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By Carol Schachet
January 5th, 2016
Palm oil is the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet, with some 50 million metric tons produced annually. High demand for the product is leading to the growth of African Palm plantations in Central America, which, in turn, is fueling environmental destruction, the exploitation of agricultural labor, and the displacement of local peasant farmers by companies often financed by development banks.
By Chung-Wha Hong and Sara Mersha
December 30th, 2015
Despite all the fanfare, the bottom line from the Paris Agreement is that emissions from fossil fuels will continue at levels that endanger life on the planet, and the trading schemes the agreement promotes will lead to an increase in natural resource grabs.
While government dignitaries engaged in UN climate negotiations (the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, otherwise known as the COP21) we had a chance to participate in 10 days of powerful strategy sessions and actions for climate justice in Paris alongside many of Grassroots International’s Global South partners. We will tell you more about movement proposals and accomplishments soon, but let's start by reviewing the official agreement.
Monsoon rains are a key part of the ecosystem in India, with whole regions depending on the seasonal monsoons for their water throughout the year. But this season’s monsoon brought a downpour of historic magnitude in the state of Tamil Nadu, destroying tens of thousands of homes and livelihoods.
This is what the destructiveness of climate change looks like.
Tamil Nadu usually gets around 13 inches of rain in the summer and around 18 inches of rain in the fall. This year following average summer rains came unprecedented rainfall starting in late October, and it just didn’t let up. In just a single day in early December Tamil Nadu received an unbelievable 21 inches of rain.
Among the thousands of activists gathered in Paris as part of the Peoples Climate Summit, Hiba Al-Jibeihi represented multiple movements -- gender justice, land rights, food sovereignty, Palestinian human rights and, of course, climate justice. She wore the flags of the Via Campesina (a Grassroots International partner) and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (a Grassroots International partner and member of the Via Campesina). Here she talks about the importance of bringing together all the threads that lead to justice and peace.
One of the common themes coming from the streets of the Climate Justice Summit in Paris (and not heard in the offical government negotiations) is a clear linking of capitalism's insatiable appetite and climate disruption. Two Grassroots International partners offered these reflections.
Two nights ago, we co-hosted a sold-out screening of the Avi Lewis film This Changes Everything, based on Naomi Klein’s recent book about climate change and capitalism. The energy was electric, as a crowd full of people from the Boston area watched, hissed and cheered in response to stories on the screen. The film exposed the root causes of climate disruption – a global economic system that exploits people and the earth – as well as highlighting stories of Indigenous Peoples and farmers around the world who are standing together to defend humanity and Mother Earth.
Descendents of escapees from African slave ships and indigenous communities, the Garifuna people live on the Atlantic coast of Honduras. Their beautiful seascape and ecologically rich lands have attracted aggressive interest from foreign investors for plans ranging from tourist resorts to mining to industrial agriculture.
For many years, La Vía Campesina and GRAIN have been telling the world about how the agroindustrial food system causes half of all greenhouse gas emissions. But the world's governments are refusing to face these problems head on, and the Paris Summit in December is approaching without any effective commitment to doing so on their part.
This new video (Together, we can cool the planet!) by La Vía Campesina and GRAIN gives you the information you need to understand how the agroindustrial food system is impacting our climate, and at the same time what we can do to change course and start cooling the planet. And every single one of us is part of the solution!
Scores of people – showing a great diversity of races, ages and backgrounds – packed into the room to look together at the connections between climate justice and Black Lives Matter, and how these movements present themselves in the experiences of Haiti, New Orleans and elsewhere. More people spilled out into the hallway, illustrating how ready people were to hear the powerful words coming from inside: everyone matters and has a role in the struggle for human rights and the survival of the planet.