms!) taking place across Asia, groups in the UK and Germany pushing for more divestment, leaders in Australia, Colombia and Canada facing pressure for continuing to dig up fossil fuels, swathes of town-hall actions across the USA and France, and banks coming under fire in Tokyo for financing fossil fuels.
And outside these very UN climate talks, hundreds of Thai people are making their voice clear on the future they want. And further afield in Thailand, marches led by women and farmers are saying no to coal and yes to renewables. Go right outside and join our local hosts in their struggle!
Why are people doing this? Communities representing faith, youth, labour, social, racial and immigrant justice and many more groups are joining Rise for Climate actions this weekend to show that we have the solutions to the climate crisis in hand. We will demonstrate that many local efforts are already outstripping national plans to tackle climate change (negotiators would do well to take their cue from them) and demand that governments (especially industrialised economies) rapidly step up their efforts to slash carbon emissions by 2020, and keep global temperature under 1.5 degrees of warming.
Why are we doing this now? Well, ECO knows and so should you: we don’t have time to lose. Already this year we have experienced catastrophic heat waves in North Africa, Europe, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Australia and Argentina; deadly wildfires in Greece, Sweden, the USA and Russia; drought in Kenya and Somalia; major water shortages in Afghanistan and South Africa; extreme storms and flooding in Hawaii, India, Oman and Yemen; record melting of the Bering Sea ice; and the 400th month in the row of above-average global temperatures.
So get on board and Rise for Climate this weekend. It’s not too late to follow and share #RiseforClimate actions and, if you’re in the position to do so, then bolster that NDC!