Day II in Copenhagen: African Civil Society Protesters Demand People Over Politics and Profits

By Jacqui Patterson, NAACP Climate Justice Initiative

Today’s highlight was yet another scandal, this time from a “leaked document” being labeled the “Danish text” which advances a plan for wealthy nations in the global north wield power and decision making over resources to be allocated to countries in the global south who will be most affected by climate change while being least responsible.

Following the breaking of this news, civil society groups from various African nations took the halls in angry and strident protests with chants such as “Two Degrees is Suicide” indicating that it will be countries of color in the global south that will face certain death as a result of global warming caused by the excesses of wealthy nations in the north. Regarding the adaptation funding that is to be allocated to the global south, they dismissively shouted that $10 billion is not even enough to buy the coffins that will result from catastrophic climate change.

I was fortunate to be able to interview Anne Maina of Nairobi Kenya who works for the African Biodiversity Network. She gave a good background and framing to the outrage of the African civil society due to misallocation of resources and lack of aggressive targets at the peril of their nations, communities, and families. Yet she ended on a positive note and a call to action.

In the early evening, Jonathan Pershing, the Obama administration’s deputy special climate change envoy, gave a briefing to organizations largely from the US.  He was stridently making a case for why it was just as well that there would be no legally binding agreement coming from the UNFCCC as he thought that trying to push for such a treaty would stall talks altogether, whereas if they seek a political agreement, chances of success increase.

Some of the machinations and shenanigans that persist demonstrate that while we must stridently push for justice through advocacy and activism, we must also advance models of community local self reliance, resistance, and resilience. This is why we are featuring today the story of Zandra Chestnut of Washington DC whose life is an excellent example of leadership of her community to ensure that she and her neighbors have the knowledge, skills, and resources to sustain themselves through the coming transition.

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